Travel industry research has revealed a sharp rise in the vacation rental market, according to analysis by Travel Insured International. The company cites a Vacation Home Rentals projection of a 13.1 percent increase in its 2011 rental business and the 2010 Radius Global Market Research survey that revealed an $85 billion market in U.S. and European vacation rentals.
Travel Insured International warns that risks necessitating trip insurance do not decrease with a vacation home rental compared to other types of trips such as cruises, resort hotel stays, or guided tours. Travel accidents and illness, weather-related travel or destination disruptions and natural disasters are all still part of the vacation risk potential when the vacation destination is a rental home. And with most vacation rentals requiring full prepayments prior to arrival, including taxes, security and cleaning fees, the loss of a complete vacation's cost is very possible if not covered by travel insurance, Travel Insured says.
Travel Insured offers these tips to protect renters:
• Strongly consider using a travel industry professional experienced in vacation home rentals that can recommend and book the properties you are looking for.
• Make sure your rental home owner or a rental manager is nearby to attend to any problems. Talk to them before deciding to rent.
• Ask your travel professional if the rental price is negotiable, especially if you can stay longer. Sometimes an owner who wants to fill a rental calendar week will be flexible on price, or offer last-minute specials.
• Ask about towels, bed linens, cleaning and cooking utensils, and other necessities in the house.
• Remember the difference between "waterfront" and "water view," which is often a partial side view.
• Confirm the home contains the exact items you want: DVD, stereo, BBQ grill, Wi-Fi or other priorities.
• Use MapQuest or other mapping devices to pinpoint the exact rental location. Learn the public transportation available or private transportation required and plan ahead accordingly.
• Pay only with a credit card. Obtain the written terms and conditions of rental, including security deposit, cleaning fees, taxes, etc., along with booking confirmations and payment receipts. Remember that all trip insurance claims require documentation to be correctly resolved.
• Always inspect a home thoroughly upon arrival to immediately report any existing damage, stains etc. that might otherwise be made your responsibility. Make sure entertainment units work properly.
Travel Insured warns vacation renters that their prepaid trip investment is vulnerable to the same potential cancellation or delay risks with a home rental as with a cruise, tour or hotel resort stay. Trip Cancellation coverage in a comprehensive policy, such as a Worldwide Trip Protector from Travel Insured, can provide protection against an unforeseen accident or illness before or during travel, or against an airline or other common carrier delay due to weather.
Whether they are seeking a home away from home, more living space for their vacationing family or friends, more affordable travel costs or other advantages, travelers are embracing vacation rental homes in greater numbers as an alternative to hotel rooms, organized tours or ship cruises, Travel Insured says. The comforts of a rental home, however, do not mean the elimination of vacation risks, and Travel Insured urges vacation home renters to take the necessary precautions to relax and enjoy their vacation stay.