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Renters: Understand Your Vacation Rental Cancellation Policy

Vacation rental properties have lots of advantages over traditional hotel-type accommodations, including a lot more space to roam, full kitchens, more privacy, private hot tubs and better overall value for your money. There are also differences in how vacation rental properties are rented, specifically the rental terms and cancellation policies.

Before you commit to a vacation rental, be aware of its rental terms and cancellation policies. Where many hotels allow a 24-hour cancellation unless you’ve prepaid for your nights, many vacation rentals require nonrefundable deposits at time of booking with a very strict cancellation policy.  

At Summit Mountain Rentals, our bookings require a 25% deposit at time of booking and full payment 45 days before arrival. And once payments are made, there are no refunds. Our policies are pretty standard in the Summit County vacation rental industry — and some are even stricter. 

The reason for strict cancellation policies is that property owners count on income from advance bookings. Once a booking for one of their properties is received, the property is removed from the market for those dates, and potential renters look elsewhere. If we accepted last-minute cancellations and refunded the renter, the odds of rebooking a property for those dates are very low — and we wouldn’t be serving our property owners in good faith. 

So, whenever you book a vacation property, make sure you read and understand the cancellation policy before making your reservation. If the terms aren’t clear to you, call the rental agency — they’ll be happy to explain them to you. And if you’re renting through an online booking site like Airbnb or VRBO, be sure to check their payment and cancellation policies, too.

Of course, the best way to protect your vacation is to purchase travel insurance. Typically travel insurance runs about 7 percent or the cost of a booking — or, for a $1,000 stay, about $70. When you think about it, that’s a very small investment to know that if your trip is disrupted due to any unforeseen events, you’ll have the money to take the trip again.

Have any questions about payment and cancellation policies? Post a question in the comments section below.



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