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Host families and home insurance

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  • #1427

    Hello fellow IPSEA members,

    We state in our Homestay Program Agreement, “All homestay families should advise their Homeowners Insurance Companies that they will be taking in a student for the homestay period”. A host family has had $27,000 worth of jewelry go missing. They do not suspect the student at all. They have been told by their insurance company that they are not covered for mysterious loss because they have a student living in their home. If there had been obvious signs of beak and enter (there weren’t) they would have been covered and they have further been told, that once the student leaves their home, their policy will include mysterious loss again. Has anyone ever encountered anything like this?

    We have subsequently found out that some insurance companies will not cover homes at all if there are international students living there and some seem to have these types of “rules” surrounding international students. Any information or experience with anything like this that you can share would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Amy Shoup, MBA
    Manager, International Education
    School District No. 48 (Sea to Sky)
    PO Box 250
    Squamish, BC, CANADA
    V8B 0A2
    Phone: 604.892.5228


    Hi Kathren,

    I have spent some time inquiring about home/ rental insurance regarding home stay families and hosting international students that may be helpful to the community.

    We had three break and enters in 2015 where home stay families items were stolen along with the students items.
    At first I thought the all the host families items and students items would be covered under the host families home or renters insurance.
    However after speaking to approximately six different insurance companies in the North Shore I found out that :

    Some home or renters insurances are void when hosting a international student, some companies require the home owner or tenant to add the student to the insurance and some do not (only one of our host families formally adds the student to the home insurance) and their are dozens of different insurance provides with different rules
    I was told all home or renters insurance products are “void” if the host family is hosting more then two students (which I do advise our host families to look into before accepting a third student, along with provinical guidelines, bi-law etc)
    Student items will never be covered under hosts home or renters insurance because they are not considered a family member but “boarders” there are no home or renters insurance products that cover students items stolen from the home stay. The student should have belongings insurance from the home country
    Our home stay agreement states “Host Families must carry full personal liability insurance of not less than 2 million dollars” (from Harris and Co). My understand this liability insurance is through either home or renters insurance and pertains to personal injury of someone on the home stay property and has nothing to do with anyones actual belongings. My understanding is that Guard Me also has third party liability coverage (if the student accidentally hurts someone within the home stay) I.e dropping a item by accident that injures a family member.

    I hope this helps to clarify.


    Amanda Burkholder
    Homestay Manager
    International Programs
    T 604 981 1159 C 604 341 0515


    Hi Amy,

    In Kelowna, most of the insurance companies charge 30% on average when you have international students. I know that they have to specify if they have one or more students living at home.

    I have the experience of one of my host families which had two students in their home. They went some days away fro Xmas time and had a flood. When they returned some of the belongings of the students were damaged. The insurance co. did not cover those, arguing that they did not informed them that there had more than one student in their home.

    Hope it helps,


    Sent from my iPhone


    From: Sally Stacey
    Subject: RE: SD#48 (Sea to Sky) requesting IPSEA member comments regarding Host families Home Insurance and denied coverage because of international student
    Date: 2 March, 2016 7:03:12 PM PST

    From our homestay provider:

    The challenge with insurance for host families is that homestay students are not tenants and not family members or guests so they do fall into a grey area that is not covered by some insurance companies. That is why we let our hosts know in our guidelines that they must have insurance coverage for liability issues in the home. Upon inquiring with their providers, hosts who discover that they are not covered do have to change to other providers or assume the risk of no coverage so that is why they are cautioned to check with their providers. If not, consequences can be serious! We do not try to keep lists of or provide hosts with the names of insurance companies that do cover homestay situations as we do not want to be seen to endorse any particular company. Since insurance companies also do not cover the student’s belongings should something happen in the home, that is why we let the students know that they are responsible for purchasing their own coverage. FYI, many years back our Homestay Coordinators’ Association did try to work with an insurance provider who was willing to provide insurance coverage for students but it was extremely complicated and would have been expensive and onerous for homestay companies to administer (we would have to provide student names, homestay move-in and move-out dates, and collect money from students and make payments to the company), so agreed that it was not a practical solution.

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