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What is holiday home insurance?

A holiday home is a property that you own but don’t live in full-time. You might visit each weekend, or just during school holidays, or only occasionally for a summer break. Insuring the property with holiday home insurance can protect it from things like damage, fire, and theft, whether this happens while you are there, or when the property is empty.

If you let your holiday home you will also need to consider public liability insurance, which protects you in the event of a paying guest having an accident or injury while staying in your property. 

Find out more about holiday let insurance

Why should I take out holiday home insurance?

Your holiday home is different from your primary home. If you have secured a dream property for your holidays each year, you will want to protect it for many holidays to come. You might worry about the safety of the property if it is empty in a remote location most of the time. Holiday home insurance will give you peace of mind for this. 

Perhaps your property is in a coastal location, or near a river. Both of these locations may mean you need specialist insurance in the event of storm damage or flooding.

Some holiday properties are built from unique or unusual materials or are of historic or architectural significance. This may mean that you need a specialist insurer to cover your holiday property, rather than a standard policy.

If your holiday home is empty or unoccupied for long periods of time then you may need to investigate a specialist policy for second homes or unoccupied homes.

Find out about second home and unoccupied home insurance policies with Uswitch

Can I insure a holiday property in another country?

If your property is abroad, you may think you can only insure the property through an insurer based in that country. You can choose to do that, however there may be language barriers and those policies may be more difficult to understand. The claims process may be different to a British policy, for example. 

You have the option of instead taking out a policy from a UK-based insurer which you may find more straightforward. Firstly, you will be able to understand the terms and conditions of the policy and it will be easy to contact your insurer if you have any questions or queries. Secondly, should you need to make a claim, your claim will be handled by someone in the UK who speaks English, and you will be protected under UK law.

Do I need special insurance if I rent out my holiday home?

If you use your holiday home for your own visits and those of family, then you may not need specialist insurance.

However, if you let out your property on a commercial basis to paying guests, then standard holiday home insurance may not be sufficient. This is the case even if you only let out the holiday home for part of the week, or for a few weeks in the summer. This is because you will need extra cover for damage and theft, and you will also need to have public liability insurance as a letting owner.

Holiday let insurance can cover things like liability insurance for both guests who stay in your property, as well as any employees attending to the property for management, cleaning or maintenance reasons. Most holiday homes which are let out to the public have a weekly cleaner, and may also have a managing agent, gardener, housekeeper or other staff. If you own a large holiday home and let it out to big groups, you may also have caterers coming in to provide meals.

Some top of the range holiday homes are also used as wedding venues or places for guests to stay in large parties. For this reason, it is important to get the right type of holiday home insurance because a standard home contents insurance policy will not be sufficient.

What does holiday home insurance cover?

  • Building and contents: Holiday home insurance can cover the main structure of the building and fixtures and fittings. It will also cover things like appliances, and furniture, including soft furnishings.

  • Theft: Under a contents insurance policy you should be aware that if you are allowing friends or relatives to stay there, some policies may exclude theft if there is no sign of forced entry.

  • Unoccupied periods: If the home is for your holidays only, it is likely to remain empty for regular periods of time. Different policies will offer different periods of coverage for unoccupied property, such as more than 30 days, or 60 days.

  • Emergency travel cover: If there is an emergency at the property and you are forced to travel to the property to sort it out, holiday home insurance can cover these costs. This is particularly relevant if you are managing the property yourself and do not have a housekeeper or an agent, or your property is in a remote area, or it is abroad.

Find out about empty property insurance

What optional extras should I consider?

  • Accidental damage: Especially on holidays, accidents can happen to your property as people unwind and enjoy themselves. They may be unfamiliar with how to use appliances or may change your heating and water systems to suit their requirements. This can lead to appliances or boilers being broken or damaged. Your holiday home insurance can cover this. If you have installed a hot tub at your holiday home, for example, this will need regular cleaning and maintenance. It will need to be drained, cleaned and refilled weekly or at the end of each guest stay. It can be costly to replace parts or fix a hot tub that has been broken by guests, so holiday home insurance cover can protect you against unexpected emergencies.

  • Home emergency cover: If you need an urgent tradesperson, such as for a faulty hot water service, or a locksmith if you lock yourself out, you can add this an optional extra. This can be useful if you are unable to get to your holiday home to fix the problem immediately, either because of work or family commitments or because you live a long way away.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, but it may be a condition of the mortgage you have for the property that the property is insured at all times. You may feel more comfortable knowing the property is fully insured if you are not visiting the property regularly and it is empty much of the time.

A standard home insurance policy may exclude renting the property on a commercial basis if you are considering doing this when you are not using the property.

No, most insurers will cover European locations that have proven popular for British holidaymakers to own properties in, like Spain and Portugal.

Different policies will allow different periods of time the property can remain unoccupied. You can choose a policy based on how long you anticipate these periods will be during the life of the policy.

This will depend on the location of both properties. One thing to keep in mind is that if your holiday home is regularly empty, this poses a security risk. You could improve the security of your property with additional locks on doors and windows and consider an alarm system to deter intruders.

Try not to leave valuables in your holiday home if it is unoccupied for regular periods of time.

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