Insurance for Unoccupied Holiday Homes
As we are all too aware, the Coronavirus lockdown means that those people lucky enough to have a holiday home, or second home, are unable to travel to access it. So, can you get insurance for unoccupied holiday homes?
At My Holiday Home Insurance, we are specialists in the leisure sector, so our insurance policies are specially designed for holiday homes.
Buildings Insurance Cover
Our holiday home insurance cover mainly comprises buildings and contents cover. Buildings insurance covers against risks such as fire, storm and flood, and could assist in the repairs or building work that may need to be carried out if the property is damaged. (It’s important to make sure that you allow for the rebuild cost of your home, which may be more than the market value.)
Buildings insurance covers your holiday home itself and its permanent fixtures and fittings, as well as permanent fixtures contained within the boundaries of the land. Buildings insurance can include a swimming pool or hot tub, just remember to tell your insurance company about them when discussing the requirements of your policy.
Contents Insurance Cover
Contents insurance applies to your personal possessions inside your holiday home. It’s important to have sufficient cover, especially if you are letting out your home – either to friends and family or on a commercial basis. Normal home insurance will cover your family and guests in your home. However if you are renting your property, you face extra risks as a landlord.
When your holiday home is left without an occupant for 60 consecutive days or more you must ensure that a responsible person is appointed to supervise and check the property both internally and externally. This could be a friend living in a neighbouring property, or if you use a letting agent to rent out your holiday home, then you could ask them to check it. The property needs to be checked at least once every 60 days.
If the holiday home is left unoccupied and cannot be checked at least once every 60 days, then, under normal circumstances, this will invalidate the insurance policy and you will not be covered. However, due to the unprecedented circumstances caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, we are looking at claims for existing clients on a individual basis if you have not been able to comply.
At My Holiday Home Insurance, we have additional requirements during the winter months to help you to reduce the risk of damage to your home. This is particularly important due to the risk of escape of water from frozen and damaged pipes. Between 1st November and 31st March (both days inclusive) if the home is left without an occupant for more than 48 hours you must ensure that the main water supply is turned off by means of a stopcock at the first available point of entry of the water supply to the home. In addition, where the home is left without an occupant for 14 consecutive days, all water tanks must be emptied by leaving both hot and cold kitchen taps fully open.
Alternatively, if you wish to leave the water supply turned on between 1st November and 31st March (both days inclusive) the policy requires the following:
- that you must ensure the entire home benefits from a heating system being gas or oil fired central heating or a geothermal or full electric heating system (not night storage heaters), fitted with automatic controls and a separate thermostat. The system must be set to operate continuously for 24 hours of each day (not controlled by any timing device) and the thermostat set at not less than 10 degrees Celsius and, where fitted, the loft hatch door left open.
- If the heating system as described above is installed and is additionally fitted with a “frost stat” that is designed and installed to override all other heating controls, irrespective of their functional status, then this may be set to operate at not less than 4 degrees Celsius.
In the event of loss or damage occurring as a result of burst pipes and escape of water during the first 48 hours that the home is left without an occupant, you will have to pay the first £500.
Before we can pay you any claim it is a requirement that you, (at our request) provide any bills for any utilities being supplied to the insured premises at the time of any loss or damage resulting from escape of water for verification by us. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in loss or damage resulting from escape of water or burst pipes being excluded from your holiday home insurance.
It is a condition of your My Holiday Home Insurance policy to maintain your property in a good state of repair. If you’re unable to access it yourself, then having someone you trust to check your property regularly not only complies with the policy requirements, but also gives you peace of mind. If your holiday home looks well-maintained and has a tidy garden, it’s less likely to stand out as an unoccupied property so will also help to reduce the risk of theft and vandalism.
For further information about insurance for holiday homes, leisure homes, holiday lodges and static caravans, call our Northampton office and speak to one of our specialist insurance advisers on freephone 0800 988 0890. To stay up to date about similar topics like this or for general information please follow us on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn.