An important note about insurance

I had been debating as to whether we should incorporate the topic of insurance into a future community event, or add it onto the tail end of our upcoming ‘host safety’ event on June 4th (free tickets are still available btw).

I’ll likely still touch on insurance at our June 4th event, but I wanted to put some of my thoughts into writing here first and I’m happy to answer any questions anyone has from now until the community event.

Insurance: what Peerspace covers

There’s been a lot of confusion about what Peerspace’ insurance policy covers, both from hosts and also from renters.

First, have a look at Https://peaceofmind.peerspace.com for a really good description of what Peerspace covers.

It’s meant to only protect hosts against damage or injury liability claims brought against THEM. These are things like slip and fall accidents in your space, or if you knock over one of your renter’s lights - they are not in any way intended on covering damage to YOUR equipment or property.

While this liability insurance is great to have, it’s also not intended to replace your need for private business insurance and I’ll explain why in a minute. But first:

INSURANCE: why your renters need it

There’s a show I used to watch about a neurotic detective called ‘Monk’. He always used to say “you’ll thank me later”. GET A CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE FROM YOUR RENTERS…you’ll thank me later. If I could change one thing about Peerspace, I would make insurance mandatory and have Peerspace collect insurance paperwork, as I cannot think of a single event or production rental where you wouldn’t want your renters to be insured.

If they are a producer or a photographer working without insurance, they are not professional. Liability insurance is perhaps 40-60 per month; it’s so cheap that I can’t see why anyone would intentionally conduct business without it.

But for private events, most of your renters won’t have their own insurance and that’s okay, as The Event Helper offers single day insurance for a variety of specific events, such as birthday parties and formal dinners. Bookmark https://www.theeventhelper.com/partner/Peerspace and give that link out to your rental clients.

You can choose to go without insurance, but I’m not sure why you’d want to, as something is eventually going to get broken in your space and while Peerspace allows for damage claims, if you don’t properly document your rentals, you’re going to find yourself in an uphill battle. More on that in a minute as well, but first:

INSURANCE: why you still need it

Peerspace has liability insurance, now you’ve made your renters get insurance, but you aren’t done yet, because YOU still need insurance! Here’s why:

When YOUR property is damaged, you cannot file a claim with your renter’s insurance, only your renter can do that. But your renter is likely not going to admit wrongdoing. As John Barth once said: “everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story” and as my dad once told me: “denial ain’t just a river in Egypt”.

We once had a student production crew doing a student film who broke a $230 folding screen in our home, spill acetone on an $800 distressed wood table, dirty up couches, rugs, break a step in our loft and make various other scrapes and dents just about everywhere.

While the damage to each piece appeared relatively minor, these were brand new items that needed to be replaced. The total damages added up to around $3000, but the renters were only copping to damaging the table.

They put us in touch with their insurance company, who was obviously on their clients’ side, so I presented them with…

DOCUMENTATION.

Never put yourself in a he said, she said situation, as there is no way o prove your case and the burden of proof is on you.

During the walkout, every time I pointed out a damaged item to my renters, their response was “wasn’t it already like that?”

No…no, it wasn’t. But how could I prove it?

I have 11 security cameras running in our home, capturing every conceivable angle in our space. I may not catch everything live, but if something is broken, I will absolutely see it on the playback.

Each camera records to the cloud for a month, but also to a memory card, which is then backed up to a OneDrive account and archived forever until I decide to delete it.

I cannot tell you enough how many times these cameras have saved me. As a male photographer and a former foster father, these cameras saved me from two false allegations over the years that could have resulted in jail or prison time, or at the least, a damaged reputation. They have saved me from almost a dozen instances of my photography clients attempting to scam me, they have saved me from theft, possible assault, an attempted kidnapping (you’ll have to wait until our June 4th event to hear the story of how a renter on a different platform attempted to kidnap us).

These cameras have also saved us from false negative reviews and proved our case when we’ve filed damage claims, which brings me back to my original point:

When you have a damage claim, you cannot file it with your renters’ insurance - only the insurance holder can file a claim.

But what you CAN do is to file a claim with YOUR insurance company and present them with your documentation, as well as your renters’ insurance policy information.

Your insurance pays you out and then pursues a claim with the renters’ insurance company. It gets you paid quickly (likely with no increase to your premium) and makes it someone else’s problem.

This is why both you AND your renter need insurance. Peerspace’ insurance is a supplemental liability policy for the host, but is no way intended on replacing the need for proper insurance.

For the aforementioned student filmmakers, I located the footage of them breaking our step, roughhousing the fragile folding screen, spilling the acetone, etc, uploaded it to a private YouTube video and sent it off to my insurance adjuster.

I was paid within 48 hours and went on with my life.

