Holiday let insurance can be difficult and expensive. If you need it, you should look for a specialist insurer or broker. This is because ordinary household insurers prefer their insured property to be occupied all year round by the same people! A property that could either be standing empty, or occupied by a succession of different people, is not to their liking.
When looking for a holiday let insurance policy, your best plan is to use some imagination, and try to envisage all the problems that could possibly arise. Then look for a policy that will cover all these things. Holiday let insurance needs to cover all the things that would be covered in an ordinary household policy, plus the specific types of risk that would only arise in a holiday let. Here are some examples.
• Damage caused by third parties including guests. This should include not only damage to the building, but also to contents – e.g. burns to rugs, scratches to furniture, or electrical appliances being damaged by misuse.
• Loss of rental income. Suppose there was a fire at your property, or a flood that made it uninhabitable. Of course, these would be covered by your normal household insurance. But in addition, in the case of a holiday let, you would need to find emergency accommodation for your existing guests, and compensate them both for the inconvenience and for any damage to their belongings. In addition, you would have to cancel bookings and not take any more until the property was habitable again. It’s rare of course, but it does happen, so you do need to include this in your holiday let insurance.
• Public liability. Every good household policy should have this element, but for a holiday let the cover needs to be broader and include anything that could happen to your guests while they were on or near your property, and for which they could claim damages. These could include slipping on a slippery floor, tripping over a tree-root or a loose floor-board, falling through holes, or having something fall on them, like a loose roof-tile. The list is potentially endless and this is where you need to use your imagination, so you can try to prevent accidents to the best of your ability!
• A particular bone of contention is the pool if you have one. You should make it very clear what the conditions for the safe use of the pool are – e.g. no unsupervised use by children, keep unsupervised children away from the pool area, use of the pool by non-swimmers is at own risk, etc. – and make sure these conditions are displayed clearly at the pool and stated in the initial correspondence. Even so, you could still find yourself sued if anything untoward happened and you would be wise to include this is your insurance.
Having all these additional elements to a household insurance policy is what makes holiday let insurance so expensive. Insurers are well aware of the kind of thing that could happen and want to make sure they aren’t caught out. Even though it seems expensive, if something happens that you are not covered for, it could be a whole lot more expensive! So use your imagination, be proactive, and keep your property secure.