Guest house insurance: what you need to know

Guest house insurance: what you need to know

Leisurely strolls and laidback fun… If it were up to you, your guests would always be at ease when staying at your guest house and nothing would ever go wrong.

Santam knows that it takes more than wishful thinking to run a smooth operation, which is why we asked our commercial insurance team to explain some of the risks South African guest house owners face and what they can do to ensure they are adequately protected.

What if your guest house burns down?

Imagine that your guest house burned down due to an electrical fault or lightning strike. Even if your entire place didn't burn down, it is highly unlikely that you could host any guests there until you have replaced your furniture, bedding etc. If the building of your guest house has been destroyed it means you have to wait until it is rebuilt before you can get back to business. Santam's commercial insurance team advises that you consider your lost income for this period and ask an insurance adviser how you can insure the lost income and profits of your guest house until your guest house is up and running again.

When guests get injured…

If one of your guests sustains an injury on your property, he or she may hold you accountable for their medical bills. Some insurers, like Santam will assist you in a scenario like this by paying for any damages that you may be legally liable for in addition to legal assistance. Don't underestimate how much legal costs can amount to. Guests know their rights and will seek to be reimbursed. Remember that this type of insurance is for your legal obligations only, not because you feel morally obliged to pay or because you're worried that you'll lose a customer. Ask your insurance adviser for quotes for a variety of limits and then purchase the highest limit your business can afford.

What if things go missing?

You should always make sure that your guests understand that they must protect their own property.  You can implement your own measures to ensure that the safety of your guest's but have your guests sign a disclaimer stating that you will not be responsible for losses, etc. Check with your insurer to make sure you have theft included in your guest house policy as some companies may exclude property in your custody and control. Santam also provides an automatic extension for guests' personal items for up to R50 000 under your property damage insurance if their property is insured under this section e.g. fire, theft etc. (this is not subject to your being held legally liable). Additional cover can be purchased, but is subject to additional premium. Remember, some insurers will not pay for guests' items if they are already insured by the guest themselves or if they were not inside a building on your premises.

Theft of your property

Find out whether you have full theft cover or whether cover is subject to forcible and violent entry.  Take care of your property, and make sure you always know who is on your premises. Guest houses by their very nature sometimes remain unlocked due to the guests entering and exiting during the day. This is why Santam's guest house policy does not limit your theft cover to forcible and violent entry only (other than for money and theft from outbuildings on your property).

What type of cover does Santam offer guest houses?

Whether you're a guest house or small bed and breakfast owner, Santam can offer you the type of insurance that will cover most eventualities.

For more information about Santam's guest house cover, visit our Guest House page.

Don't get caught out by bad surprises. If you're unsure as to whether you have the right cover for your guest house, speak to your insurance adviser today.

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