Saturday, July 13, 2019

How to Purchase Damage Protection

As a Protection Brands Partner you will want to put coverage in place through your partner portal.  It is the most efficient means and it provides preferred pricing for lodging providers who make reoccurring purchases. Visit www.getdamageprotection.com and then bookmark it for future visits. Choose 'PURCHASE' from the main menu to initiate a transaction.

At the site you will see that there are three form sections to be completed:

  1. Primary Coverage Holder - this is information about you, the individual who is purchasing the coverage and who will receive the check when a claim is processed. It's your basic contact information and often your browsers auto-fill function, if turned on, can populate this information for you, saving time. 
  2. Property and Coverage Information - this section is about the property and guest stay for which coverage is being purchased. The only guest information that is needed is the booking date and the begin & end dates of the stay.  Contact information for the guest is not required, although in some cases a claims adjuster may request this information from you should a claim be filed. The booking number is for your reference. If you click the 'save property profile' box, property information will be saved and made available by selecting the property from a drop down menu that will appear the next time you visit. This is especially helpful if you own or manage several properties. 
  3. Payment Information - This information is needed to process your credit card payment.  If much of the information is the same as the Primary Coverage Holder, you may elect to check the box and copy that information to the billing section. Also if you would like the system to remember your payment preferences, you can click the box labeled 'save card'.  The encrypted information is stored on the credit card merchant servers, not on our servers to speed up time on your next visit.
Once you click the 'purchase' button the order is submitted for credit card processing and the program administrator receives the coverage information. You will have the option to print the confirmation to a file which we recommend you do for future reference. 

Purchase information is available in your partner portal.  A future software release will expand on the details to make the information of greater use. 

How Owners Benefit from Damage Protection

Gone are the days of managing damage deposits. Over the past few years the majority of vacation rental companies have moved away from damage deposits and have implemented a damage protection plan to protect guests and owners from accidental damage. For a small fee, typically paid by the guest, owners have financial protection at much higher levels.

The benefits are many:
  1. Damage Protection eliminates the need to collect a deposit, place it in escrow, inspect the property following the stay, write a check and mail it. This process is a time waster.
  2. $500 is a popular damage deposit amount. With protection at $1,500 or $3,000, you have much higher levels of protection in place. Rug replacement due to a wine spill or a broken cooktop runs more than $500.
  3. Eliminates credit card charge backs for lodging providers who mistakenly think a credit card on file will protect against damage. The credit card companies almost always side with their customer (card holder) when a dispute arises. That means the owner is stuck for the cost of repairs.
  4. Vacations are expensive and when you ask your guest to come out of pocket for hundreds more, it can make the difference between a booking or the need to look elsewhere. 
  5. A properly implemented damage program will result in guests calling you to report damage rather than leaving it to be discovered.  Often a repair can be made while the guest is there meaning the next guest will not be inconvenienced by something left undone.
  6. Often overlooked is the retention of the relationship with your guest.  Homeowners want happy guests who will return again for another stay.  When the discussion turns to how much its going to cost to pay for damages, the relationship can go south!
Make damage protection part of every reservation and you will have peace of mind knowing that you are protected and your guests will be happy.  
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Friday, July 12, 2019

How Guests Benefit from Damage Protection

When you think of damage protection, you might naturally think the property owner is the only one that stands to benefit. After all, the policy protects the property of the lodging provider. The reality is that accidents happen and repairs can be costly.  Add the cost of repairs to an already expensive vacation and its a recipe for stress.

There are endless examples of accidents.  They include red wine stains on couches and rugs, broken lamps, broken windows, a dropped skillet on a glass cooktop ... the list goes on.  Any of these can add up to a hefty price tag.  When you consider coverage that covered 100% of the repair was put in place for somewhere between $59-$79 the savings is considerable. 

Another benefit is the elimination of the upfront cost of damage deposits.  Lodging providers requirements vary but its not uncommon for damage deposits to be $500 or much more.  That's more cash needed to fund a vacation even with the promise of getting it back if there is no damage.

Lastly, guests are at the mercy of fairness and honesty.  Cleaning crews have been know to have an accident and report damage as guest damage.  The result is an argument over whether the guest was really the responsible party claiming the damage was not there when they checked out. It can be a uncomfortable (& costly) situation. 

Bottom line is both parties benefit when damage protection is in place.  


Who should initiate coverage …the Lodging Provider or Guest?

If you look at Online Travel Agent's (OTA) like VRBO or AirBnb, they provide an option for the guest to purchase damage protection. While both parties benefit, we believe that is backwards.  It's the lodging provider who stands to suffer a loss in the event of guest damage and its best that they be the one to initiate coverage and receive the funds in the event of a claim. 

Traditionally, vacation rental owners have protected against accidents through the collection of damage deposits. The funds were held in escrow and the property was inspected at departure to ensure there was no damage resulting from the guest stay.  If not, the deposit was refunded. If yes, the lodging provider and guest have an unpleasant conversation about cost of repairs.

