COLUMBUS – As the U.S. summer travel season peaks, millennials use of non-traditional sharing platforms such as car and vacation rentals continue to climb. Global revenue from sharing services will hit $335 billion by 2025 according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. With nearly 75 percent of Americans vacationing this summer, Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor seeks to help consumers think again about insurance risks of the sharing economy.
"Sharing a home, car or even personal items with a complete stranger reflects a new buyer-seller trust," said Taylor, also director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “We want consumers, especially young consumers to be informed about the insurance aspects of these types of services and emphasize care and caution when using them.”
Consider the following tips before entering into any sharing agreement:
- Purchase the right coverage. Many homeowners policies will not cover property damage caused by or injuries to a paying guest. Hosts should talk to the home-sharing service and their agent to determine if additional liability coverage or particular property owner insurance is required.
- Ask for proof. Consider only renting to guests who show proof of homeowners, renters or personal liability insurance.
- Review your personal policies. Consumers staying in accommodations secured through a service such as Airbnb or VRBO should confirm their homeowners, renters or personal liability insurance policies offer protection for potential damages to the rental property.
Taken for a Ride
- Ask your insurer. Before contracting as an Uber or Lyft driver, consumers should consult their insurer. Personal auto insurance typically excludes coverage for business use or when drivers are “available for hire.”
- Review the company’s policies. Some ride-sharing companies provide primary insurance. Uber and Lyft also offer contingent collision and comprehensive coverage that takes effect when the driver accepts a ride request or has a passenger in the vehicle.
- Fill the gap. Some Ohio insurers offer products to fill coverage gaps for ride-share drivers. Insurance providers can answer specific questions about the conditions of coverage and premium costs.
- Research before riding. Before accepting a shared ride, know the extent of protection in the event of an accident.
Goods & Services for Hire
- Require a security deposit. When lending goods such as high-fashion clothing or a bicycle, get a security deposit to cover any losses.
- Make sure it works. Consumers can be held liable for renting out items that are known not to work properly.
- Know who is paying. Hiring a stranger to help with home cleaning, moving or other tasks through online sites? Find out whose insurance covers what.
For more insurance tips and information visit www.insurance.ohio.gov or call the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526 to speak to a representative.
For more tips and information to help consumers and small business owners be smart and safe when sharing, visit InsureUonline.org.