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NYC Renters Insurance Question: Am I Still Covered If I Rent My Couch to Spring Breakers?

Posted on March 18, 2013

Whether you’re spending the weekend under your own comfy quilt or on someone else’s sofa-sleeper, you might be surprised at what NYC renters insurance covers

In the city, harbingers of spring are less about robins and more about chocolate-covered Peeps from Jacques Torres, the first restaurant patio openings and the influx of spring breakers. Indeed, some people make a little money off these spring sojourners by renting out a little apartment space. But would NYC renters insurance still have you covered?

People really do share their homes with travelers, during spring break or any other time. There’s a worldwide community of couch-surfers, some who do it just to meet people and share their cities, others who essentially rent out a sleeping surface for extra cash.

Photo by The Daily English Show / Flickr Creative Commons

By and large, the experiences are positive. But things happen. One woman infamously blogged in 2011 about how someone she rented her home to for the week ransacked her apartment, stole her grandmother’s jewelry, burned guest sheets in the fireplace with the flue closed, sprinkled powdered cleanser over everything in the place and walked off with her passport, Ugg boots, camera and iPod. Others have reported thefts of cash, small electronics and the like. A serial couch-surfer in France was believed to have stolen from more than 70 of her hosts!

So, does renters insurance cover your losses even if you knowingly let a stranger into your home? Typically, no. Most polices don’t cover you for anything that happens when you sublet your place or rent it out in other ways, such as through AirBnB.com. And even though some members of some communities, like Couchsurfing.org, rely on free kindness from strangers rather than accepting a fee, you might be getting into a tricky area from an insurance perspective. So if you intend to do either, ask.

Letting someone you’ve never met before spend the night in your home may or may not be a mistake. Depends on who you ask. What’s definitely a mistake? Not having renters insurance.

Coverage for all your valuables can be yours for less money per month than you’ll spend on those chocolate-covered Peeps and brunch on the patio. If you haven’t already got a policy, usher in spring with renters insurance.

Gotham Brokerage, a family-run business in New York City for more than 50 years, can match you up with the right agent. Give us a call at 212-406-7300 or fill out the form at right.

Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc. is a family run insurance brokerage serving New Yorkers for over 50 years. We specialize in the insurance needs for those living in the city and provide a full range of insurance products designed specifically for the city.