CBIZ INNKEEPERS INSURANCE BLOG

Insights and tips on how to protect your inn or bed & breakfast, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Hayden Ward
/ Categories: BLOG Articles

11 Mitigation Tips for Your Bed & Breakfast

Bed and breakfast mitigation tips

Bed and breakfasts are the cherry on top to the hospitality world. Their guests are looking for not only a place to rest their head after traveling, but they are also in search of a unique and local experience. When hosting a variety of travelers and managing an inn, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks that come from opening your residence to guests.

Keep in mind the following tips to help mitigate potential risks:

1. Acquire the correct insurance

Correct insurance is key to reducing the risks.

With business related activities, such as running a bed and breakfast, your coverage needs to increase because there are significant risks involved. As a bed & breakfast owner, you have to manage numerous exposures related to lodging as well as amenities—including pools, exercise facilities, bars and restaurants—that can dramatically increase the number of insurable risks. Having employees, serving liquor, and handling food means your insurance needs to be a comprehensive commercial policy in order to cover the various services you provide. Not to mention the risks associated with hosting weddings and other events, you will want your business to be covered.

Having the correct policy will be one of the most important pieces to your business. It will also bring you peace of mind.

2. Complete a safety inspection

Safety inspections can help bed and breakfast owners address risks before they balloon into bigger issues. Prior to listing and to advertising your property, complete a thorough inspection and address all of the safety hazards you identify. If you notice something is broken or needs repair, keep a running to-do list and try to mark it off as soon as possible. Being alert and on constant lookout for safety hazards will help mitigate any potential risks that could come your way.

To help lessen the burden that comes with conducting a safety inspection, click here for a list of common risk exposures!

3. Screen all employees and guests

In preparation to a guest booking, as a safety precaution check their background to ensure that prospective guests are verified through your listing site. You can also review any connected social media accounts and read guest references through the site. Above all, trust your instincts. 

With a recent spike in phishing scams, be extra careful when accepting guests and providing information. Click here to learn how you can spot a phishing attempt.

Don’t forget an important piece in the puzzle … make sure to screen your employees! Background checks and references should be conducted before hiring. Though most of us like to believe the best in people, employee theft can happen at your property. It’s extremely important to have a policy that covers guest property coverage to protect guests’ properties from theft by employees, other guests, or trespassers.

4. Add a security deposit

Adding a security deposit to your listings can lessen the financial blow in the event of damaged property or another incident. 

5. Secure your valuables and your guests’ valuables

When you open your bed and breakfast to guests, the potential arises that valuables could be damaged or stolen. Always take photos of big ticket items and save their receipts. Antiques and one-of-a-kind pieces help create the charm that your place offers. If you are worried about guests accidentally hitting something or removing a piece for a take home gift, use little sticky pads to hold them down.

To go the extra mile for your guests, provide a lockbox in their room for their valuables. If your guests need to check out but would still like to explore the surrounding area more, provide a secure room or a safe for them to place their belongings.

Don’t forget that any guests’ touched locks on the premises should be re-keyed after guest checkout to prevent unauthorized access.

6. Protect sensitive information

Your property isn't the only thing you need to worry about when hosting guests. To help prevent identity theft, make sure guests cannot gain access to any files (physical or electronic) containing sensitive personal information. 

Any valuable business paperwork like mortgage papers, bills, or employee information should be kept in a lockbox or stored on a secure database. Guests could easily wander into your office by accident!

7. Keep important equipment up to date

Any electrical wiring, plumbing, cooling and heating systems must be updated to current code. If there is commercial cooking, the kitchen should also be upgraded. Safety equipment, like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, should be installed around the premises to protect guests and your property. Smoking and the use of candles in guests' rooms should be prohibited due to being fire hazards. Smoke alarms should be hardwired in every guest room and common area throughout the bed and breakfast. Emergency exits should be correctly labeled as well.

8. Keep your accommodations maintained 

Good housekeeping can help guests avoid common injuries such as slips and falls. Prior to each stay, examine your bed and breakfast for any new housekeeping issues that need addressing as well as conduct a post-stay inspection after every guest. Make sure you and your housekeeping crew are adhering to the CDC guidelines on cleaning.

9. Provide contact information

Though there should always be an innkeeper on the premises, it is never a bad idea to provide extra contact information. Your employees will need to be able to reach you if anything happens.

Always supply your guests with information sheets that indicate local emergency numbers and the nearest hospital. Provide a clear emergency contact number for yourself as well as backup for easy guest reference. Also make clear how you should be contacted if the guest has questions or issues arise. 

10. Supply a first-aid kit

In addition to providing emergency contact information, having a first aid kit readily available and fully stocked at all times is important to guest and employee safety. In a matter of seconds, an employee could be cut by a knife while preparing food or a guest could receive an open wound from falling. It’s best to be over prepared than underprepared in these situations.

Even consider taking your employees through Red Cross CPR training to gain extra experience.

11. Verify compliance with regulations

Regulations around Airbnb, VRBO, or bed and breakfast hosting differ depending on your location and the type of accommodation you are renting. Double-check you are compliant with local and state laws before using online listing platforms.


Taking the time to ensure your guests and your property are safe is the most important factor in running a bed and breakfast. Our hope at CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance is to provide your property with coverage that gives you peace of mind as you welcome guests into your charming inn. The unexpected is what and why we are here. Speak with one of our CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance experts or request a consultation!

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., is the largest insurer of innkeeper businesses in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we developed a specific policy coverage to meet the needs for inns and bed & breakfasts, and the amenities offered by these businesses. Our policy is underwritten by an A.M. Best Rated A++ (Superior) company.

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