The Boondockers Welcome Protection Program (BWPP) provides liability coverage for up to US$1,000,000 per occurrence in the event of a third party claim for bodily injury or property damage related to a Boondockers Welcome stay that is not covered by your Home Insurance Policy that you, as a Boondockers Welcome Host, must hold. (This coverage is subject to an overall aggregate cap, and certain conditions, limitations, and exclusions may apply.)
The coverage of the program is available to our hosts globally, so no matter if you're in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, or even China, you can be a host and rest assured that you're protected when guests stay through Boondockers Welcome.
What's Covered By The Program
This BWPP is liability coverage, meaning that it covers your legal responsibility for bodily injury or property damage for guests or other 3rd parties involved. It only covers stays arranged through the Boondockers Welcome platform, and only for the duration of the stay as arranged.
What Hosts Need To Do To Be Covered
Our hosts don't need to do anything special to be enrolled in this protection program, all stays arranged through Boondockers Welcome will automatically be covered. However, because having home owner insurance is a requirement to be protected, hosts must confirm that they have a home insurance policy with general liability coverage. We ask that hosts complete this quick confirmation by February 15th, 2021 so that we can ensure the BWPP can cover all our hosts.
Who's Paying For This Coverage
Boondockers Welcome pays for this coverage, on a per-night basis based on confirmed stays. For this reason, it's imperative that both hosts and guests ensure that stays are confirmed or canceled appropriately, and in a timely manner. (A reminder that a host is never penalized for canceling a stay, so if a guest lets you know via phone or another method that they are unable to make it, please feel free to cancel the stay on their behalf!)
How This Will Change Stays for Hosts and Guests
For the most part, nothing will change for stays arranged through Boondockers Welcome. However, in conjunction with the introduction of this coverage, and after reviewing the results of our Host Survey that we sent out at the end of 2020, we've added one new restriction to the stay request process:
Guests are now limited to a maximum of 5 nights in a 90-day window with the same host.
For example, if a guest has a 5-night stay with a host arranged, any subsequent requests must have a start date of at least 90 days after the start of the previous stay.
Guests can, however, spread those 5 nights out across multiple stays in the 90-day window. So if you're hoping to stay with the same host both on the way to and from a destination, you can still do so easily as long as the total nights across both stays doesn't exceed five. You can read more about this new restriction as well as general stay rules here.
Why We're Making These Changes
The simple answer is "so we don't go broke". We're happy to use the subscription fees paid by our guests to extend this coverage to our hosts. However, we can't assume the legal and financial liability of paying for coverage for guests who stay for longer than a short visit with our hosts.
In addition, we never want our hosts to become "campgrounds". Our hosts should never feel put-upon by guests who ask to extend their stay past the limits the host indicates in their profile. We hope that this new rule will reduce some of the issues we've heard of with guests who overstay their welcome.
Hosts Are Still In Charge Of Their Own Property
We'd like to emphasize that even with the new restrictions on guest stays with the same host, that hosts are of course still the ultimate decision-makers on who can stay on their property and for how long. We know that many of our hosts become fast friends with their guests and want to invite them to stay for longer than the site maximum. Hosts are still absolutely able to do that, and we love hearing stories of guests and hosts who become like family. However, any stays beyond our limits will have to be arranged outside the Boondockers Welcome platform, and will not be covered by the Boondockers Welcome Protection Program.
How We're Making Things Easier For Hosts
We know that with these changes, hosts may more frequently want to block off their availability for a spot if a guest they met through the site is staying beyond the platform's limits. Some of our hosts may have multiple spots to offer and want to list one as unavailable and keep the others open to BW guests. To that end, we've improved our host availability calendar interface to make this process substantially easier, and you can now block off only a subset of your spots if you offer more than one.
Your availability calendar can now be both viewed and edited on your hosting dashboard, where your unavailable dates will be shown together with stay requests from guests, so you can have a complete picture.
We know that change is always difficult. Many of our hosts and guests love our system and hate the idea of adding more rules or restrictions. However, we're hopeful that these changes will result in a better experience for everyone: liability protection for our current hosts, less awkward conversations with guests who want to overstay their welcome, and hopefully more hosts happy to join, knowing they're covered in case the unthinkable happens, making for a bigger community for our guests.
It's always a journey, and we're happy to keep traveling it with all of you!