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How Do You File an Injury Claim on a VRBO Vacation Rental?

on  Personal Injury

If you or a loved one suffered an injury while staying at a VRBO vacation rental, you can rest assured that VRBO requires all hosts to maintain $1 million dollars of liability insurance that provides coverage in the event of an injury. VRBO provides more information about this policy and its terms and conditions on its website

So, if you’re injured while staying at a VRBO vacation rental, it should be easy to collect compensation for your injuries, right? Wrong. Collecting compensation through VRBO hosts’ insurance policies isn’t easy. Insurers will look for any reason to delay or deny your claim. 

Before collecting compensation after an injury at a VRBO vacation rental, you must take specific steps to present a successful claim. This includes gathering evidence, sending a detailed preservation letter and notice of claim as soon as possible, preparing and sending a demand letter to the proper entity, and eventually litigating the claim if it is denied or the offer to settle is too low.

When is VRBO Liable for Injuries?

VRBO may be found liable for injuries sustained by guests at a rental property when those injuries result from dangerous conditions on the property. Property owners have a responsibility to ensure their rental is safe for guests. If they fail to do so, and their negligence leads to an injury, they—and potentially VRBO—can be held liable under certain conditions. 

Here are some scenarios where liability might apply:

  • Defective or Broken Stairs: If stairs are not properly maintained and cause a fall, resulting in injury.
  • Dangerous Swimming Pool Conditions: Includes lack of safety features, improper maintenance, or failure to secure the pool area.
  • Roof Collapses: If the structural integrity of the building is compromised and leads to injuries.
  • Unsafe Flooring: This can include torn carpets, slippery surfaces without warning signs, or other hazardous conditions underfoot.
  • Inadequate Security: If lack of proper security measures leads to a guest’s injury or harm from a third party.

This list is not exhaustive. Many other conditions could lead to injuries, such as exposed wiring, lack of fire safety measures, or toxic mold exposure. The key factor in determining liability is whether the property owner was aware of the dangerous condition and failed to take reasonable steps to fix it or warn guests about the potential danger.

If you suffer an injury under such conditions, document the hazard and your injuries, report the incident to both the property owner and VRBO, and seek immediate medical attention. Following these, consult with a personal injury lawyer familiar with Florida’s laws and VRBO’s policies. At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA., we know premises liability laws and can help you file a claim against VRBO for the harm you suffered. 

Can You Sue VRBO for Injuries?

No, it is unlikely that you can file a lawsuit against VRBO for injuries if you are a United States resident.  VRBO’s terms of service at the time of your booking include a binding arbitration provision. Binding arbitration is different from a lawsuit in court and is less than ideal as decisions are made an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators rather than a jury of your peers. However, in most cases, the negligent host or homeowner is not protected by the arbitration clause in the VRBO’s terms of services, which means that you can still file a lawsuit against them. It is our practice to file a lawsuit directly against the owner, host, and any other entities rather than proceed with arbitration against VRBO for three reasons:

  1. VRBO requires binding arbitration for United States residents, and arbitration is not as favorable as a lawsuit in court;
  2. The property owner and/or Host are more likely to blame for causing the injury than VRBO, as VRBO is merely the booking agent; and,
  3. The property owner and/or Host is still covered by at least $1 million dollars in injury insurance coverage through VRBO’s insurer. More often than not, $1 million dollars is enough to provide compensation. 

However, there are often more potential defendants than just VRBO, the property owner, and the host.  It’s crucial to understand that liability may not be limited to these parties alone; other entities could also be held responsible depending on the specifics of the incident.

When considering legal action, it’s important to note the following:

  • Negligence: To successfully pursue a claim, you must demonstrate that negligence on the part of VRBO, the host, or the property manager contributed to the hazardous condition that caused your injury. This involves showing that they failed to take reasonable care to prevent such conditions or warn guests of potential dangers.
  • Terms and Conditions: VRBO’s user agreement typically includes an arbitration provision. This means that disputes may be required to be resolved through arbitration rather than court litigation, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution where an arbitrator, rather than a judge or jury, makes the final decision.
  • Other Parties: In addition to VRBO, hosts, and property managers, other parties may also bear liability for your injuries. This could include maintenance companies, security service providers, or even third-party contractors responsible for the property’s safety and upkeep.
  • Legal Representation: Due to the complexities involved in proving negligence and navigating VRBO’s terms and conditions, consulting with a personal injury lawyer experienced in such cases is crucial. A premises liability or personal injury lawyer can guide the best course of action, whether proceeding with arbitration, negotiating a settlement, or pursuing litigation.
  • Documentation and Reporting: Should you decide to pursue a claim, documenting the incident, your injuries, and any communications with VRBO or the property owner will be vital. Reporting the injury to both VRBO and the property owner as soon as possible is also essential.

