Olympic concerns for home insurance

Homeowners in British Columbia are booking out rooms or houses during the 2010 Olympics.

The Vancouver city council amended by-laws recently, to make it easier for these homeowners to become landlords during the games. This will affect their property insurance, and it is important that the homeowners keep their insurance companies informed of the change in risk.

If you are taking in just one temporary boarder, then your insurer may not regard this as much of a hazard. If you turn your home into a "bed and breakfast" or rent out the entire house, then it will be regarded as a more commercial-type of risk.

Bringing people into your home changes the liability risk as well. Now you have a tenant who could become injured or someone could eat a bad meal and complain of food poisoning. There is an increased potential of theft of the property within your home. It is always better in a claim if the insurer knew the particular circumstance before the loss occurs.

Each situation is unique and you should discuss various implications with your agent or broker. The costs and limitation of coverage may cause one to re-think the decision of bringing strangers into your home.

Consider ways to avoid loss, control loss and when it does happen, be sure that you had an up-to-date inventory to help declare the loss of stolen property. Consider having a short-term lease contract ready and have each tenant sign after reading. Be sure that your property is well maintained and that you meet all municipal laws and code requirements.