Injured at a VRBO in New Jersey

Tourism in the Garden State is robust. In 2021, 96.6 million people visited New Jersey for vacation. The state is popular among visitors for its beaches, lakes, historic sites, wine industry, and proximity to New York City. With millions of visitors coming to New Jersey annually, more than 10,000 vacation rentals are provided to vacationers through VRBO. 

While many enjoy their VRBO home in the Garden State without incident, unfortunate circumstances can, and do happen. For example, people sometimes suffer injuries from accidents while on vacation. But what happens to an individual injured in a VRBO home? As a vacationer, knowing all your rights as a VRBO renter and what to do if an accident occurs is important. 

VRBO Liability Insurance

Homeowners who list their vacation property with VRBO are entitled to million-dollar liability insurance. Reservations processed through VRBO will have access to this coverage. VRBO obtains their insurance through General Global Assistance, and clients can get annual coverage per property they list with VRBO. When claims are made against an owner by a guest, the homeowner will have a representative from General Global Assistance working on their behalf. That’s why a person injured at VRBO property should look into hiring an attorney to represent their interests. 

Even though property owners have access to VRBO insurance, some may have their own insurance as well. When they do, VRBO’s insurance will be an addition to that coverage. 

VRBO’s million-dollar policy limit may seem like enough, but it can go fast. In the case of a serious injury, or one that leaves a permanent, life-long issue, medical care, court costs, and legal fees will add up quickly. If a guest gets hurt in a VRBO home, be sure to pull together the full details of the accident and medical documentation if you need to file a claim. 

Insurance isn’t just limited to property owners; guests can purchase accidental damage insurance through VRBO, too. This insurance provides coverage if damage happens to the rental property during a guest’s stay. In fact, homeowners can require guests to buy this insurance, though such policies don’t address injuries to renters. As with any other accident caused by another’s negligence, it’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible afterwards, while one’s memory of events is fresh. 

What You Should Do if You’re Injured at a VRBO? 

Many people planning vacations don’t account for accidents that could occur. During the summer, two million Americans suffer injuries from vacation-related accidents. When a person is injured in their VRBO rental, they should seek medical help first. If serious, the guest should seek emergency room care from a nearby hospital.

Gathering and recording as much information as possible is essential. Ensure that all the medical documentation of your visit to a medical facility or hospital is kept. Take photos or videos of the injuries before your body has healed. An image is worth a thousand words; in an injury case, a person can describe their injuries all they want, but the picture will have a greater impact. One should also take pictures and/or video of the accident scene. For example, if an uneven walkway, faulty staircase, or improperly secured item led to the accident, it should be captured on film. Get contact information for all guests who stayed in the VRBO rental at the time of the accidents and, of course, the property owner should be informed immediately.

While waiting to heal from your wounds and getting back into a regular routine may be good priorities, there are time constraints to consider. Apart from wanting to record information about the accident while fresh in one’s mind, New Jersey also has a statute of limitations for filing. A guest may sue for a personal injury within two years from the date of injury. So, for people who plan to hire an attorney, it’s best to contact them as soon as possible to fill them in on what has happened. The attorney will need time to gather all of the evidence needed to build a strong case before the statute of limitations runs out. 

How to Prepare for a VRBO Claim

VRBO’s million-dollar insurance covers homeowners from a guest being injured in their home and third-party property damage. The insurance is eligible for property managers as well. When a guest is harmed, the first step is to gain as much information about the incident as possible. Then, ensure that you’ve gathered the details necessary before making the claim, and do it in a timely manner. 

Once the information is gathered, the injured person or their attorney can contact Generali Global Assistance to initiate a claim with them. The company will assign a representative to the case. The money will be used to investigate the claim and provide legal defense for the property owner if needed. Generali Global Assistance operates in 60 countries. 

If homeowners have insurance that covers short-term rentals, it might be best to make a claim with them first, and use VRBO as a backup. While VRBO has adequate funds to cover accidents, it is restrictive. Restrictions include bodily injury arising from the ownership, maintenance, or use of vehicles or watercraft “owned or operated by, or rented or loaned to any Insured that is not stationary and/or is not used for residential purposes.”

An attorney will assess the situation and know how best to proceed, then handle all aspects of the claim, whether that means filing a lawsuit and/or reaching an out-of-court settlement. This is important because many personal injury cases end in settlements, with both parties never having to set foot into a courtroom. An attorney will also be an experienced negotiator, able to land a fair settlement. 

What Are the Safety Standards for VRBOs? 

To keep guests safe, VRBO has a set of guidelines recommended for homeowners. Homeowners are responsible for keeping their homes safe and implementing the procedures. While VRBO’s rules are suggested, New Jersey laws are required.

Along with residential homes and long-term rentals, vacation homes are required to undergo inspection before a permit can be issued. Afterward, Housing Code Enforcement and the Fire Official will conduct a fire safety and property maintenance code inspection. These inspections will ensure the building’s condition and facilities operate accordingly. Residents must also adhere to regulations on short-term rentals in the Garden State

Would Homeowners Insurance Cover an Accident at a VRBO Rental? 

When seeking insurance, there are questions a homeowner must consider. How will I use this property? Will it be my primary residence or a vacation rental? Those answers will determine whether they should seek regular homeowner or commercial insurance. Both insurances protect from bodily injuries, but it matters how the property is used when filing claims. One insurance is for personal matters, while the other is used for business transactions. 

If a person plans to use their second home as a short-term rental to generate income, they might get commercial insurance. VRBO’s insurance policy covers what happens to others when they could be at fault. However, it could be the homeowner’s responsibility to pay the entire bill if a guest trashes the property. Commercial coverage policies can help fund the repairs and may also reimburse for income loss from the “business” due to the property’s condition, but it won’t cover guest injuries. And, if a guest’s injury is beyond the scope of VRBO coverage, homeowners themselves may be held responsible.

What if $1 Million is Not Enough?

Although a million dollars is a significant amount to cover a guest’s injuries and property damage, sometimes it isn’t enough. Consider a catastrophic accident where one loses the use of a limb or is permanently incapacitated for one reason or another. Apart from medical expenses – current and future – one may be unable to work for years, or even a lifetime. This is why it’s important to seek legal representation for an injury at a VRBO. Our attorneys at Rosenblum Law will work with you to gather all the facts needed to best represent you throughout the process. We will build a strong case to get you the compensation you deserve whether it’s negotiated through insurance providers and settled out of court, or won by going through a trial. 

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