Liability exposure is something that needs to be taken seriously when you are in the business of renting your property to others. In many ways this is an extension of the Property Condition concerns that were discussed in a previous article. Once you have taken care of all the aspects of the property that could pose a possible chance of injury to your guests you need to protect your business and yourself. Even with the utmost care to detail and a very well written liability waiver the exposure still exists.
Lets talk about waivers first. They are a great idea and accomplish a number of things that you may not first consider. A waiver attempts to set out a boundary of responsibility between you and your guests. It also makes your guests aware that there are some risks involved and brings those acitivities and details to their attention which may in itself prevent damage or injury. There is nothing like signing a waiver to make you think about what you are about to do. When incorporated with a rental agreement it also imparts a duty of responsibility that hopefully your guests accept and use to guide them while staying on your property. At the end of the day there is no such thing as a iron clad waiver that is going to protect you from all liability or the legal costs associated with defending yourself.
Your property insurance will cover you for the liability associated with friends and family both visiting either with or without you but the moment you enter the cottage rental business the rules change. Many insurance companies offer an endorsement to accomodate individuals who either frequently or infrequently rent their cottage to others. Other insurance carriers will set up a new policy for you based on your cottage rental business. In either case the liability protection will be incorporated with your property protection.
There are few ways to consider how your liability insurance benefits both you and your guests. The primary benefit of course is that you will now have financial protection should you be liable for damage or injury. You will also have protection regarding the legal costs associated with defending yourself which is also part of the liability coverage. There is also the added value in knowing that your guests should they suffer damage or injury that they have a path of recovery. You can be confident that you are truly looking after the well fare of your guests.