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Guest house insurance

If you run a guest house or B&B, chances are you’re rushed off your feet looking after customers all day. So, it’s important to get the right cover for your business and property, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 21 December 2021  | 4 mins read

Guest house insurance can include cover for damage to your property, to your customers’ belongings, or even a guest sustaining an injury on your premises, which could result in being sued.

In a worst-case scenario, you might have to pay out thousands of pounds in compensation which could force you out of business.

Your normal home insurance isn’t enough to cover you and your premises when you run a B&B.

You’ll need a specialist business policy tailored to protecting you from losing out financially and that helps you to continue to trade and welcome guests if any mishaps occur.

Key points

  • Standard home insurance won’t provide enough cover for a guest house or B&B
  • Public liability insurance is a vital part of any guest house insurance policy. It provides protection if a guest gets injured during their stay
  • Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement if you have employees in your business

What is guest house and B&B insurance?

Standard home insurance policies won’t provide enough cover if you’re running a business from your property.

You’ll need specialist insurance which can protect you from some of the risks involved in operating a B&B.

Guest house insurance is designed to cover everything from damage to your property by guests, to loss of business stock (such as breakfast foods).

Vitally, it should also provide liability cover if a paying guest is injured while staying with you.

What does guest house insurance usually cover?

Guest house insurance policies can be tailored to suit your exact business needs and circumstances.

Many policies will include the following as standard:

Liability insurance

Public liability insurance

If a guest trips over a rug in your B&B, slips in the shower and breaks a wrist, or you spill a hot cup of tea over them, you may be sued for compensation. Liability insurance usually offers cover from £1m to £5m as standard and is an essential part of guest house insurance.

Product liability insurance

This covers you for claims from guests due to faulty products or meals you’ve served that cause food poisoning, for example.

Employers liability insurance

If you employ anyone at your premises, a chef or cleaner for example, then you’re legally required to have this insurance. It gives you protection against injuries to employees.

Buildings Insurance

If you own your guesthouse, then you’ll need buildings insurance to cover damage from destructive events such as fire, storms, flooding and subsidence. It covers the actual fabric of your premises and permanent fixtures like your bathrooms and kitchen.

Business and personal contents

Business contents will cover everything on the premises that your guests may use during their stay; things like the bedroom furniture and furnishings.

You’ll need personal contents cover for your own belongings if you live on the premises. Some insurers will cover your personal and business contents separately, but others will cover them together under the same section.

Cover for guests’ belongings

If any of your guests’ personal possessions, such as luggage or laptops, are lost or damaged at your B&B you'll be covered up to a certain amount specified in your policy.

What additional cover do I need for my B&B or guest house insurance?

There are lots of optional extras which can give you additional protection, including:

Business interruption insurance

If you completely close (or partially close) your guest house due to an insured event, such as a flood on your premises, then this insurance can cover the income you would lose while repairs are underway, for a certain period.

Stock and freezer and food contents cover

This will help you replace stock that is stolen, damaged or destroyed. If refrigeration units break down or the electricity supply fails, freezer cover will pay out for replacement frozen or chilled stock.

Theft of takings insurance

This will cover your business takings against theft including any cash you keep on the premises.

How much does guest house insurance cost?

Like most insurance policies, the cost of guest house insurance will depend on many things including the level of cover and which add-ons you choose.

Your personal claims history will be considered, as well as how long you’ve been running your B&B.

Other factors affecting the cost will be where your guest house is located, how many rooms you have, if you employ staff, and whether you serve alcohol.

Does it matter if I live in my B&B?

Even if you live in the property where you run your B&B business, you’ll still need specialist insurance to protect you, especially against damages and liability claims.

A normal household insurance policy isn’t enough to cover you for the risks of running a hospitality business from your home.

What about Airbnbs?

If you’re letting out a room, annex or entire property on Airbnb or a similar platform, you’ll likely need specialist business insurance. Find out more about host and holiday-let insurance.

What else do I need to consider?

If you run a licensed guest house, selling alcohol to guests is likely to be a profitable part of your business. Loss of licence insurance is an add-on that can cover your business losses should your licence be withdrawn due to circumstances outside of your control.