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Holiday homes or second homes are a wonderful thing to own. They allow you to take a break whenever you feel like it, are something to let friends or family use, or even as a way to make a second income through renting. As most holiday homes are usually left unused for prolonged periods of time, standard house insurance will not cover it. Instead, you will need to get a specific holiday home insurance policy.
Cover is available for the UK and many popular holiday destinations abroad for holiday homes, apartments, flats, chalets, caravans and cottages.
When a building is unoccupied for months at a time it is more at risk of damage, vandalism and theft. For example, if a water pipe bursts and the house has been left unchecked over winter, it will cause considerable damage to your property. Or if the property is damaged due to severe weather conditions, the longer it is left unnoticed the worse the effect will be.
Renting out your holiday home also comes with its own pitfalls. Tenants typically do not take as much care when in a rental property as the owners would, with the contents being particularly at risk of damage.
In an ideal world, you will have comprehensive buildings and contents insurance. This offers you the most protection, however it can also be quite costly. That is why we have broken down the features of both in some detail below, so you can make sure your policy only contains things you really need otherwise you are paying a higher premium for nothing.
This is essential, and covers the structure of your property including the roof, and any permanent fixtures and fittings including baths and fitted kitchens. Second homes which are still under mortgage must have appropriate levels of building insurance, which your mortgage provider will insist upon. Rebuilding a house is never cheap, and even if you do own it outright this is still an important piece of insurance to consider.
Your buildings insurance policy should be enough to cover an entire rebuild of your home, including any other buildings on your land such as swimming pools or garages. Remember, the cost of a rebuild is not the same as the market value, so it is wise to get a surveyor round to give you an estimate which you can then take to your potential insurance provider. Newer mortgages should already include an estimated rebuilding cost.
Some policies have an option for ‘unlimited cover’ if it proves too time consuming to generate a realistic estimate, however this is likely to be more expensive as it offers such broad cover. Check whether your policy keeps the rebuild costs in line with inflation, otherwise you could end up finding yourself underinsured. If they don’t then make sure that the figure is regularly checked and updated so you don’t end up having to foot the excess on the repair bill yourself.
Although it is not compulsory, we would strongly advise taking out a contents insurance policy. Even if you do not think your holiday home contains many valuables, the cost of actually replacing the contents might surprise you. Once you take into account the furniture, crockery, furnishings and garden, the cost will start to increase dramatically.
Whether or not you let your property out, it is a good idea to do an inventory of the contents. Where possible, avoid leaving high value items in your holiday home when it is left unused or if you let it to tenants. Sometimes insurers will place a limit on the value of any single item and may even exclude certain valuable items from the policy, particularly when it is being let.
Below is a list of some of the main things to consider when searching for your holiday home insurance policy:
Your holiday home could be an hour’s drive away, or it could be on the Portuguese coast; the further your home is the less often you are likely to visit, which can easily mean the house being unoccupied for several months at a time. We have a few tips below to help keep your holiday home in good shape, and deter unwanted visitors!
Fill out our simple holiday insurance contact form to find which of our partners has the right policy for you!