We live in a digital world that now allows us to share everything from our car, bike, boat, apartment and even our home with total strangers. Smart phones, and the applications that can be added, offer many useful tools, but some of these things create new and increased liability for you. Before you decide to jump into the sharing economy consider the following:
- Do these sharing sites have the ability to protect your confidential information? Many times you are giving your credit card information to companies that may not have the ability to protect it.
- If you use Airbnb to sublease your apartment, you might check your lease. Many lease agreements have “no sublease” clauses that do not allow for this kind of activity. Also, some big cities are now actually considering outlawing the Airbnb services as it reduces hotel/motel taxes.
- Uber offers a taxi service where individuals can offer rides to those who subscribe. Are you confident that these individuals have had proper background checks? Are they experienced drivers? Do they have the correct insurance? Remember, even in states that have mandatory auto insurance laws, over 25% of drivers don’t have insurance.
- Personal auto insurance issues should be considered if using your car for hire. There is a big difference in the auto insurance world between a car pool for work and being paid to deliver people.
- If you rent your primary home to others, it may limit your personal insurance coverage. Call out office for a review.
The use of the new sharing economy will most likely continue and may be a good way to save money. However, if you have an uninsured claim, the cost may be much greater than the savings. Be aware that using these services may increase your risk of loss. The insurance industry will respond over time to the sharing economy, but in the meantime, there are limitations and restrictions in your current homeowner’s and personal auto insurance policies of which you need to be aware.