How to Get the Best Insurance for Your Holiday Home

Getting the right insurance for your property or properties is the key to protecting what’s probably your biggest investment. But for most people it’s still just an annual hassle - and they try and get it over and done with as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Does the policy cover what you need it to?

One of the biggest mistakes people make is in not reading their policy documents, or taking the time to understand the nuances of their cover. You could be paying for something you don’t need, or missing something you really DO need. You’re not going to know unless you actually read the policy.

Have you shopped around?

Lots of us just let our policy auto-renew each year, without looking around at what else is available. Switching providers really can save you money, especially if your current insurance provider has hiked up the price since last year.

Are you comparing like with like?

If you are shopping around, and particularly if you’re using price comparison sites, just make sure you’re comparing like with like. Not all policies are the same. There will be different inclusions and exclusions, and different levels of cover. The cheapest policy might not actually be the right one – and might not cover everything you need it to.

Have you looked for quality markers?

One way to make sure you’re getting insurance that you can really trust is to look for industry quality markers – for instance a Defaqto score. It’s an independent organisation that has a 5 star rating system for the quality and comprehensiveness of financial services products.

Have you looked at the reviews?

You probably wouldn’t pick a restaurant without checking out what other diners say about it – and the same should apply to insurance and their providers! Take a look at what people are saying on trusted service review sites.  Not all customers will be happy all of the time, but it might help you to find out what people are saying, and how the organisation responds.

Do you have a special property or special circumstances?

Make sure you’re really honest – with yourself and with your insurer and you broker - about your property, how you use it, and what particular risks it faces. Do you travel a lot – how long is it really left unoccupied? Is it actually in a good state of repair? How is it built? Is it listed? Is it a second home? A holiday home? Do you have frequent guests, do they pay? Do you work from home? Have you had previous criminal convictions? Do you really know what type of door and window locks you have, or how old your boiler is? How much of your roof really is flat?

If you don’t reveal everything about your property you won’t get the cover you might well need, and in a worst-case scenario your policy could be voided when you come to make a claim.

Do you know your BSI?

One of the things people often don’t know about their property is their BSI or Building Sum Insured. It’s not the value of the property if it were for sale, but what it would cost to rebuild the property to the same standard from scratch. Over estimate and it can put your premium up, under estimate and if you did have to rebuild, you might not have enough cover.

For standard properties, a good place to start is with the BSI calculator from BCIS – the Building Cost Information Service:

Have you asked about deals?

Don’t be afraid to talk to your insurer or broker about deals. For instance, it may be you can get a discount if you’ve got multiple properties with one provider - or plan to move them across when they come up for renewal.

Have you kept your insurer up to date?

If something has changed at your property, do make sure to let your insurance company know about it when it happens. If it’s a change to how you use the property, a new bathroom or a refurbishment, you might need to update your cover options mid-term to make sure you STAY on the right policy.