Airbnb Is Saying 'No Refunds' to Guests with Florida Reservations Due To Company's Hurricane Policy Hurricanes are not included in the company's "extenuating circumstances policy."

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Win McNamee | Getty Images
Cleanup in Matlacha, Florida on October 5, 2022.

Airbnb will not issue blanket refunds to guests who had reservations in hurricane-torn Florida, according to Insider.

The vacation rental company's "extenuating circumstances policy" allows people to cancel and obtain a refund for events it deems to not have been foreseeable.

Hurricanes in Florida are not included.

The policy does not cover things that are "common enough to be foreseeable in that location—for example, hurricanes occurring during hurricane season in Florida," the company writes.

The bar is still pretty high for what constitutes an unexpected event, especially for weather.

The company says those are: war, surprise changes to government travel restrictions, declared pandemics, and "natural disasters, acts of God, large-scale outages of essential utilities, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and other severe and abnormal weather events."

Hurricane Ian hit Florida last week and devastated the state's west coast. The death count, so far, is 109. The tragic event has left guests with reservations in the state in the lurch, Bloomberg reported, and hosts just trying to get a roof over their heads.

Because Airbnb does not issue blanket refunds for this type of situation, it was up to each host to issue a refund (or not). This inspired a debate on social media, particularly on Airbnb Reddit, Insider noted.

"We are going to fight tooth and nail to get our money back. It is not like we are canceling due to a threat of a hurricane in the area, we are wanting our money back because the area no longer exists," said one user who claimed to have a reservation in Fort Myers.

A verified host in the thread advised guests looking to try and get money out of the company and leave area hosts alone. "I am a host going through this situation," they wrote, saying they don't have cellphone reception or a place to sleep.

"I had a few people send me a bunch of messages and it just felt like sh-- they were just concerned with getting their money while I'm trying to fix the literal roof over my head," the host added.

Typically, the company would ding hosts for canceling a reservation, but Airbnb confirmed to Entrepreneur that hosts in Florida in this situation were allowed to cancel without facing a fee.

It added Airbnb offers its own travel insurance now. The product launched this summer and in the US covers delays due to "adverse weather."

Airbnb hosts in Florida generated $1.2 billion in income in the state in 2019.

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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