Insurance for peer-to-peer travel rentals

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Hotel chains and rental car companies may not be headed for the history books, at least not yet. But lately, some savvy travelers have been moving away from these traditional travel providers and turning toward web-based newcomers that are part of what’s been dubbed the “sharing economy.”

These new services match vacationers with locals who are willing to rent out their homes or cars.

While peer-to-peer travel services may sound like great ways to save on travel or make some extra bucks off your dwelling or vehicle, they aren’t without risk, says Michael Barry, a vice president with the Insurance Information Institute.

“Given the growing popularity of these websites … we believe more policyholders are checking with their insurance company before renting out their property,” says Barry, who adds that vacationers also should verify their coverage if they plan to rent out someone else’s home or car.

Insurance agents say people using peer-to-peer travel sites should check the fine print. In some scenarios, the services may offer some coverage. But in other cases, owners and renters may be on their own.