Non-standard home insurance
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Holiday homes come in all shapes and sizes, from chalets and log cabins to cottages and country mansions. It may be a second home that you use as your own personal getaway or a property you’ve purchased to rent to holidaymakers.
Either way, if it’s not your permanent residence, it needs insuring in a slightly different way to your main home.
Holiday home insurance is a type of home insurance designed for properties that aren’t your main residence. It can be taken out as buildings cover, contents cover or a combination of both. It protects your vacation property in the same way as standard home insurance, covering you for repairs, break-ins and more.
Where it differs is that it offers cover for specific risks. For example, it covers your property when it’s unoccupied, which can be often if you’re between guests or too busy to take a break.
Holiday homes are typically more at-risk when nobody’s home. Not only is an empty property attractive to burglars, but any leaks or damages could go unnoticed for long periods of time, potentially leading to further repair costs down the line.
Specialist holiday home insurers know that you’ll be coming and going, which is why a period of unoccupancy will be factored into your cover. You should let your insurer know if you plan to let your property and they can add that to your policy. If you change your mind at any point, then you’ll just need to get in touch with your policy provider.
No, you’re not legally required to insure your holiday home. However, if you take out a mortgage, it may be a condition of securing your loan.
There’s also the matter of finances to consider. Insurance is a way to protect your investment and any additional income if you let your holiday home. Without it, you’d need to be able to pay for any damages or repairs out of your own pocket. In a worst-case scenario, you may need to sell your property if you can’t afford repair work.
There’s no one-size-fits all approach to holiday home insurance. What’s suitable for a cosy lodge won’t be the same as a six-bed lake house.
Before you go shopping for quotes, you should work out what you want your policy to include. The first thing to decide is whether you want to insure just your bricks and mortar with buildings cover or protect your contents too.
If you add on contents cover, you’ll be covered for any repairs and replacements for your furniture, appliances and soft furnishings.
This can be particularly useful if you’re letting your property, as you can’t always be certain that your guests will look after your belongings. However, it’s worth noting that most policies won’t cover your guests’ contents.
You should also bear in mind that some insurers will only cover holiday homes across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. If your holiday home is outside of the UK, make sure to check the specific policy terms when you’re looking for a quote.
If you’re letting your property, there are certain features that might be useful to include in your policy. For example:
What’s included in your policy will depend on the insurer and your chosen level of cover. That’s why it helps to have an idea of what you want to include in your policy before you search the market.
If you aren’t sure where to start, you may want to work with an insurance broker. At Wesleyan Financial Services, we can advise you on the right cover level based on your holiday home. We’ll also reach out to insurers on your behalf, to find you a range of quotes.
If you’re interested in learning more, see how we can sort your holiday home insurance.
Property owners liability cover protects you as the property owner if you rent out your holiday home.
It covers costs and damages if someone is injured or falls ill while staying at your property. It’s useful if you’re taken to court by a guest and found liable, as it’ll cover any compensation you’re required to pay on top of any legal fees.
Accidents happen all the time, even if you’re careful. For example, a guest may be electrocuted by a faulty appliance or fall due to an ill-fitting carpet.
While it’s not a legal requirement, it does provide extra financial protection. And as it’s included in most holiday home insurance policies, you may not have to pay an additional cost for that added peace of mind.
Letting your property through Airbnb offers you some protection. For example, you’ll get reimbursed for damage caused by guests to both your home and belongings. You’ll also get liability cover to protect you if a guest is hurt on your property.
It’s important to note that Airbnb damage protection is not a type of insurance, only the liability cover is.
If you’re looking for comprehensive cover then you should still consider taking out holiday home insurance. It’ll cover gaps that Airbnb protection doesn’t provide, like alternative accommodation cover and legal cover.
What you can expect to pay for your holiday home insurance depends on:
When you apply for a quote, an insurer will assess all of these factors to see how much of a risk it would be to insure your holiday home. The bigger the risk, the more you’re likely to pay.
An example of a higher-risk property would be one that’s unoccupied for lengthy periods of time, typically 30 days or more. If this is the case, an ‘unoccupancy clause’ may be added as part of your insurance agreement. This will require you to check in on your property from time to time.
You may also pay more for your policy if your holiday home is made from non-standard materials. For example, a log cabin or a thatched-roof cottage. This is because it could be more expensive to make repairs to properties of unusual structure.
Another factor that can bump up costs is the location of your property. For example, an inner-city apartment could cost more to insure than a countryside abode due to the crime rates in that area.
While some pricing factors will be out of your control, there are some ways you can save on your holiday home insurance.