Just yesterday we had a renter lean back in one of our chairs and fall over, hitting his head. He said nothing to us about it, but I downloaded the footage, just in case he comes back in six months and claims that the chair was defective.

When you open your home or business up to renters, you invite unlimited amounts of liability. While Peerspace has your back, you need to arm yourself with proper documentation in the form of irrefutable video evidence, while keeping all of your communications within the platform, or at the least, in written format.

In my ‘day job’ as a commercial photographer, my photography clients hate that I dislike talking to them over the phone, but the reason is that hundreds of photography clients have told me “you told me such and such over the phone”, however I know that I didn’t.

…so I pull the footage of me talking to them on the phone and even if I don’t put the call on speaker, you can at least verify what I did or did not say. It immediately ends any argument.

I recently had a client threaten to file a fraudulent chargeback. The details aren’t important, but he claimed that I said whatever over the phone, so I pulled the footage and sent it to him, including the two minutes before the call began, when I was discussing with my team that I was concerned that the client was going to pull a scam on us - the exact scam that he later tried to pull.

It’s been a couple of weeks now and he never emailed back.

So let me know if you have any questions and please join us at our upcoming community event on June 4th, where my team and I will be discussing host safety

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I don’t live my life in fear. It is so unproductive to so but my space just went live a few days ago and I haven’t had a booking yet. I may pull out this whole peerspace from this post. Sounds like a whole can of crap I don’t want to get involved with. I’m doing peerspace thinking I’ll make some spare beer money every now and then but why go the hassle of documenting, camera-ing everything, going back over footage, filming talking on the phone to people.
Thanks for this. I must do some thinking now.

While it wasn’t my intention to incite fear, a reality of being in business - any business - is insulating yourself from liability.

You may never need it, but it’s there when you do. It’s why they call it ‘insurance’ :slight_smile:

Been a commercial photographer for thirty years with a full service studio so I know insurance. I’ve brought in snarling lions, million dollar cars, rooms full of high price women models and on and on and have never ever come close to these horror stories.
Just saying it might be best for me to do some thinking on whether I try to make money off my space without me being in the room at all times.

most of my horror stories were actually from my own photography business and a different platform from Peerspace (that’s important to note by the way, as other platforms bring issues that we don’t encounter on the Peerspace platform).

BUT!

I will agree that any rental service does bring an increased liability and a potential for situations to occur, but we really enjoy renting our space through Peerspace and it’s been extremely lucrative for us as well (we now make almost as much renting our space as we do through photography, which has allowed me to vastly cut back on the photo jobs that I accept!)

My worst horror stories:

  • A model comes in for a test shoot. We were just launching our own line of lingerie and we wanted to do a lingerie shoot.

The model comes in the TINIEST pair of bra and panties I had ever seen, along with her boyfriend (who was a law student). I had my wife there, our friend/adoptive daughter and her 2 year old son (whose eyes we had to shield).

I had worked with her before and had known her for years, but I decided to go with a different model in the end.

17 days later, she sends me a text telling me that I coerced her into a ‘risque’ shoot and her law student boyfriend starts calling and texting me, implying that I was some sort of creep.

They waited 2 weeks because they assumed that my cameras only kept recordings for 2 weeks (like most cloud cameras do).

When I uploaded and sent them the entire footage from that day, their allegation literally evaporated. They weakly attempted to tell me that I couldn’t use the footage, but if I didn’t have that footage, things would have gone much differently.

The recorded phone calls I mentioned were also photography clients.

The entire reason we opened our account with Peerspace was that I have seen a marked decline in the quality of photography clients and projects that we receive and I was beginning to burn out.

Peerspace was such a lifesaver for us. It brought much needed finances in during our lean months (winter) and gave me the breathing room I needed to re-evaluate our other business ventures.

We are now in a better place financially and psychologically than we have been in for at least a decade, thanks to Peerspace. I am such a huge proponent of the platform and I really hope that you reconsider, my friend!

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Hello, does anyone have recommendations for insurance companies? I’m having trouble finding companies that will cover liability and property insurance.

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I use Hiscox and so far I haven’t had any issues

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@Deacon_T, Thank you for being so explanatory! Helps a lot!

Could you share what model of camera are you using? We’ve been looking into different options but would love to get your insight.

Thank you
Eduard

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Hi Eduard!
I think all cameras are truly amazing these days, but I mostly use a Nikon D850 or a D810.

There are certainly much better real estate photographers than me (my specialty is advertising), but the real trick is to take your photos in the best lighting and even image stack them to make a nice HDR + panoramic image.

It takes me all day to do, but it’s so worth it!

Hi @Deacon_T!

Sorry - I think I didn’t make myself clear - I was asking about security cameras! :slight_smile:

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oh hahahaha my mistake!

