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Why do you need holiday home insurance?
Owning a holiday home or second home can be a dream come true for many people. As holiday homes are empty or unoccupied for longer periods than your primary residence, you should make sure you have appropriate insurance in place.
The risks to a holiday home are the same as for an ordinary house. You need insurance against theft or damage. If you are not on the premises for large periods of time, the risk of minor damage becoming severe is greater. For example, a minor leak which would be spotted immediately in your home could cause a lot of damage if left unchecked while the property is empty.
If you rent or let out your holiday home, you could also be liable for further costs if someone is injured on the premises.
What type of property does holiday home insurance cover?
Similar to standard house insurance, the cover is available on a range of holiday property types.
- Holiday cottages
- Flats or apartments
- Static caravans
What cover do I need for my holiday home?
Your insurance policy should have enough coverage to rebuild your holiday home from scratch if necessary. If your second home is damaged by fire or flood, building insurance should cover the costs. Be aware that the rebuild value might not necessarily be the same as the market value of the property.
If your holiday home has a mortgage, the mortgage valuation should give you a figure for rebuilding costs. Another way to establish the amount of cover needed for a rebuild is to appoint a chartered surveyor to calculate costs for your home.
Just like in your main home, holiday homes are often furnished and contain personal items. If your holiday home is burgled, the cost of replacing everything can be huge. Damage by fire or flood is also a risk, and the amount of contents coverage should include the cost of replacing items like carpets, curtains and furniture.
As holiday homes are often empty for extended periods, the risk of theft from a property can be high. Some policies may exclude high-value items like jewellery, electronics or laptops, or place an individual item limit to the amount you can claim. If you do have any particularly high-value items kept in your second home, check that your policy covers you.
Public liability cover
If you rent out your holiday home, you might need additional insurance coverage to protect you. Whether it’s to friends or members of the public, if someone is injured on your premises, you could be liable. For example, if someone trips on a loose carpet on the stairs and hurts themselves, they could bring a claim for compensation or damages against you as the owner.
To protect yourself against claims, public liability insurance will cover any legal fees or compensation arising from a claim against you.
What countries are covered?
The cover is available in most European countries. Most insurers are able to cover properties in France, Italy, Spain or Portugal as popular destinations for second homes.
If your holiday home is in a country prone to natural disasters, you may find it more difficult to get cover. For example, homes in an earthquake-prone zone, or where there is a high chance of extreme weather.
How to save money on holiday home insurance?
As with standard home insurance policies, there are a number of steps you can take to try and reduce the cost of holiday home insurance. The lower the risks at your property, the lower the cost of the premium.
- If your property is empty for a lot of the year, make sure you have adequate security measures in place to protect against theft.
- This could include CCTV, security lighting, window locks, and security gates.
- Fit an alarm to your property.
- Make sure your second home is kept in a good state of repair. If you’re not able to regularly inspect for damage, consider using an agent to help keep an eye on things.
- Make sure all pipes and tanks are insulated, to lower the risk of flooding or burst pipes during cold weather.
- Try to compare a range of quotes from different insurance providers.
- Consider raising the excess on your policy. This is the amount you will pay upfront in the event of a claim.
What is accidental damage cover?
Holiday homes are often left empty for longer than primary residences. Accidental damage cover can cover costs in the event of things like burst pipes. If you let your property, the accidental damage insurance will also cover for damage caused by guests. For example, replacing carpets if they are stained, or broken furniture or fixtures and fittings.
Can I get cover for my holiday home abroad?
The location of properties covered will vary by insurer. If you have a holiday home abroad, it is worth getting quotes from a range of insurers, as risks and costs may vary depending on which country your second home is in.
How much should I insure my holiday home for?
When working out how much cover you need, you should take into account the cost of rebuilding your holiday home, as well as replacing all the contents. The figure can be higher than you think. You need to take into account things like fixtures and fittings, as well as furniture and personal effects.
Do I need employer’s liability cover for my holiday home?
If you employ anyone to maintain your holiday home, then it might be worth having an employer’s liability cover in place. For example, if you employ a cleaner to clean the property between rentals, or a handyman to undertake regular maintenance. In the event that someone is injured while working on your holiday home, the
I let out my holiday cottage. Do I need separate insurance for private use too?
The risks you are exposed to if you offer your second home for rent are different from those of personal use. If you offer your holiday home for commercial letting, you should contact your insurer to make sure your policy covers your needs. You might need to add additional cover for public liability.