A conversation about insurance

@Vanessa-Admin are you able to answer this question Vanessa as it sounds like @Itchyfeet should get some reply and other sitters might like to know also? Thanks

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@carpediem It seems that there are several questions regarding insurance on this thread and I’m not an insurance expert I’m afraid. As we are seeing, there are different scenarios for different countries of which I don’t have any experience.

I have, however, made a note to bring this before the team next week so that our insurance specialist can address any general concerns.

Regarding individual insurance queries I think the best thing is probably to ask membership services directly by email so that they can look into each individual set of circumstances in relationship to the TrustedHousesitters policies.

Sorry not to be of much help on this one with any immediacy, but I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone by making any assumptions. We will take this up next week though.


There are sitters who don’t own a home or do not have a home at all. Everyone should renters’ insurance for their belongings whereever they may be, but I bet a lot do not.

@Katie have never had insurance in my life…i have always ‘winged it’! Abit late for me to start now so I travel light, try to roll with changes that might crop up, dont carry anything of real value and aim not to cause damage to anybody’s property…so far so good!

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Yeah, I think the difference here is that we’re talking about Personal Liability insurance, not insurance on the house and/or belongings. Often when you buy house insurance, you can also get personal liability as a part of the package. I wonder if Nomads can/do buy PL insurance separately to cover themselves wherever they travel?

Here in France, things are different : a tenant is obliged to have his own insurance but an owner is NOT (the one who rents, or lives in his home). He takes his own risks…

as a a liability insurance is automatic with home insurance, it can be a problem…

I would add something very important : before being a pet sitter, i swapped homes often (more than 40 times since 1988) in many countries

so i asked my insurance company what would happen if i would break something, a window, loose the swapper’s keys, and i’ve been very surprised by the differences between companies, when i changed from one to another one

I was convinced a liability insurance was included in travel insurances, the ones included for example with a credit card. But I learnt that if you use your credit card to pay a flight, a hotel, a B&B, then OK you’re covered If you provoke a damage (not intentional of course) such as ruining a carpet with a glass of wine, flood in the bath etc.

But you are NOT if you are staying in some place for free. there is NO money exchange during a sit, if you break a piece of furniture, an expensive item, as you have not used your credit card to stay in that home, then you are NOT insured at all.

I was amazed (i asked many companies to write an article, as I was a journalist)

It’s not specified, you need really to ask the company (“what would happen while i’m sitting” ). You will be surprised when you read the contractual conditions (few people take time to read) and if you ask the company to send you an answer, written…

Many people rely on their credit card/travel insurance, their personal insurances, better to CHECK exactly the terms of the insurance coverings.

Better to ask BEFORE and subscribe the good insurance in order to feel less anxious (i prefer to pay 100€ now than 10 000 or 100 000 later !

As an owner, i subscribed a home insurance, My liability ( part of the contract) follows me where ever i go. But again the person in my home during the time i’m away, must be insured herself. Somebody with no home, I 'm pretty sure he has not thought to take a personal insurance, so i ask him/her if (s)he has a liability insurance. Reactions are sometimes hostile…

i don’t want to have to sue somebody because he has no insurance in case of huge problem (fire would be the worst) . Where can i adress him/her after he’s gone if (s)he has no home and leaves THS and vanish ?

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Exactly! I would not rely on Credit Cards, not even on the THS insurance.
It can be very tricky and you absolutely need to use the right words to submit something you have broken to the insurance company. We never do this by ourselves but always ask our insurance broker.
So in case it’s “only” something like a broken window, ruined carpet or something not necessarily to be mended or replaced immediately without anybody insured, I would ask the sitter to contact us or wait until we’re back to find a common solution. Because, before I begin to argue with a foreign insurance company, I rather ask my broker first if there’s not a way around this :wink:
Some might call it cheating, I call it common sense.

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So to clarify, with French home insurance, if someone is staying in your home and they damage something in your home, it’s not covered under your house insurance? That is shocking really. In Canada, my house and belongings are covered no matter who damages it.

Do you worry about your home when you have guests visiting etc?

I totally understand the liability insurance though. I think that works the same everywhere. We carry liability insurance which covers us everywhere we travel in the world, and yes, it’s attached to our house insurance.

