Airbnb ending COVID-related refunds

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Airbnb will no longer refund guests who cancel bookings because of the coronavirus. 

Starting May 31, the San Francisco-based home-share company will be updating its extenuating circumstances policy, according to a note on its website. 

AIRBNB CEO PREDICTS GUESTS WILL STAY 'WEEKS, MONTHS, OR EVEN ENTIRE SEASONS AT A TIME'

It means Airbnb will "no longer cover COVID-19 related circumstances as a reason for a refund for bookings made on or after this date," according to the company. This includes instances where a guest or host becomes sick with the virus.  

A woman browses the site of US home sharing giant Airbnb on a tablet in Berlin on April 28, 2016.  (John Macdougall/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Moving forward, the host’s normal cancellation policy will apply as usual to bookings, Airbnb said.  

The company first implemented the refund policy in early 2020 when the virus brought travel to a standstill. Now, "after consultation with our medical advisors, as well as our community, we feel the time is now right to take the same step," Airbnb said.  

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Even though Airbnb's policy is changing, nearly two-thirds of active Airbnb listings offer a moderate or flexible cancellation policy, giving guests the option to cancel a booking up to five days beforehand, and in some cases up to 24-hours, without facing any fees. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
ABNB AIRBNB INC. 148.76 -4.45 -2.90%

The company also expects to launch travel insurance exclusive to Airbnb users this spring, although an exact date hasn't been announced. 

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Until then, the company urges travelers to get travel insurance outside of Airbnb to help cover things such as trip cancelations, medical expenses, emergency assistance services and lost and damaged baggage. 

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