Most of the owners I speak to have high praise for Airbnb, and I would have agreed until last summer opened my eyes to the pitfalls of their system and made me wonder how many people are aware of this.
Even if you have a ‘Strict' no refunds policy, Airbnb can refund clients under their 'force majeure' clause (i.e. valid extenuating circumstance) in their terms and conditions, resulting in the guest receiving a refund and the unfortunate owner being charged (without consultation) and ending up with an empty house and no rent.
This actually happened to me last summer, and I still have a dispute with Airbnb (not that you can actually have a dispute, it's like dealing with ‘computer says no'), and when I read this article I realised I was not alone.
UK tour operators ask their clients to verify that they have travel insurance before the booking is complete, and in this article someone suggests another alternative.
I have always recommended the all clients have travel insurance to cover them in the event of cancellation/curtailment for a valid reason, and now I am going to insist. It's not perfect, but at least it's something.