Who Can File a Claim Against VRBO?

Any person who is staying at or visiting the VRBO vacation rental has a right to pursue a claim. It does not matter whether the individual pays for the rental, stays overnight, or is just visiting friends for lunch and is not staying at the property.  Anyone who is invited to the VRBO vacation rental can file a claim.

Steps to Take After Suffering an Injury at a VRBO Vacation Rental

Hiring a personal injury attorney is the best way to collect compensation after an accident. However, even before you call an attorney, there are steps you can take after suffering an injury at a VRBO vacation rental to protect your rights to compensation. 

Seek Medical Treatment

You must seek medical treatment after you suffer an injury at a VRBO vacation rental. This can help you avoid serious medical complications while also establishing a medical record of your injuries for legal claims. 

It is important to document all aspects of the injury and its aftermath, including medical reports, treatment receipts, and any communication with VRBO or the property owner regarding the incident. This documentation forms the basis of your claim and is crucial for accurately assessing the claim’s value. 

The extent of medical treatment needed following an injury at a VRBO vacation rental directly influences the potential value of your personal injury claim. This value not only reflects the immediate medical costs but also encompasses long-term care, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other damages resulting from the injury. The more severe the injury and the more extensive the required medical treatment, the higher the potential compensation.

For instance, an individual who suffers a serious injury necessitating emergency surgery, such as repairing a fractured bone from a fall caused by a defective ramp, represents a case with significant claim value. This scenario involves not just the costs of the surgery but also potential long-term rehabilitation, possible lost earnings if the individual is unable to work during recovery, and the pain and suffering endured throughout the process. Additionally, if the injury leads to chronic conditions or necessitates further medical interventions in the future, these aspects further elevate the claim’s value.

Conversely, a person who experiences less severe injuries, such as bed bug bites from an infestation at the rental, may have a lower value claim. In these cases, the claim might cover the cost of medical treatment for the bites, any allergic reactions, and potentially a refund for the rental stay. However, unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as a severe allergic reaction leading to hospitalization, the overall compensation is likely to be less than that for more grievous injuries.

Gather Evidence

Evidence is what makes or breaks any claim for personal injuries. Immediately after the incident occurs, try to photograph and video the cause of the injury.  Additionally, collect the names of all witnesses, including all the names, phones, and addresses of all individuals who were staying at the VRBO. 

The photographic evidence and the witnesses’ statements will help prove liability. Additionally, you should obtain copies of all your medical records and bills to present to VRBO’s insurance carrier later. You should gather evidence regardless of whether you choose to pursue your case on your own or if you decide to hire an attorney.  The more evidence you collect, the better you and your attorney will be able to maximize the value of your settlement.

If you cannot gather evidence at the time of your injury, don’t worry. Call our law firm, and we’ll do it for you. Our Florida personal injury attorneys know how to find the evidence needed to pursue injury claims against VRBO.

Filing a Claim with VRBO After an Injury Accident

The initial action involves informing VRBO about the incident. This notification can be facilitated through multiple channels:

  • Online Reporting: VRBO provides an online platform where incidents can be reported. This is accessible through their official website, where you’ll find a specific section dedicated to reporting issues related to your stay.
  • Telephone Support: For those who prefer or require immediate assistance, VRBO’s customer support can be reached at 1-877-228-3145. This line is staffed with representatives trained to handle such reports efficiently.

Additionally, it may be more efficient to report the incident directly to VRBO’s insurance carrier:

Generali Global Assistance 
P.O. Box 939057 
San Diego, CA 92193 
Tel: 858-810-2000 

You may report the claim to Generali Global Assistance through either of the following channels:

  • Email: For those who prefer email, Generali can be reached by email at
  • Telephone Support: For those who prefer or require immediate assistance, Generali’s customer support can be reached at 858-810-2000. This line is staffed with representatives trained to handle such reports efficiently.
  • Postage Mail: For those who prefer regular postage mail, you can mail correspondence to Generali Global Assistance at P.O. Box 939057 San Diego, CA 92193.

