Airbnb stealth-updates terms of service, says it's not an insurer and requires binding arbitration

The March 29 edition of Airbnb's terms of service requires that people who rent out their homes acknowledge that despite the company's widely advertised Host Protection Insurance program, "you understand and agree that Airbnb does not act as an insurer."

Though Airbnb's 33,000 terms-of-service document disclaims being an insurer, its reader-friendly sales material says, "The Host Protection Insurance program now provides primary coverage for Airbnb hosts and landlords, as additional insureds, in over 15 countries" and "The Host Protection Insurance program provides primary liability coverage for up to $1 million per occurrence in the event of third party claims of bodily injury or property damage."

Additionally, the March 29 Terms of Service require hosts to agree to the notorious system of binding arbitration, taking away their right to sue Airbnb for its misdeeds, negligence, or broken promises (but Airbnb says that it doesn't have to use arbitration if it wants to sue you for copyright or trademark infringement).

The arbitration clause also bans class action suits, as well as the usual abusive/one sided rules on evidence, jurisdiction, etc.

The combined disclaimer of providing insurance and requirement to arbitrate, along with the insulting one-rule-for-you/another-for-us copyright exemption, makes renting out through Airbnb a much less attractive proposition, making it possible for home owners to lose their biggest asset without any meaningful legal rights to get redress.

If you are a Host, you understand and agree that Airbnb does not act as an insurer or as your contracting agent. If a Guest requests a booking of your Accommodation and stays at your Accommodation, any agreement you enter into with such Guest is between you and the Guest and Airbnb is not a party to it. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Airbnb Payments serves as the limited authorized payment collection agent of the Host for the purpose of accepting, on behalf of the Host, payments from Guests of such amounts stipulated by the Host (including cleaning or other fees and/or Taxes).

Terms of Service

(Image: Katie Levinson)