Airbnb has updated its refunds policy for when holidaymakers or hosts want to cancel a booking because of intense weather or a change in travel advice

Airbnb is making some big changes to its policy(Getty Images)

Airbnb is making a big change to its refund policy in a move that’s sure to be a boost for holidaymakers.

Currently, the holiday homes platform offers an ‘Extenuating Circumstances Policy’ which offers you free cancellation and refunds if there’s an unexpected event at your destination such as a natural disaster or if a government introduces travel restrictions that hinder your trip.

However, the site is now switching to a ‘Major Disruptive Events’ policy which will still offer the above, but will also include ‘foreseeable weather events’. For example, if a hurricane hits a destination during hurricane season, you could get a refund if there’s a change in travel advice or local restrictions are brought in on utilities/there are outages.

Airbnb says that the update “means guests with eligible reservations can cancel and receive a refund and Hosts can cancel without fees and related consequences”.

Airbnb is making a change to its refunds policy (AFP via Getty Images)

It means that if your booking is impacted and falls under the policy, you’ll be able to cancel any upcoming trips and even trips you’re currently on, and receive a refund no matter that the Airbnb host’s booking cancellation policy was. However it works both ways; hosts can also cancel bookings without fees “and other related consequences”.

Essentially that means that if you’re staying at an Airbnb and the booking is cancelled midway through your stay, you’ll receive a refund for any nights you didn’t stay, while the host won’t face any extra fees.

A statement from Airbnb explains: “As an example, if a hurricane were to impact Florida during hurricane season and this led to a mandatory evacuation order, under the old policy affected bookings for this destination would not be eligible for a refund. With this update, in these same circumstances, guests with affected bookings do qualify for a refund.” You can find out more on the Airbnb website.

Of course if you’re cancelling an Airbnb stay because of a change in advice or due to intense weather, chances are you’re going to also need to get in touch with your airline to cancel your flights. If an airline cancels your flight, you’re entitled to a full refund. You may be offered vouchers or the option to rebook to a later date, but you can choose the refund if that’s your preferred option.

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