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How to Handle Hotel Insurance Claims Caused by Unruly Guests

Keith Moon, the wild-man drummer for The Who, may be the most notorious hotel guest of all-time. In 1967, he caused more than $20,000 in damages to a Michigan Holiday Inn before disrobing and driving through a fence and into a pool. Although hotel insurance claims rarely reach this level, there are steps you should take to protect your property before unruly guests like rock stars check-in.

What to Do About Guests Gone Wild

So, a guest has just checked out and your staff lets you know they've left an expensive mess in their wake. What do you do?
Do you bill charges to their credit card? Do you contact them to seek restitution? Or is your first call to your insurance provider to find out how to pursue hotel insurance claims?
If you have enrolled in certain types of hospitality industry insurance, your best bet may be to first discuss options with an experienced claims handler.

Types of Business Insurance for the Hospitality Industry

Since you never know what kind of trouble your guests may get into, you should take precautions, like enrolling in insurance. There are three common types of coverage that can protect you when out-of-control guests visit:

1. Business Property Insurance — This coverage helps you repair hotel property resulting from an incident caused by a guest. It can reimburse you for losses, such as broken televisions and destroyed mattresses. For example, business property insurance could protect you if a musician sets fire to a room after falling asleep with a lit cigarette in their hand.

2. Business Liability Insurance — This insurance can cover an incident on your grounds that causes injury to a guest or visitor, or damage to their property. If a rock star did cause a fire at your hotel, this type of coverage could limit losses related to other guests' smoke inhalation.

3. Business Personal Property Insurance — This type of insurance can help you replace stolen or vandalized hotel property, such as furniture. For example, if a guest walks off with expensive art, business personal property insurance can reimburse your losses.

Tips to Avoid Hotel Insurance Claims Headaches

Hotel security is critical; owners and managers want to provide safe and secure accommodations combined with excellent customer service. Don’t let unruly guests get in the way of that. Cintas made note of a few strategies you can use to prepare to keep your hotel safe:

  • Make Security Your Priority: Employees should be checking IDs every time someone asks for a replacement room key. Station security personnel at your property’s entrances during off-hours to both greet guests and turn away those who aren’t staying there. Verify the identities of vendors that walk onto your property. Your staff should be on the lookout for suspicious behavior and other safety issues at all times.
  • Engage With All Guests: A friendly, courteous staff that gets to know each guest is another way to minimize problems. This hands-on approach can help you spot issues — like drug use — that should be addressed.
  • Monitor Your Hotel: Closed-circuit television cameras are a must for a hotel today. But, if no one is checking the footage, they are as good as useless. If necessary, you could hire a third-party company to monitor activity or use activity-activated cameras.
    Whether you are hosting rock stars or just unruly guests, you can help avoid hotel insurance claims by remaining constantly vigilant.