Airbnb Theft and How to Avoid It: 8 Ways to Keep Your Rental Safe
Recently, Atlanta’s WSB-TV station reported that an Airbnb renter stole the homeowner’s flat screen TV along with other items from the home. A surveillance video caught it all. The homeowner said the renter seemed legitimate.
Airbnb does its due diligence in requiring complete renter profiles. It also provides renters guidance when it comes to screening renters and insuring their properties.
Most of the time, Airbnb experiences are positive for both owners and renters. Yet, Airbnb theft does happen. Here are eight ways you can protect yourself again renter theft and improve overall security for your home or apartment.
1. Insure Your Asset Against Airbnb Theft
Airbnb offers its Host Protection Insurance plan, which protects you against liability claims to $1 million. Though, you may find yourself in a situation that’s not covered by this program.
Be sure to read the policy carefully and identify your responsibilities as well as theirs. Before listing your property for the first time, contact your insurance agent.
Verify what your policy covers now that you are using your property as a rental. If you are running a steady business of Airbnb, you should research insurance plans.
Such plans cover damage not covered by company insurance. Your home is also your most valuable business asset. It pays to protect it.
2. Convert to a Smart Security System
When you’re in the business of property rental, security is paramount. These days, more devices are connected than ever before.
First, having a smartphone access control means you can give your guests smartphone keys instead of physical keys. You set up a temporary code for your Airbnb guest. That code expires after your guests’ check-out time.
You won’t be bothered to make copies or replace lost keys. And, once your guests have checked out, you disconnect their access from wherever you are.
You can assign a different access code to non-guest like maid service, for example. Your security system lets you know who is coming and going.
If you have multiple properties, this is a fantastic convenience. Not to mention a reliable way to ensure no one has unauthorized access to your property.
3. Perform Careful Screening
According to Airbnb’s Host Guarantee, you are supposed to contact your potential guests. You should also review their profiles. Doing so qualifies you for damage and theft reimbursement per Airbnb’s insurance.
There’s another reason to vet your guests. If something doesn’t sit quite right with you, heed your instincts. Don’t take a chance that you’re wrong.
Even with insurance, it may not be worth the aggravation or financial loss. Screening your potential guests is one of the top Airbnb essentials for security.
4. Protect Your Physical Assets
Even you take the time to screen your guests, you still want to take extra measures to protect your assets from possible theft. If you have a security system, the cameras are enough to deter outside thieves from entering.
Though, for the material things inside your home like computers, cameras, and tablets, consider installing a safe.
5. Protect Your Identity
Identity theft is as common as theft of physical possessions. Consider storing essential documents outside your home in a safe deposit box.
Setting up a safe deposit box at your bank enables you to store anything of value and retrieve it once you return home. Some items can stay in there until you need them.
Birth certificates, social security cards, and insurance policy documents are all examples. You need them, but you don’t need them every day. If you rent out your home often, these vital documents are better off stored offsite.
A safe deposit box is also an option for smaller items like heirloom jewelry or other items that would be hard to replace.
6. Safeguard Your Mail
Identity theft is often possible because thieves get a hold of your mail. Unattended mail is a literal goldmine to a scam artist. Do you have a locking mailbox? Most people don’t.
When you are renting out your home, consider having the Post Office forward or hold your mail until you return. Another option is to get a P.O. box and have your mail delivered there all the time.
Doing so means your renters won’t have access to your mail. It also means mail is never left unattended in your mailbox for would-be thieves to take.
7. Install a VPN Router
Don’t forget to secure your digital network as well. Many Airbnb hosts offer free internet to their guests, often including the Wi-Fi code in their Airbnb House Manual.
Unsecured routers leave your network vulnerable to hackers and cybercriminals. A VPN is the best way to protect your Airbnb security as well as your guests’.
When guests connect to your Wi-Fi, their online activity runs through the VPN. The VPN assigns each connected device a unique, anonymous IP address. Thus, it’s impossible to trace their online activity back to you.
If one of your guests engages in illegal online activities while using your network, the VPN protects you from liability.
8. Have Another Set of Eyes on Your Home
Even in this digital world of smart devices and VPN networks, old-fashioned security still works. Have a relative, friend, or trusted neighbor keep an eye on your property when you’re not there.
They can let you or the authorities know when something isn’t right. This is still a great way to protect your property during your renters’ stay or when the property is empty.
Checklist for Airbnb Security
Using this article as a checklist, how many of these security tips do you have in place? Which can you add?
Thankfully, Airbnb theft isn’t a common occurrence. Airbnb remains a great way to earn extra income and meet new people. But it also pays to be wise when it comes to security.
If you are looking for a rental property in Florida, please give us a call at (305) 357-0635.