Why you might think twice before booking a Florida Airbnb during hurricane season

Photo (c) Kentaroo Tryman - Getty Images

The company’s cancelation policy doesn’t cover Florida hurricanes

When Hurricane Ian roared over the Gulf Coast of Florida and exited over the state’s East Coast, it left a trail of death and destruction that could take months, even years to unwind.

Because Florida is a popular vacation destination, it also upended a lot of vacation plans. Vacationers who had booked Airbnbs and canceled because of the storm were chagrined to learn that a hurricane was not adequate grounds to cancel and receive a refund.

It turns out that Airbnb’s "extenuating circumstance policy," allowing for refundable cancelations in the case of unforeseeable events, specifically excludes hurricanes than can hit the state between June and October.

It’s up to the host

According to an Airbnb spokesperson, hurricanes in Florida during those months are so common that they can’t really be called “unforeseen.” In a statement to ConsumerAffairs, the company spokesperson said the policy allows hosts to provide refunds if they want.

“You may be aware of this already, but just in case, that extenuating circumstances approach is standard throughout the industry,” the spokesperson told us. 

Airbnb said it has added a filter to the app that allows guests to search for hosts who have flexible cancelation policies. 

“We now offer travel insurance through our product, so guests who took advantage of that should be able to work though the process,” the statement said.

Travel insurance coverages

The Generali travel insurance policy offered by Airbnb at checkout  includes:

  • Trip cancellation: Reimbursement for up to 100% of non-refunded Airbnb reservation costs if you cancel for a covered reason, such as: iIllness or injury, flight cancellations and delays due to weather, or mandatory evacuations due to weather.

  • Travel delay: Reimbursement for certain additional expenses you incur because your trip is delayed for 12 hours or more for a covered reason, such as: flight delays, passport theft, or adverse weather.

  • Medical: Reimbursement for doctor-ordered medical services during your trip, such as: hospital services, ambulance services, and prescription medicines.

  • Baggage: Reimbursement for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage, lost, stolen, or damaged travel documents, and unauthorized use of credit cards during your trip.

The company says the travel insurance policy also comes with other coverages, such as  24/7 emergency and travel assistance service.

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