My Airbnb Burnt Down! AirCover vs. STR Insurance Spotlight (Episode 357)

What Happens if Your Airbnb Burns Down? A Fateful First-Hand Experience

Today it’s time to get serious – as serious as a catastrophic house fire. With no exaggeration, it is essential that any short-term rental host, or aspiring host, listen into this entire episode.

This week’s expert guest is Nicholas Libertin. He and his wife live in the Cleveland area and host a vacation rental in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His area of expertise, unfortunately, lies in his experience with a second listing – a mountain cabin – which tragically burnt down in January of this year.

No one was hurt. But the entire home was lost to the fire.

Nick is incredibly gracious and, in an effort to better educate the STR community, came ready and willing to detail his entire experience with this worst-case scenario come true. He walks us through that fateful day, how he was informed, who he called first, and all of the important roles played – from his insurance ( and mortgage providers, to Airbnb and AirCover.

So, what happens when the worst possible thing you can imagine, as an Airbnb host, interrupts your weekday Zoom meeting?

Nick walks us through the painful emotions, the disappointing community fallout, and the difficult decisions that he and his wife were forced into as a result of the fire – providing an invaluable service to all of us in this industry. Be sure to stick around for his well-earned takeaway tips and required homework assignments.

(00:01:22) #STRShareSunday: @cancast_seaside

  • Potential guests love to see your build journey
  • Leverage STR amenities with new-build projects 

(00:02:50) Nicholas Libertin: Getting Started in Vacation Rentals

(00:09:27) Intro to Nick’s Blue Ridge Short-Term Rental Project

  • Hosting a beach house vs. mountain house 
  • Finding internet service and contractor help 
  • Safety, security, and fire precautions at the property 

(00:13:17) A Catastrophic House Fire: January 4th, 2024 

  • The day his cabin rental burned to the ground
  • Jordan and Shane Ware – Blue Ridge property mgmt team
  • Recalling a strange interaction with the guests 
  • Important role of Cause of Origin Specialists in fire events 
  • Key objective facts gleaned from fire investigators 
  • Proper Insurance: 
  • Determining (or not) causation of the fire

(00:24:23) What To Do With a Burned Down Airbnb?

  • Impact on their lives and marriage
  • Quick recap of heavy implications 
  • Intro to insurance processing and comms
  • Knowing your contract and insurance caps 
  • What happens with the mortgage?
  • What’s his plan for the plot of land?
  • Negative perception by neighbors and the community 

(00:37:20) AirCover for Hosts: Nick’s First-Hand Experience

  • BIG NOTE: AirCover is not insurance!
  •  $1,000,000 cap on coverage 
  • Differences in AirCover vs. insurance 
  • Cancelling existing reservations 
  • Did he get a dedicated Airbnb representative? 
  • How long until AirCover ruled on his coverage?
  • Nick reveals AirCover’s initial ruling on his property fire 

(00:43:50) Now What? Next Steps at the Property

  • Clean up has been completed 
  • Rebuilding: What, why and when?
  • Nick’s final advice and biggest takeaways 
  • Proper Insurance: 
  • How he was inspired to tell his story

Download a transcript of this episode.




This week’s #STRShareSunday spotlight shines in New Jersey, Seaside Heights, where Rose hosts a brand-spanking-new beach house vacation rental with multi-tiered deck spaces. Along with the wraparound views, we love that Rose elected to share the construction journey on the home’s Instagram account. Potential guests truly value seeing all the hard work and thought that you put into your passion projects.

We would love to feature YOU, so don’t forget to use #STRShareSunday to get your chance!

Together, Annette & Sarah are the dynamic duo behind the wildly popular podcast Thanks For Visiting, co-creators of the Hosting Business Mastery Method, & seasoned short-term-rental hosts.

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