I personally use the EZVIZ brand of cameras, as the PC app allows me to view multiple cameras at the same time, but the Wyze cameras are even cheaper (perhaps $25 per camera?)

oh and I should also add to watch your renters’ reactions to the cameras. Mention them in your listing and make sure that they are in highly visible areas (and point them out whenever you can), but a real litmus test is in their reaction.

We had a bad experience with a production team a few weeks back and from the very beginning, they made fun of the cameras, constantly commented on them and most weirdly was this: two women were studying the tv screen where I display 9 of the cameras.

The younger woman says “yeah, but they don’t look very high definition. I can’t really make out anyone’s face, so it wouldn’t be identifiable”.

I have no idea what the reasoning was, but I calmly explained that the TV is just a 1080p and that each of the cameras were 1080p. Te preview is intentionally a little grainier and when we display 9 at a time, you’re only seeing 1/9th of the resolution.

Most people are just fine having them around, but again, make sure you mention them in your listing, point them out (whenever you can) and don’t have ‘hidden’ cameras. Also, no cameras in any bathrooms haha :slight_smile:

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@Deacon_T You are so explanatory and helpful! Thank you for the info. We will keep you posted with our experience with the cameras as soon as we install them!

Thank you
Eduard

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My pleasure, brother!
If you go with the EZVIZ, what I like to do is to hook up my 65" tv as a third monitor to my PC and run EZVIZ studio, which allows me to view all 9 of the EZVIZ cams.

I’m told that Wyze does NOT have this feature, but I bet that the software for the phone is just as convenient.

Another advantage to Wyze is that (I think) the cloud recording is all tied into one monthly payment, whereas you have to pay per camera for the EZVIZ cams.

Another option is to get the Ring cams, which I feel are superior (and you can get battery operated versions) and then finance them to offset the initial investment.

With Ring, all of the cameras’ cloud recordings are on one payment account!

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Hi @Deacon_T!

Super helpful! Thank you again!

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Hi Paul, I have been a photographer for 20+ years, and likewise have not had any real horror stories. Also, I have been renting my space for over 2 years, and have not had any huge problems.

One tip I will throw in here: if your price your space low, you may get more rentals, but you also open yourself up to more potential problems.

My worst problem was my very first Peerspace booking, where I naively trusted the parents to monitor their Sweet 16 party. Ended with underage drinking, police, and pissed off neighbors. So for a while I had a No Teenager policy, but since then I have hosted another 5 such events with no problems.

With the advent of this forum, I got a little spooked by other hosts’ horror stories. Freaked me out a little, and has made me a little more paranoid to be honest. But then, I am coming up on 100 rentals via Peerspace, and we have not had any major problems. Issues are minor annoyances that are just going to happen.

One key to good rentals is evaluating the person who wants to book the space. If I sense something does not feel right, I pass. In the beginning I would let guests go past midnight for parties, but that is when the problems start. So now, we tell them to start winding down just after 11pm, with everyone out of the space by midnight.

I stress what our space is good for, and what it is not. I tell people they can have party music, but we can’t turn the space into a club. We primarily host private events, with friends and family. A guy recently started talking about his 30th birthday party, with sponsors and a VIP area, and I said he would probably be happier somewhere else. I want people to have the party they want, and to know if we are not a fit.

If you really stress your policies and rules, those who plan to comply will continue the conversation, and those who plan to push will generally fall away. A sorority reached out about having an event, and I stressed our rules and suggested we might not be a fit. The woman responded that it was just a gathering to welcome their new pledges, and there would be no boys, and no alcohol. I trusted her, and the event was fine.

While I probably “should”, I don’t require third party insurance that often, nor do I generally collect a deposit. I recommend but don’t insist on a professional bartender. I have 4 security cameras in the space, and they let me monitor what is happening when I am not here, but I do not currently record the entire event. I always greet my guests, walk them through, and even help them set up. I am generally in and out during the event, and meet them here to lock up at the end.

Tonight I have a music release party (done at 11:30pm), and Sunday will be a 40th birthday party (done at 10pm). I want them to have a great experience, and my main concerns are always that they don’t disturb my neighbors, with not too much wear and tear on my space.

Deacon has done a great job dialing in his security and coverage, with lots of tips about challenges to watch out for. With this information, each host can assess their own needs and take proper precautions. Most guests have good intentions, and we just need to filter out the rest.

Happy Bookings everyone!

  • Brad
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While we are on the subject of insurance, I’m curious to hear from more of you.

How interested would you be if Peerspace were to include a property damage coverage option for a small added fee on your bookings?

  • Not interested
  • Very interested
  • It depends

0 voters

As you know, Peerspace already provides a supplemental liability policy for all Peerspace bookings that protect hosts from liability, but we do not offer property damage coverage at this time. I appreciate your feedback!

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Great info, thanks for sharing.

Hi Deacon, I reached out hiscox and they said they dont offer insurance for hosting. What type of insurance did you get?