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The NimbleFins Guide to Holiday Home Insurance

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Unexpected events don’t take vacations so it’s just as important to insure your holiday home as it is your main residence. To help you find the right policy, we explore how it differs from standard cover and offer tips that ensure you find value for money and peace of mind.

What is holiday home insurance?

It’s a policy specifically designed for second homes that might be empty for long periods of time. Whether you only use your holiday home as a family or rent it out to other holidaymakers, you should be able to find a policy that suits your needs.

Just remember to be clear about who uses your home when you take out a policy. Providing the wrong information can invalidate your cover which means your insurer can refuse to pay out if you need to make a claim.

What does holiday home insurance cover?

Holiday home insurance (e.g. home insurance for an Airbnb or other holiday letting) generally covers the same events as standard home insurance. That means you’ll have the option of:

In most cases, you’ll also be able to add on extra features, for example:

  • Accidental damage
  • Legal expenses in case you need to go to court
  • Home emergency cover

Doesn’t standard home insurance cover holiday homes?

The short answer is no. Although holiday home and standard home insurance covers almost identical events, there’s one important difference.

Standard home insurance is designed for properties that are occupied for most of the time. Needless to say, policies will cover your home if it’s empty because you’re on holiday, but this is usually limited to around 30 consecutive days. In other words, your home cannot be empty for more than 30 days in a row (for example). For most of us taking our two weeks in the sun, that’s more than adequate.

But holiday homes by their very nature can be empty for significant lengths of time which means they won’t be covered by most standard home insurance policies.

In contrast, holiday home cover takes into account the increased length of time that second homes can be empty for, and the risks that this comes with. For instance, if a pipe bursts while you’re away, it could be some time before any water damage is detected and rectified.

Bear in mind that while some holiday home insurance covers unoccupied properties for an unlimited amount of time, some do come with limits. Typically, this means the property cannot be empty for more than 90 days in a row.

Do I need holiday home insurance by law?

No, like standard home insurance, you don’t need to have holiday home cover by law. However, if you’ve got a mortgage, your lender could insist you have buildings insurance at the very least. It may even be a condition of your mortgage agreement.

Similarly, you’re under no obligation to have contents insurance, regardless of whether you have a mortgage or own your second home outright. But don’t forget, if you don’t have insurance, you face covering the cost of any damage yourself.

Will holiday home insurance cover a holiday let?

This will depend on the wording of your policy but in most cases, you’ll need specialist holiday let insurance if you rent out your home to paying guests. In many cases, you’ll be able to add this type of cover on to an existing holiday home policy. These policies still cover you for standard risks such as fire, flood, theft and vandalism but they will typically also include:

  • Public liability insurance – this covers compensation and legal expenses if a guest injures themselves or has their belongings damaged while staying at your property. Standard home and holiday home insurance does often include this, but holiday let policies may provide higher levels of cover.
  • Employers’ liability insurance – if you employ anyone to maintain your holiday home, you’ll need this by law. There are a handful of exceptions but if you’re caught without it, you could face hefty fines.
  • Alternative accommodation – this pays for your guests to stay somewhere else if something happens to your holiday home.
  • Loss of income insurance – if your holiday home can’t be let because of an insured event (like a fire or flood) this covers your lost income.

What exclusions or conditions should I know about?

Nearly all insurance policies have exclusions (events not covered by the policy). There are also likely to be certain conditions you’re expected to follow but these will vary by insurer; however, typical examples include:

  • Damage caused by pets – policies often cover accidental damage caused by pets, but rarely cover damage because of behaviours like scratching, tearing, soiling or chewing.
  • Security and reasonable care – insurers will expect you to take precautions with your holiday home, especially where security is concerned. This includes basic safety measures like locking windows and doors, but it could also mean you (or someone you appoint) needs to make regular visits to check on the house.
  • Large parties – if you let your holiday home, some insurers won’t cover large properties with lots of bedrooms. More often than not hen and stag parties won’t be covered either.
  • Extended lets – under the terms of your policy, you may not be able to let out your second home for any long periods of time (the limit will be set by your insurer).
  • Theft by guests – generally, policies won’t compensate you if items are stolen by your guests.

How do I get the best value holiday home insurance?

You can keep the cost of your holiday home insurance down by:

  • Investing in a security alarm.
  • Ensuring your home is regularly checked (either by you or someone else).
  • Paying for your policy in one go to avoid interest.
  • Taking out buildings and contents cover with the same insurer.

Of course, comparing policies still remains one of the best ways of making sure you get the cover you need at a price that’s affordable. To search from a wide selection of quotes from leading insurers, start your search here.

Get holiday let insurance quotes.
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