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What’s holiday home insurance?

Holiday home insurance is just home insurance to cover your second property, whether or not you let it out.

You can buy holiday home insurance for the building, the contents, or both combined into one policy.

Buildings insurance will cover your holiday home’s structure and will pay out to repair it if it’s damaged by fire, storms, flooding, vandalism or other events.

Contents insurance covers your possessions within your holiday home – generally things that aren’t attached to the building, so furniture, TV, carpets and any personal property you keep at your holiday home.

holiday home insurance

Can I just buy ordinary home insurance for my holiday home?

Home insurance will usually only cover your main residence. A second home needs holiday home insurance.

It can cover you for the times that your holiday home is unoccupied, even if that’s longer than 30-60 days.

If you let your holiday home out to guests you’ll need holiday lets insurance to cover this.

It’ll have the cover you need for the risk that comes with renting your second home out and you can add extra cover like public liability and employee liability that you need to run your holiday letting business.

What does holiday home insurance cover?

A lot of what’s covered by holiday home insurance will be similar to what you see in a home insurance policy if it’s only used by you and your family. If you let your holiday home out, your policy will have some similarities with landlord cover.

But your holiday home won’t be lived in full-time, so holiday home insurance allows you to leave it empty for extended periods.

What’s covered?

  • Buildings and contents cover – The structure of your holiday home and your possessions within.
  • Personal possessions cover – The things you keep in your holiday home.
  • Accidental damage cover – Unexpected damage by you or your guests.
  • Alternative accommodation – A temporary place to stay if your holiday home’s made uninhabitable and you can’t use it.
  • Emergency travel – Covers the cost of you getting to your holiday home to sort out issues like a burst pipe or a fire.
  • 24-hour emergency helpline – Urgent help with claims.
  • Unusual and non-standard building types - Like chalets and log cabins.
  • Loss of income – If you usually let your holiday home but can’t do that because it’s been damaged.
  • Public liability – Cover the cost of someone taking legal action against you because they’ve been injured or suffered a loss on your property.
  • Employer liability – You’ll need this if you rent your second home out and employ anyone, like a cleaner or gardener.

What’s excluded?

  • Extended lets – You might need landlord insurance for long-stay guests.
  • Theft by occupants - Guests stealing from you.
  • Solar panels – If you have them, double check your policy for cover.
  • Hen or stag groups – Your policy might say you can’t let to riskier occupants.
  • Properties with seven or more bedrooms – Check if there’s a maximum number on the policy if your holiday home accommodates more.
  • Other types of use – Some policies won’t cover your property to be used as a halfway house or for social housing.

You’ll need to check your own policy to see exactly what’s covered and what isn’t. Don’t let your holiday home out without a policy that’s for holiday lets, or any claim you need to make will be rejected.

How to get a holiday home insurance quote

You’ll just need a few details to find some quotes for your holiday home:

  1. Your holiday home

    The address, building type, year it was built and plot number if it’s on a holiday park or site.

  2. Your cover

    Do you need buildings insurance only. Or buildings and contents? When do you need your cover to start?

  3. Letting details

    If you’re letting it out, you can add public liability insurance and loss of rental income guarantee.

  4. Occupancy

    Whether your holiday home will be unoccupied for longer periods of 30 days or more.

  5. About you

    Let us know your contact details and your current correspondence address.

  6. Your details

    Contact details and address.

Get quotes

How to save money on holiday home insurance

Try these tips to cut the cost of insurance on your second home:

  1. Try to pay annually

    It’s often cheaper to pay for the year in one lump sum, if you can afford it, than paying monthly.

  2. Buy buildings and contents together

    If you need both, it can be cheaper and more convenient to deal with just one insurer.

  3. Increase your excess

    Choose a higher voluntary excess to lower your premium – but make sure you can afford it if you do need to claim.

  4. Know your worth

    Find out exactly how much your belongings are worth.

  5. Protect against fires

    Fitting a smoke alarm on every floor could benefit you when it comes to finding a great deal on your insurance.