When reporting the incident, be as detailed as possible while recognizing that you may not have all the information about the accident. Be careful not to hypothesize what you “think” happened. Just give the facts. Here’s what you’ll typically need to provide:

  • Reservation Details: Information about your booking, including the reservation number, dates of stay, and the property address.
  • Injured Party Information: Details about the injured person, including their name, the nature of their injuries, and any medical attention received.
  • Incident Description: A concise yet comprehensive account of what occurred, highlighting how the injury happened, the condition or situation that led to the injury, and any immediate actions taken following the incident.
  • Claim Number: if it has been provided by Generali already

Communicate with the VRBO Insurance Claims Handler

After filing a claim with VRBO, a claims handler from Generali Global Assistance, VRBO’s insurance claim handler, will call you to discuss the incident in further detail. 

The claims handler will likely request that you provide a recorded statement wherein they will ask questions about how the incident occurred, the types of injuries you sustained, the medical expenses you incurred, and your health insurance information. Additionally, the insurance claims adjuster will likely ask for biographical information, including your date of birth, home address, social security number, and employment information.

The claims handler will send medical record authorization forms for you to sign and return. These authorizations permit Generali Global Assistance to access your medical records and bills directly from your healthcare providers, enabling them to assess the medical aspect of your claim comprehensively.

While requesting detailed information is standard, you might have reservations about sharing sensitive personal and medical details. Concerns often arise regarding how this information will be used and whether it could negatively impact your claim.

There’s a legitimate worry that the information provided, especially in a recorded statement, could be misconstrued or used against you to minimize the claim’s value or deny it outright. To minimize this risk, talk to an experienced Florida premises liability attorney at our law firm before beginning the claims process. 

Prepare and Submit a Demand Letter

While it may be possible to resolve the matter directly with the claims representative, it can help provide them with everything they need to evaluate your claim fairly. 

The letter should be sent to “HomeAway Legal: Arbitration Claim Manager” at Expedia, Inc., 1111 Expedia Group Way, Seattle, WA. 98119 or if you’ve already established a claim with Generali Global Assistance you will want to send the demand letter directly to them.

Drafting a demand letter and putting together a thorough demand package is not very straightforward.  A demand letter summarizes:

  1. How the incident occurred
  2. The address where the incident occurred
  3. Why VRBO and/or the host is responsible
  4. What medical injuries and treatment have you endured
  5. How much are your medical expenses 
  6. What health insurance liens do you have
  7. How much are your past and future lost wages
  8. Supporting wage lost documentation (i.e., pay stubs and tax returns)
  9. Summarize any pain and suffering you have endured or will continue to live with
  10. Demands a settlement figure

Many other items can and should be included in the demand letter, but it is difficult to determine what should be included without a complete understanding of the specific case. Sometimes, the most challenging part of preparing a demand letter is figuring out exactly how much money to demand. 

Once you have determined the demand figure (how much money you are asking to settle the claim), you must specifically request the number and give the insurance company a deadline to respond to your letter.  A general rule of thumb is that thirty days is sufficient time. If you are uncertain how to draft a demand letter correctly, contacting an attorney with experience handling claims against VRBO is best. 

Most injured accident victims make mistakes when trying to handle their VRBO injury claims on their own. An experienced personal injury attorney will handle all the leg work while working to maximize the value of your claim.

Negotiate a Settlement with VRBO

The demand letter should provide VRBO’s insurance company with all the insurance they need to make you a fair and reasonable settlement offer. However, it is very likely that the insurance company will not agree to the number you demanded and will either present a much smaller number or outright deny liability. When the insurance company denies liability, they are stating that they are not responsible for paying for your damages because VRBO or any other insured party did not do anything wrong. If the number is too small, you can always try to negotiate the number with the claims adjuster and try to reach a fair number.

If your claim is denied or the insurance company refuses to make an acceptable settlement offer, you may need to demand arbitration or file a lawsuit to obtain a fair recovery. When this occurs, hiring a lawyer to get the job done correctly is almost always in your best interests. Although it may be in your best interests to contact an attorney immediately following the incident so that this whole process can be handled by a professional. 

Seek an Experienced VRBO Injury Lawyer

Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA has years of experience when it comes to handling VRBO claims and ensuring that our clients receive the compensation that they need in order to pay off their medical expenses, lost wages, etc. If you or a loved one suffered an injury while visiting or staying at a VRBO property, call (305) 694-2676 for a free consultation with Prosper Shaked.