A Guide to Holiday Home Insurance

Holiday homes need special attention when getting the right insurance. For reasons such as being left unoccupied, rented out or located abroad, they need a specific holiday home policy. Whether you've got a flat or a villa, in the UK or abroad, read our article and video guide to protecting your holiday home.

Do I need holiday home insurance?

Your holiday home is probably made of bricks and glass, or something similar, just like any other home; so why do you need specific holiday home insurance? The truth is, that while a holiday home is subject to many of the same risks as any standard home, there are additional ones too. And these are often not covered by standard home insurance.

Do I need second home or holiday home insurance?

Second Home or Holiday Home Insurance


Video transcript

Hi, my name is Brooke and in this video I’m going to talk about the difference between second home insurance, and holiday home insurance.

As the use of your home depends on the risks it faces, insurers categorise properties into groups such as standard home, unoccupied home, holiday home etc.

A very common question from our customers is whether they need holiday home insurance, or second home insurance.

The first point on this matter is whether the property is in the UK or abroad. Homes outside the UK are likely to always need holiday home insurance, especially if you are renting the property to others for short periods through-out the year and not spending the majority of your time there yourself.

Similarly, if it’s inside the UK and you’re staying there more than 120 consecutive days at a time, you’ll probably find cheaper standard home insurance to cover you.

Holiday home insurance

After this, the main difference between holiday home and second home insurance is the frequency and routine with which you occupy the house. For example, if you spend less than 120 consecutive nights there at any one time and with no regular frequency, for instance, over the summer, or around the holidays you’ll likely need holiday home insurance.

Second Home Insurance

If however you’re returning for regular weekly, fortnightly or monthly stays for instance, you may better suit a second home insurance policy. Make sure you’ve discussed your needs clearly as the wrong policy could cause problems if you did ever need to make a claim.

For more videos and guides on second home insurance, browse our website, or give us a call.

Do I need unoccupied property insurance for a holiday home?

If the property is going to be unoccupied for more than 30 days, most standard home insurance policies will not cover you. This is because damage from things like burst water pipes, storm damage and break-ins could only be limited if you are present. A water leak can cause serious damage to a property when no one is there. For this reason unoccupied property cover is the most important extra protection in a holiday home insurance policy.

Does holiday home insurance cover me when renting the property out?

A standard home insurance plan will cover you, your family and your non-paying guests to stay and live there. If you’re renting the property you face extra risks as a landlord. Your holiday home insurance is designed to account for the risks you face from renting.

What does holiday home insurance cover?

Policies differ but - in essence - an insurance policy for a property has two main goals: to protect the building and to protect the contents. Holiday home insurance is no different in this respect. Let your insurer or broker know the rebuild cost and combined value of the contents and this can be protected as normal.

Two things to remember:

  • Holiday home policies generally won’t cover high value items as standard. This is because holiday homes are considered to have lower amounts of contents in the homes and not to have high value items left in them while they are unoccupied.

  • You don’t need to include items already covered on your holiday insurance. There’s no point in paying for cover twice.

It’s important to be thorough when you tell your insurer about the contents you’d like covered. Items such as solar panels, hot tubs, swimming pools, golf carts, golf clubs and push bikes can be included but must be added to your policy specifically.

The extra cost of travel expenses or accommodation costs abroad should you need to visit your property in an emergency can be included in your cover. This will vary according to your policy but can be at least £1,000.

If you have a leasehold property you could also add fixtures and fitting cover, which includes kitchen and bathroom fixtures like baths, sinks and work surfaces. Or if you rent out your holiday home when you are not there, you could also include cover for accidental damage caused by tenants.

What types of property can be covered by holiday home insurance?

Many types of property can be covered under holiday home insurance, including chalets, villas, flats, houses, listed buildings and even overseas static caravans.

What countries does holiday home insurance cover?

Standard home insurance is unlikely to cover a holiday home in another country and likewise dealing with a local insurer in that country is likely to be tricky with language barriers, time differences and expensive call costs. So if your holiday home is abroad, specific insurance can account for this.

Holiday home insurance policies usually cover European countries such as the Republic of Ireland, Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, the Republic of Cyprus and Bulgaria.

Home emergency cover

Having a property abroad or let out can make logistics difficult if there is an emergency. In cases like this, you may want to consider emergency home cover. It will provide you or your tenants with access to tradespeople, often 24 hours a day, who can visit your home to help limit or repair damage.

Temporary accommodation insurance

If your holiday home is a long way from your main residence then you might want to look for a policy which offers temporary accommodation cover. If an insured event (such as a fire or flood) meant you couldn’t stay at your property, alternative accommodation could be very expensive while the damage was being repaired and this protection could cover that cost.



Video transcript

The rebuild or replacement cost you give us for your buildings and contents is possibly the most important information to get right. If you get it wrong, you could find that you don’t receive the pay-out you expect if you need to claim.

Let me give you an example. You insure your property i.e. the building itself at a value of £100,000, at some point down the line you need to make a claim for the value of £400. If the actual value of the building is £200,000 then you’re underinsured by 50%. This means that any claim you make would only pay out 50% of the requested amount. So, if you’ve claimed for £400, you’d only receive £200.

It’s important to note that the figure you give us must be the rebuild cost NOT the market value of your property. This means the cost to rebuild your property brick by brick including demolition, architect’s fees, solicitor’s fees and building material costs.

If your property is in the UK, finding out a guide price for the rebuild value is quite straightforward. You could simply visit the ABI rebuild calculator which can be found on the BCIS website.

If your property is abroad however, you will need to gain the help of a local surveyor who will be able to give you an accurate value.

The best advice we can give is – get a professional surveyor to value your building or buildings. It’s best to give us an accurate value rather than find out you’re underinsured when it’s too late.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to get your building valuation right. When you take out a policy with Towergate, we’ll remind you.


Video transcript

Buying a holiday home might have been the best decision you ever made. It’s your space to get away from it all, your place in the sun and in some instances, an extra source of income when you’re not using it yourself.

Just like you insure your main residence, it’s a good idea to insure your holiday home. As the circumstances of most holiday homes are quite different from your main property, you’ll need specialist cover in place.

Here’s what a Towergate policy can do to help protect your holiday home.

Firstly, where can we cover you? Our policies cover popular European countries including locations like Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and of course right here in the UK. You can find a full list of countries we cover on our website.

Next - contents. It’s important to be thorough when you tell us about the contents you’d like covered but you may also be interested to know we cover extra items such as; solar panels, hot tubs, swimming pools, golf carts, golf clubs and push bikes.

We can also insure many of types of property. Chalets, villas, flats, houses, listed buildings and even overseas static caravans can all be covered by our policy.

Finally, we can add a few extras to your policy if you require them. Some of our customers with lease hold properties for example request fixtures and fitting cover which includes kitchen and bathroom fixtures like baths, sinks and work surfaces. For those who rent out their properties when they’re not there, we can also include cover for accidental damage caused by tenants.

If you own a second home and you’d like more information on Towergate’s Holiday Home Insurance, give us a call or get a quote online.

Holiday home insurance from Towergate

If you own a second home and you’d like more information on Towergate’s cover for your property, see our dedicated holiday home insurance page or give us a call on 0344 892 1750 to speak to a specialist adviser.

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