Lawmakers Seek Airbnb Investigation Over Insurance Claim
Two Albany lawmakers want State Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky to investigate Airbnb for what they call misleading insurance policies. State Sen. Adriano Espaillat and Assemblyman Francisco Moya in a recent letter to Lawsky questioned the legality of Airbnb’s “$1 Million Host Guarantee,” which promises to reimburse up to $1 million in property damaged by a guest.
It “may constitute a deceptive business practice in that it willfully misleads Airbnb hosts into believing they have sufficient coverage,” they write. In fact, the “guarantee” covers few damages, they argue. “The fine print on Airbnb’s website reveals that it applies only to property that’s owned or legally controlled by the host,” write Espaillat and Moya.
This fine print would exclude the large number of New York City users whose apartment leases prohibit renting out the unit by the night. On its site, Airbnb clarifies that the $1 million guarantee “is not insurance” and warns users that not all insurance will cover damage to property caused by a guest renting the space. State insurance laws also don’t license insurance for short-term rental of permanent residences, the state officials write.