Should Airbnb reimburse me for my stolen property?

Posted on November 11, 2015 by in Travel Deals


As you probably read, I was robbed by sophisticated robbers (likely with insider help) during my stay in Kampala. All my electronics (bar my iPhone) and cash were stolen while I was sleeping.

I had rented my apartment via Airbnb and until that last morning I’d felt perfectly safe there. I have now contacted Airbnb and they have gotten back to me to say that they do not feel liable for any such loss.

Airbnb famously introduced a host guarantee a few years ago after guests vandalized an apartment. However no such guarantee was ever extended to guests. There is nothing in the website Terms and Conditions from this company which simply brings together buyers and sellers of rental space.

So what do you think Airbnb should do? I never thought about this before myself. Of course I would like to get Airbnb to reimburse me, but what is at question here is how much trust Airbnb really builds.

Airbnb joins together guests with landlords and we believe in the trust system with the reviews that we read and the Airbnb guarantee that we get our money back when the host does not show up (as it happened to me in Irkutsk).

The host obviously has expensive real estate at stake and needs trust to rent it to ‘random’ renters, though landlords know that any alternative system they are using also puts them at a trust disadvantage. Airbnb has instituted to the host a one million dollar guarantee to attract more properties.


Now Airbnb should go further and add a guest guarantee. While you are in an Airbnb you should get basic travel and property insurance that covers theft, bodily injury and medical attention required because of your rental.

Airbnb clearly has the depth and resources to do so. It’s now valued at 25 billion dollars and has been able to build a new category of short-term rental that it basically owns by itself.

Like a credit card issuer that bundles certain insurances to an existing product to build trust and improve an already good product, Airbnb should think about a traveler insurance that helps all of us use Airbnb more.

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