Although there appear to be no current published statistics about the number of Britons who own a holiday home, past research by the Daily Mail suggests that more than a million own a second home in France and Spain alone. Add to this the considerably larger number who own a holiday home in the UK, and the number is clearly considerable.
Holiday homes, then, may be in this country or abroad, quaintly historic cottages or modern apartments, or even static caravans. What all of these properties share in common, however, is a vulnerability to risks such as fire, flooding, storm damage, impacts, vandalism and theft.
Wherever it is located in the UK and Europe, at GSI Insurance we arrange a wide variety of insurance policies designed to protect both the structure and fabric and the contents of your holiday home.
It might be helpful, therefore, to consider just what is involved:
- holiday home insurance needs to be versatile and flexible enough to safeguard a wide range of different types of property at home or abroad – tailoring a policy to suit your particular needs and requirements, therefore, is an important consideration and one which a specialist provider may have the expertise and experience to advise;
- it is important to recognise that insurance for your second home addresses risks that may be quite different to those covered by a standard home insurance policy for owner occupiers – not least because a holiday home may stand empty for significant periods of time and because you might also be letting it to others;
- these particular risks faced by your second home have a bearing on the insurance required both for the structure and its contents;
- building insurance – cover is designed to safeguard the building itself against structural damage and is typically set at a level reflecting the cost of completely rebuilding or replacing it in the event of a major disaster;
- in common with many forms of property insurance, holiday home insurance may or may not cover the risk of subsidence – depending on the location of the home (We offer Subsidence cover in the UK, Spain and Portugal only, for example), its record of past problems with subsidence, and the likely cost of any remedial works;
- proper and regular maintenance of your holiday home is perhaps even more important than the home in which you live permanently – when your second home is unoccupied, unattended maintenance problems may develop into major crises;
- your holiday home insurance, therefore, might stipulate specific measures for the regular, logged, inspection of the property during times when it is vacant;
- in the case of a temporarily unoccupied property, cover against vandalism and malicious damage may be especially important;
- holiday homes abroad are more likely perhaps to have swimming pools, out-buildings and other areas for relaxation and recreation – you might want to make sure that your chosen insurance policy covers damage to these external areas and amenities too;
- public liability – the risk of a claim from someone who is injured or has their property damaged comes from a number of sources, from the passing member of the public, to visitors, guests, paying tenants or even people you might employ for the upkeep of your holiday home;
- given the risk of very substantial claims from any one of these quarters, public liability insurance might typically provide £1 million or more of cover;
- contents – even a second home may have contents of appreciable value. You may have spent a great deal of money furnishing and equipping it to make the most of your holidays there or have spent many years accumulating the possessions you keep in it;
- insurance is designed to protect the contents of your holiday home and may be based on the principle of replacing old for new in the case of loss or damage, or compensation reflecting wear, tear and depreciation of the items concerned;
- in either case, a full and detailed inventory of the whole of the contents is important to putting an accurate value on them – thus avoiding the possibility of either over- or under-insurance;
- however reliable you consider any guests or tenants using your holiday home, they are unlikely to exercise quite the care and attention of the owner of the property – safeguarding against the risk of accidental damage, therefore, may be especially important;
- although it is not directly related to the insurance of your holiday home of course, it is nevertheless important to bear in mind that there may be UK tax implications for your ownership and use of the investment – with a guide to your obligations summarised in a guide published by HM Revenue & Customs.
When looking for second home or holiday home insurance, you might want to consult a specialist in this area such as ourselves. We have the expertise and experience of arranging cover for a whole range of different types of property both in the UK and Europe.