When guests are visiting me, I guess they are insured. I never ask. It would be their responsability if they break something or make huge stains on carpets . That’s an example. If they are not insured and I’m staying at the same time with them, I could always pretend the fault was mine. But if my insurance company knows I’m somewhere else (because I warned them i was travelling at the same period, or sitting somewhere) it will never work. And insurance companies don’t cover all damages made by the insurer

my home insurance does not cover me if I break myself a window pane, it covers me if i forget to turn off the taps of my bath which provokes a flood, if i forgot to turn off gas and my home blows ! If a tree falls on my roof too.
My liability insurance covers the damages I would provoke elsewhere or the damages my dog would make

Don’t ask me why, it’s so complicate. This is why I always read all the clauses of my policy

Again, my liability isurance follows me where I go (to friends, hotels, pet owners’ homes) so YES a sitter needs to have a liability insurance when he sits for me. If he does not want to pay for one, then he is not obliged to apply. It will not be very expensive and it will cover him for a year (not only while he is sitting for me)

In 43 home swaps, in 30 years, in 11 sits I made so far, I never faced a problem. But a catastophy can always occur.
i fear a lot american lawyers , if I sit one day in USA, i want to be sure my liability insurance will cover me if I provoke a fire, an accident ! I don’t want to be obliged to sell my own house to pay the damage.
That’s why I really scrutinise insurances clauses.
That’s why I prefer to rent a car, taking all insurances possible. To feel in peace !

On my side, as a sitter, I always tell the owners i can send them a copy of my liability insurance, but of course it’s in french. And when a norvegian sitter sends me his insurance in norvegian, I really don’t understand what it is all about…

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I totally agree with you describing french home insurances @provence.

And I should add concerning the exemple you give about the tap and the fload : my assurance would NOT cover me in that case saying « if I leave my house for more than 3 days it is my responsability to turn he water off » !! So yes, you have to read carefully the little lines of the contract as Companies have their own rules ! And it can be very tricky…

This is also why I am very interested in what @Düsenzofe says about her “insurance broker” helping her to declare the damage !

And yes a catastrophy can always occur, you never know.
HO has never asked me about my insurance policy but should it happen I would be glad to send them a copy of my contracts (home insurance with my personal Liability insurance or car insurance which covers me as a driver of a borrowed car - but not against speedy lights fines :innocent:)

Very interesting topic.
Next time I go to my insurance company I will ask them all sort of questions about house-sitting.

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So interesting. My liability insurance only covers me if someone sues me. It wouldn’t cover me staining a carpet or something like that (I guess unless you sued me for it).

@Kelownagurl : so you would have to pay for a new carpet or for a professional washing of it ?

Can you tell us which nationality you are ? I mean in which country you are insured ?
Yes very interesting !!

@Kelownagurl @Françoise-et-Youn @Provence I have been following this conversation with interest and I may be a terrible sceptic but I think many insurance companies will look for the slightest get out clause to not pay out on an insurance claim; as you all and others have said you need to check evrything with a very careful eye and even then its not guaranteed that a claim will be honoured…I apologise unreservedly to any honest insurance agents reading this!


I agree you do have to be careful, fully understand your policy, and be sure to follow all the warnings/exemptions attached to it. That being said, I don’t think it’s reason enough to not purchase insurance. I’ve made claims more than once in my lifetime and have had no problem.

The key is, don’t lie or exaggerate when buying insurance thinking they won’t find out because they likely will.

No, in Canada, my house insurance covers any damage to my home, regardless of who does it. I’m referring to Personal Liability Insurance.

" Personal Liability

Whether you own or rent your home, you can be held liable for bodily injury or property damage unintentionally caused to others. Your home insurance’s personal liability portion provides coverage if such an event occurs on your property or anywhere in the world.

For example, if a visitor slips on a snow-covered walkway on your property and is injured, you may be held legally responsible. If you’re found negligent, your personal liability coverage would cover the damages resulting from the injury up to the coverage limit. Liability coverage does not apply to injuries sustained by you or members of your household."

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@Françoise-et-Youn Yes, we have an insurance broker. Of course going this way is a little more expensive than choosing an insurance from the internet but experience showed that this is worth it.
My husband’s bike was stolen two years ago and he took his receipt to our broker and said: “do what you can!” In the end the insurance paid him more than the bike actually had cost 8 years earlier. I am sure this would have been different if we had tried it ourselves.


@Kelownagurl yes dead right be very precise and honest as they have ways of finding out and then the insurance is void…i know a few people who have fallen foul of this…the other thing being is that even with the slightest of changes to your situation with regard to the insurance you have TELL THEM its another way they use to void insurance!


@Düsenzofe @Françoise-et-Youn @Kelownagurl thats good advice a broker will know all the pitfalls or should

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I totally agree !
You always discover that you don’t fit it the box :
YES you pay insurance against floading but this tap has been leaking for more than 3 days and the water should be turned off when you leave for more than 3 days…
YES you pay for “life accident”, but falling on your own and broke your hip is NOT an accident (true story 2 years ago while dog sitting in Portugal !)

I am too very sceptic… sadly… :disappointed_relieved:
Same apologise to any honest insurance agent reading this :grimacing:

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@carpediem that’s why we have an insurance broker. He has helped every single time we needed him and over the years we got back more than the price difference to any insurance contract you sign via the internet.
When we need a new insurance we ask him and of course he gets paid a commission but he knows the contracts, knows what makes sense for us and helps in case of a claim.

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