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…
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