A Guide to Holiday Home Insurance

Do I need holiday home insurance?

Holiday homes need a specific insurance policy, as they can be left unoccupied, rented out or located abroad. 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.

Your holiday home is probably made of bricks and tiles, 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; and these are often not covered by standard home insurance.

Do I need second home or holiday home insurance?

The first factor to consider in this instance is whether the property is in the UK or overseas. Properties outside of the UK are likely to always need holiday home insurance, especially if the property is being let to others for short periods throughout the year and you are not staying at the property for the majority of the year yourself.

Similarly, if the property is in the UK and you are using the property intermittently throughout the year, or if the property is short-term let to others, you are most likely to be suited to a holiday home policy.

When do I need holiday home insurance?

The next factor to consider when distinguishing between a holiday home and a second home is the frequency and routine with which you occupy the property.

If there is no regular pattern or frequency for your occupation of the property, then it would be best suited to the holiday home product. An example would be if you only go to the property during the school holidays, so there are periods of unoccupancy in between your visits.

When do I need second home insurance?

If, however, you have a set pattern for your occupation of the property such as every weekend, fortnightly, monthly, then you would be better suited to a second home insurance policy. This is due to the property being left unoccupied for shorter periods of time between your stays and thus reducing the risk of certain claims.

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 due to the increased risk of damage caused by incidents such as burst water pipes, storm damage and break-ins, which could be limited if you are present.  

For example, a water leak can cause serious damage to a property if nobody is there for an extended period, whereas if you are at the property every day you would notice the damage quickly and therefore the extent should be reduced.

A holiday home policy will be able to cater for extended periods of inoccupancy, meaning that unoccupied property cover is not required. However, it is important to be aware of the restrictions and requirements imposed on a property during the unoccupied periods.

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

Holiday home insurance is designed to account for the increased risks resulting from renting the property out. If you are short-term letting the property to holidaymakers then holiday home insurance would be better suited than second home insurance, which is primarily for your personal use on a set occupancy pattern.

What does holiday home insurance cover?

Property insurance cover has two main goals: to protect the building and to protect the contents.

Key factors to consider about holiday home cover are:

  • Holiday home policies will generally not cover high value items as standard. This is because holiday homes are considered to generally have lower value contents than main residences, and not to have high value contents in them while they are left unoccupied. 
  • If items are already covered by your travel insurance or on your main home policy for outside of the home, you do not need to include them on your holiday home insurance.
  • 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 costs of travel expenses and accommodation, should you need to visit your holiday home in an emergency, can be included in your holiday home insurance cover.
  • If you are a leaseholder, it may be written into your lease that you are responsible for insuring the fixtures and fittings, such as your kitchen cupboards, bath, toilet etc. Holiday home insurance can cater for this.

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.

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.

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.

About the author

James Cooper is a respected industry leader with around 10 years' experience in the home and property insurance sector. He works across a broad range of insurance product and policy development and delivery, including product development; customer sales and marketing; and P&L accountability.