Today, the financial risk is taken on by the underwriter and the guest pays a fee equal to a fraction of the coverage amount.  Eliminated is the need to for the guest to come out of pocket with hundreds or thousands of dollars and the need for the lodging provider to manage those funds. The lodging provider purchases coverage and adds a fee, typically referred to as a 'damage waiver', to cover the expense of the policy. Both parties are protected. 

Damage protection should be put in place for every reservation.  You never know when an accident will happen, no matter how large or how small. Guests should be made aware that coverage is in place and set rental terms that require a guest to report damage.  We provide sample rental agreement terms to our participating partners.  Once damage is reported, an online claim is initiated including a photo of the damage and a copy of the receipt(s) for repair or replacement. 

What is the Protection Brands Damage Protection Program?

The Protection Brands Damage Protection Program is designed to be an easy way for smaller lodging providers or rental guests to purchase a policy to protect against accidental guest damage during a vacation stay. The policy supplements or eliminates the need for damage deposits and protects both the guest and lodging provider when accidents happen by moving the risk to the underwriter for a fraction of the cost of what the out-of-pocket cost might be.

Coverage is available in two coverage limits; $1,500 or $3,000 and is underwritten by TERN Financial, a Lloyds of London cover-holder and administered by RentalGuardian.com.

Guest purchases are made online at www.damageprotection.insure without the need to speak with an agent. Coverage must be purchased prior to the start of the stay.  Lodging Providers are encouraged to become a registered partner for which they will receive benefits for reoccurring purchases.

Claims are handled online and include the need to upload photos of the damage and receipts for repair or replacement. Reimbursement is typically within 30 days of a completed claim and payment is 100% of the costs as there is no deductible.

Note: Property Managers with ten or more properties under management may be able to automatically put damage coverage in place directly through their software platform. Please contact us at 877 248-1275 x100 for information.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Damage Protection can be an Important Component of Guest Retention

Most people naturally think that the primary purpose of damage protection is to cover the cost of repairs when a guest causes damage to the rental property.  It certainly does that, but its value is so much more.  

Having insurance in place eliminates potentially awkward conversations with your guest about damage; who caused it, what it costs and who going to pay for it.  With damage insurance, that conversation does not have to take place and the guest can depart having enjoyed their vacation experience and hopefully return in the future for another stay, helping to increase overall nights booked and revenue.

Consider the scenario where your cleaning staff calls to let you know that the guest broke an expensive lamp during their stay.  You’ve got to make the call to your guest to let them know that you need to retain some (or all) of their damage deposit to cover replacement of the broken lamp.  How many times have you heard the response “it was that way when we arrived, we didn’t break it.”  Perhaps it was one of the kids who didn’t say anything to the parents or maybe just a situation where the guest felt the cost of the stay was already expensive enough.  Regardless, you now have a situation where there is not going to be a winner, but instead everyone will lose.

With a protection plan in place, the claim process is easy … the lodging provider uploads a photo of the damage along with the receipt for repair and replacement and a check is sent to you for full reimbursement.  The guest benefits by transferring much of the risk to the insurance company as they pay a small damage waiver fee at the time of reservation. As the lodging provider, you didn’t have to have that conversation to let them know that their vacation is going to cost a little more than what was anticipated & budgeted. 

Fortunately, you put insurance in place with each reservation.  The guests in the above scenario departed happy and will be back again for another stay down the road!  Damage protection is like any insurance … it transfers financial risk to the insurance underwriter.  It’s not always needed but when accidents happen (and they will), everyone is happy the insurance is there.

Protection Brands provides damage protection underwritten by TERN Financial and administered by Rental Guardian.  Coverage can be purchased online at www.damageprotection.insure.  Lodging providers are encouraged to register as a Protection Brands partner at www.getdamageprotection.com and enjoy special pricing discounts.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Airline Shutdown Catches Travelers Off Guard

 Travel insurance protects against financial loss for the unexpected.  It's doubtful that these travelers expected that their airline would go out of business!
The Cypriot airline Cobalt Air has cancelled all its flights effective October 17, 2018 and indefinitely suspended operations, advising customers not to go to the airport.  Cobalt, which had taken passengers to and from Cyprus since 2016, flew to 23 destinations and operated flights at Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick and Manchester.
“Top tips: get travel insurance, book flights with a credit card and find a partner who can make you laugh despite waking up to the news you’ve both lost hundreds of pounds” said reporter Aamna Mohdin who waas among those affected by the cancellations.  Read the full story at The Guardian.
Photograph credits: Matthieu Clavel/AFP/Getty Images

How to Purchase Damage Protection

As a Protection Brands Partner you will want to put coverage in place through your partner portal.  It is the most efficient means and it pr...