Holiday Home Insurance

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BBQ with the family

What’s holiday home insurance?

It’s just home insurance that’s specifically designed to cover your second property, whether or not you let it out.

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

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

Contents insurance covers the possessions inside your holiday home, including furniture, TVs, carpets and any personal property you keep in it.

holiday home insurance

Do I need holiday home insurance?

While it’s not a legal requirement, there are several reasons why taking out home insurance for your holiday property is a good idea.

For a start, mortgage lenders often require you to have buildings insurance in place as a condition of the loan. But even without a mortgage, this cover is still vital for covering your property against unexpected disasters.

You should also think about protecting your home’s contents. Especially if there’ll be others using the property. As it makes accidents and breakages more likely.

The chances of losing or misplacing house keys also increases as more guests come to stay. And there’s a higher risk of break-ins if your place is left empty for long periods.

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.

This type of policy can cover you for the times that your holiday home is unoccupied, even if that’s longer than 30 to 60 days.

But if you let your holiday home out to guests, you’ll need holiday lets insurance.

It’ll cover the risks that come 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?

If your holiday home is only used by you and your family, a lot of what’s covered by holiday home insurance will be similar to standard home insurance. And if you let your holiday home out, your policy will share 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 stored in it
  • Accidental damage cover – Unexpected damage by you or your guests
  • Alternative accommodation – A temporary place to stay if your holiday home’s uninhabitable and you can’t use it
  • Emergency travel – Covers the cost of transporting you to your holiday home to sort out issues like a burst pipe or a fire
  • 24-hour emergency helpline – Urgent help with claims
  • Unusual building types - Like chalets and log cabins. It will depend on the policy though
  • Loss of income – If you usually let your holiday home but can’t do that because it’s been damaged
  • Public liability – Covers 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
  • Legal expenses - This can help cover the cost of any legal disputes that may occur between you and neighbours or guests

What’s excluded?

  • Extended lets – You may 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 your home out to riskier occupants
  • Properties with seven or more bedrooms – Check whether there’s a maximum number on the policy
  • Non-standard homes - You may need to buy specialist cover if your home is more unusual or has non-standard materials, like a thatched roof
  • Other types of use – Some policies won’t cover your property to be used as a halfway house or for social housing
When you own a holiday property, you may have guests coming and going. And when it’s not in use, there's more chance of things like burglary and weather damage. Specialist holiday home insurance will cover these types of risks and make sure your home-away-from-home is protected."
Ryan Fulthorpe, insurance expert at Go.Compare

How to get a holiday home insurance quote

You’ll just need to provide a few simple details to get quotes for your holiday home:

  1. Your holiday home

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

  2. Your cover

    Tell us whether you need buildings insurance, contents insurance, or both. And let us know when you need your cover to start

  3. Letting details

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

  4. Occupancy

    Tell us 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

Get quotes

How to save money on holiday home insurance

Here are some tips that can help cut the cost of insuring your second home:

  1. Try to pay annually

    If you can afford it, it’s often cheaper to pay for the year in one lump sum than to pay 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 it’s affordable 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 help you find a 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 you can get insurance for lots of different 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 used as 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

One of the biggest differences is that your holiday home needs to be covered for being left unoccupied for long periods of time. This increases 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 in place as a condition of the loan.

But even if you own the property outright, it’s a good idea to insure the building – otherwise, you’d have to cover the cost yourself if it gets damaged. If there’s a fire in your home or flooding, you’d have to pay for the entire cost of rebuilding your holiday home.

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

It's a good idea to avoid leaving any valuable or personal items in your property, particularly if it's unoccupied for long periods of time 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’re 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
  • Home emergency cover – Provides 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

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. And you should get employers’ liability cover for claims by employees, like cleaners or cooks, who are hurt on the premises.

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

However, if you don’t have insurance that covers letting out your second home, you shouldn’t be taking any payment from them to stay there.

Your boiler won’t be covered as standard, but you could buy a separate home emergency policy to get this type of cover. Although 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 provide the rebuild value. This is how much it would cost to reconstruct your home 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 the items in each room and don’t forget to include the things you keep in the attic or in any outbuildings.

Yes, some holiday home insurance policies may include this as standard. But if yours doesn’t, it’s usually possible to buy accidental damage cover as an optional add-on.

This can be particularly useful if you’ll be having lots of different people staying in your holiday property during the year.

Dog-friendly holidays are becoming increasingly popular - but many holiday home insurance policies won’t cover damage caused by pets.

So if you want any damage that might be caused by furry guests to be covered, it’s important to find the right policy or buy extra cover.

It’s also vital that you read the policy small print to understand exactly what types of pet damage will be covered - for example, you might be able to claim for accidental damage caused by pets, but not for chewing or scratching your furniture.

This will largely depend on your holiday home insurance policy - some insurers will include home emergency protection as part of their cover.

If you aren’t already covered, you can usually buy home emergency cover as a policy add-on or as a separate standalone policy - so it’s worth comparing the cost of both.

This type of cover isn’t essential, but if you’re a holiday home owner it can be a useful way of covering the cost of unexpected home emergencies, like a burst pipe or boiler breakdown.

Your second home is likely to be left empty more often than your main property. So holiday home insurance will typically cover it to be unoccupied for up to 60 days or more, depending on the insurer.

Yes, many UK insurers will cover holiday homes abroad. Although they may not provide holiday home insurance in every country.

This shouldn’t be a problem if your property is in a popular European destination, or even if it’s further afield. But before you buy a policy, it’s worth checking to make sure that your home’s location is covered.

It can be more difficult to get cover in countries that are more likely to experience natural disasters, like earthquakes and extreme flooding - so you may need to find a specialist insurer.

Generally, you can get holiday home insurance for:

  • Houses
  • Chalets
  • Villas
  • Flats or apartments
  • Static caravans

But if your holiday house or cottage is a listed building, you might need specialist insurance to cover any specific skills or materials needed for unexpected repairs or rebuilding.

Putting security measures in place, like a burglar alarm and approved locks, is a good idea when your holiday home will often be left empty.

A fire alarm system is also worth considering to keep guests safe and minimise potential damage to your property.

Installing an alarm may not be a requirement of your insurer, but improving the security of your home can often help to lower your premiums.

Page last reviewed: 20 July 2023

Page reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

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