When you take out a mortgage on your holiday home, you may well be offered a home insurance policy by the company that lends you the money. It would be an easy option to take this and consider the insurance question sorted.
However, this might be a mistake. Holiday home insurance is more complicated than ordinary household insurance. Before just accepting any policy, you must examine it carefully to check that it covers everything you need for your holiday home. You need to ask the right questions to find out if it is the right policy.
- Is it flexible? A good holiday home insurance policy should allow you to pick and choose what you are covered for. For example, if the property has a swimming pool, there are a lot more risks involved, so the premiums may be higher – but you need to make sure this is explicitly covered. On the other hand, if your property doesn’t have a pool, there’s no point in paying such high premiums. So don’t accept a “one size fits all” policy – this will be more expensive, in order to cover all possible risks.
- Does the holiday home insurance cover you for times the property is left empty? An ordinary building and contents policy probably won’t allow for the property to be left empty for more than 30 days at a time. Obviously the property is more at risk when empty, from vandalism, burglary, water damage etc. If you don’t expect to occupy the property during the winter months, but your policy doesn’t cover you for more than 30 days, you won’t be able to claim for any of these things.
- Does the policy allow you to let out the property? Even if your holiday home is mainly for the use of yourself and your family, you may want to let it out occasionally to help with the costs. An ordinary household insurance policy may not allow this. You must be very careful to check that your holiday home insurance policy allows you to let it out, otherwise you could find you weren’t covered if something happened while it was occupied by paying guests.
- Does the policy cover you if you have a less conventional type of holiday home, such as a holiday park home, holiday chalet or log cabin? At one time it was very hard to get holiday home insurance on this type of property. However, holiday homes of this kind are becoming more and more popular, and now there are holiday home insurance companies who will insure them.
All this underlines that it’s no good accepting the first holiday home insurance policy you are offered, or just taking one from your mortgage company. You must ask the right questions to make sure you have the policy you need – otherwise you are just wasting your money!