  6. Improve the security

    Make sure you have adequate locks installed on your doors and windows.

  7. Maintenance is key

    Keep your holiday home properly maintained to reduce your chance of a claim being rejected.

  8. Shop around

    Shop around to get the best price possible for your policy.

Types of holiday home insurance

Holiday home insurance isn’t just for UK properties – you can cover your bolt-hole abroad as well and it’s suitable for lots of shapes and sizes of buildings.

UK holiday home insurance

UK holiday homes can be a smart investment, especially if you’re letting them out. Just make sure you check rising property prices when you give a valuation for insurance.

UK holiday insurance will protect your asset from break-ins, storms and fires, even if it’s just a private family retreat.

Chalet and log cabin insurance

Chalets in seaside resorts or woodland log cabins can have unusual or temporary structures.

But holiday home insurance can cover cabins and chalets, as well as hot tubs or outbuildings.

Overseas holiday home insurance

It can be nerve wracking having something as valuable as a second home so far away from you.

But even if you can only visit it a few times a year, the right overseas holiday home insurance policy will protect your property overseas.

Frequently asked questions

Normally insurers ask that you inspect the property at certain time intervals, but if you’re unable to visit it because of Covid it may waive this requirement as long as you’ve taken reasonable steps to protect it, like setting your burglar alarm and locking up properly.

One of the biggest differences between insuring your permanent home and your holiday property is that your holiday home might be unoccupied for long periods of time, increasing the risk of theft or damage.

A standard home insurance policy is unlikely to be suitable for a holiday home as most insurers exclude properties left empty for more than 30 days a year.

Dedicated holiday home policies can cover buildings, contents and more specialist requirements.

If you’ve got a mortgage on your holiday home, your lender will ask that you have buildings insurance as a condition of the loan.

But even if you own your holiday home outright, it’s a good idea to insure the building – otherwise you’d have to cover the cost yourself if it’s damaged. If that’s from a fire or flood, that could be the entire cost of rebuilding your holiday home.

Holiday homes are usually furnished and fully equipped, so contents insurance can cover these items. Even if you don't keep anything particularly valuable in your holiday home, if you add it all up it might be hard to replace without insurance.

It's a good idea to not leave any valuable or personal items in your holiday home, particularly if it's left unoccupied or you're letting it out when you're not there. A lot of insurers might refuse to cover high value items left in an unoccupied holiday home, or put a limit on the value of anything they are prepared to cover.

You can choose to pay for optional extras on your holiday home insurance policy:

  • Accidental damage cover – covers the cost of things like spills and stains to carpets or damaging a pipe.
  • Home emergency cover – fast assistance for things like water leaks and boiler breakdowns.
  • Legal expenses – covers the cost of being sued or taking legal action against someone. Particularly useful if you let out your holiday home.
  • Loss of keys – covers the cost of getting you back in and changing the locks if you lose your keys, or a guest doesn’t hand them back to you.

Check that your policy covers loss of rent, accidental damage and alternative accommodation.

You should also take out public liability insurance to fund legal claims if a guest gets hurt in your holiday home, as well as employer’s liability cover for claims by employees, like cleaners or cooks, who are hurt on the premises.

You can insure holiday homes in lots of exotic locations, not just the UK. When you get a quote, you’ll be able to choose from a list of countries that you can get a quote for.

For more unusual destinations, you may need a specialist broker to find your cover.

Personal use and allowing family and friends to use your holiday home is usually covered.

If you don’t have insurance that includes letting, you shouldn’t be taking any payment for them to stay there.

Your accidental damage cover won’t extend to your guests, although you can pay to add this as an optional extra.

Your boiler won’t be covered as standard, but you could buy a separate home emergency policy to get this cover. Your boiler will still need regular maintenance for the policy to be valid.

When you get quotes for holiday home buildings insurance you’ll need to give the rebuild value – it’s how much it’d cost to reconstruct it if it were destroyed and is often less than the property value on the open market.

When you value your possessions for home insurance, add up the cost of each room and don’t forget to include what’s in the attic or any outbuildings.

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