Insurance Breakdown to Own and Run a Guesthouse or B&B

Give your business an added level of safety from sudden events by investing in the right cover

Managing a guesthouse or B&B comes with unique risks that require specific insurance solutions. You may already know this, but in case you’re not sure exactly what you should have in place when it comes to guesthouse insurance, we’re here to help you.

South Africa is a top global tourism destination. Visitors from all over the world frequently touch down in our beloved Mzansi for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This means that the tourism industry can be a very lucrative one, with accommodation options such as guesthouses and B&Bs playing a crucial role.

Guesthouse and B&B Basics

The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa defines a guesthouse as accommodation in a house, renovated house or a specifically designed building that offers breakfast, as well as other public areas guests can exclusively access. A B&B is similar, but the host either stays in the building or on the property and shares the public facilities/areas (dining area, lounge, etc) with guests. Of course, breakfast is also included in a B&B (you know, bed and breakfast).

In some parts of the country, legislation states that a B&B should have no more than three guest bedrooms, while a guesthouse should have no more than four.

Bed and breakfast or guesthouse insurance

Must-have insurance: Building Contents Insurance

Building Contents Insurance is essential when running a guesthouse as it covers your main buildings, outbuildings and garages in the event of the contents therein being stolen. It also covers contents on your grounds, which includes laundry, garden and pool furniture. Importantly, Building Contents Insurance protects your guests too, as their personal effects are covered in the event of theft.

Theft aside, Building Contents Insurance also comes in handy should you encounter beverage leakage, accidental damage and deterioration of foodstuffs, and covers you for personal legal liability, among other events.

Good to have: Building Insurance

Fallen trees, burst pipes and fire damage to your building can really get in the way of keeping your business going, which is why it's important to protect your guesthouse or B&B. This is where Building Insurance comes in as it covers you for these eventualities and more, such as damage to your building (intentional or accidental) including glass, mirrors and sanitaryware, as well as damage to landscaped gardens and water features, and/or damage to water-pumping machinery. Building Insurance also includes property owner's liability.

Good to have: Business interruption insurance

Business interruption insurance is very useful as it ensures that your business can continue to operate during disruptive circumstances. It will cover you in the event of bilking, ventilation and/or auxiliary power failures, and/or if you have bookings that are cancelled. Business interruption insurance is also helpful should your employees go on strike, assisting you with expenses incurred due to a staff stay-away.

Good to have: Public Liability Insurance

Negative guest reviews can be damaging to your business, which is why Public Liability Insurance is worth having. It can help you manage some unpleasant incidents that may unfold, including damage to a guest's vehicle or damage to a guest's clothing due to dry-cleaning. It also covers food and drink poisoning and product liability.

Optional: Money and Office Contents insurance

The last types of cover to consider are Money insurance and Office Contents insurance, which cover receptacles, locks and keys, and damage to staff clothing, as well as personal effects, respectively.

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Please note that the information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.