Specialist insurance to protect your Holiday Home in the UK
Insuring your UK holiday home can be a confusing business. There are often multiple exclusions that leave you worried that you might not be covered should you need to claim.
What if you can't get there often enough to comply with the minimum occupancy terms? Or something happens in winter and it's weeks before you discover a leaking pipe, or worse a fuel leak?
None of us like to think about it, but what if you are robbed by someone you have allowed to enter the property such as a guest or work person?
Schofields insurance for UK holiday homes is designed to give you peace of mind. At Schofields we have specialised in insuring holiday homes since 1984 and our comprehensive policy is just that - comprehensive.
We offer great value insurance for complete peace of mind with minimal exclusions to help you enjoy your holiday cottage, with a lot less worry.
It doesn't matter if you are there frequently, or just now and then, the insurance even covers you for letting as a holiday rental.
No insurance can cover absolutely every eventuality and even Schofields have some exclusions - but rather than hiding them in the small print we're right up front with the facts. You can download the full policy below.
30 Things You Need To Check Before Buying Holiday Home Insurance
When comparing holiday home insurance, price should never be the deciding factor. While you obviously want to keep costs down, you also need the best cover possible. Cutting corners to save money could prove to be a false economy if the price is reflected by inadequate cover.
With some policy wordings exceeding 30,000 words, knowing what is, and isn't covered can be difficult. No insurance policy covers every eventuality. Use this checklist (in conjunction with a full policy wording) to help you compare policies and identify any shortfalls in cover.
How do we compare? Give us a call on 01204 36 50 80 to discuss our cover.
Exclusions during unoccupancy
What to check: If cover is restricted when your holiday home is unoccupied for more than 30, 60 or 90 consecutive days.
Escape of water from fixed water tanks, apparatus or pipes
Nearly 1 in 5 claims made on buildings and contents insurance is for damage caused by escape of water. Water damage is the main threat that holiday home owners face.
Check what unoccupancy/winter warranties apply to you:
- After what period of unoccupancy do specific winter/unoccupancy warranties apply e.g. after 48 hours you have to turn the water off.
- If you have to turn the water off at the main stopcock or drain down – there is a difference.
- The minimum temperature that needs to be maintained at all times e.g. 55°F (13°C).
- If an increased excess applies for escape of water claims e.g. £500.
Unless you comply with specific policy conditions whilst your holiday home is unoccupied, escape of water claims are generally excluded.
Theft or attempted theft
What to check: If the policy only covers theft as a result of 'violent and forcible entry' or if theft by ‘unforced entry' is covered e.g. leaving a door unlocked. If theft by paying guests is covered.
Accidental damage to contents cover
This can usually be added to your policy for an additional cost and covers for example, spilling a glass of red wine on your sofa.
What to check: If accidental damage caused by paying guests, friends, relatives or domestic pets is covered.
What to check: If malicious damage caused by persons lawfully in the holiday home or paying guests is covered. Many policies give no cover for malicious damage by tenants.
Public liability insurance
Covers you if someone is injured, falls ill, or their property is damaged at your holiday home and you are legally liable as owner or occupier.
What to check: Does it extend to cover paying guests when commercially holiday letting. What the limit is e.g. £5,000000.
If you only insure contents, are you only covered for public liability with regards to 'removable' items. Not if a guest slipped in the shower, or tripped on a carpet for example – would such liability claims only be covered if you also had buildings insurance with the insurer?
Choose a policy that doesn't differentiate, so you are covered for such public liability claims if you opt for buildings, contents or both.
Employer's liability cover
This section indemnifies you for legal liability, including costs and expenses , if a domestic employee such as a gardener or cleaner has an accident or becomes ill while working for you and you are legally responsible.
What to check: What the limit is e.g. £5,000000.
What to check: If theft cover is excluded unless specific locks/bolts are fitted to doors/windows and are put into operation when the property is left unattended or unoccupied.
What to check: If your contents will be replaced “new for old” e.g. items will be replaced with a new one, or will you receive the “market value” due to reductions for wear and tear. What the single article limit for contents is e.g. £3,000.
Contents in a garage/outbuildings
What to check: how much theft cover (usually around £2000) is provided for the contents of your garage or any outbuildings, and what precautions you have to take to secure both the buildings and its contents. Do you have to disclose that you have a ride on lawnmower or quad bike?
Contents in the garden
What to check: What the standard limit is e.g. £2000 for contents in the garden, such as furniture.
Theft of pedal cycles
What to check: The security requirements when stored and if a guest using your bicycle is covered.
Loss of rent
What to check: This typically covers rentals that are pre-booked in advance. What the maximum payout is.
What to check: Does it cover temporary accommodation costs for both the owner and paying guests in situ? Under what circumstances a claim is valid e.g. the holiday home has to be rendered uninhabitable.
Optional cover which can be added to your policy that typically covers the costs of legal disputes such as, property infringement, physical damage to your holiday home, breach of contract and eviction of overstaying guests.
What to check: The cost of adding it to your policy.
Storm, flood or weight of snow claims
What to check: Familiarise yourself with what's not covered e.g. outbuildings of non-standard construction, domestic fixed fuel oil tanks in the open, swimming pools and fences. Many insurers also have a threshold for what rainfall and wind speed is needed to be considered strong enough for a valid claim.
Open fire/Log burner
What to check: Do chimneys have to be professionally swept once a year with an appropriate certificate issued as confirmation. Are there specific installation requirements for chimney stacks and flues.
What to check: If your insurer will pay for the locks on your holiday home to be replaced if keys are lost/stolen, or only if stolen. What the standard limit is e.g. £1000.
Loss of heating fuel or metered water
What to check: Check for any maintenance requirements for oil tanks and if finding the source of any escape of water, or oil, and subsequent repairs is covered. Oil contamination is very expensive to clear up.
What to check: Your flood excess, especially if the property/area has a history of flooding.
Swimming pool/hot tub/jacuzzi
What to check: If you are covered for liability claims involving paying guests.
Will you be charged admin fees
What to check: If you will be charged an annual administration fee, a fee to pay by credit card and if you will be charged for adjustments made throughout the year e.g. changing your name, address or job.
Refunds and cancellation
What to check: How easy is it to cancel the policy after the 14 day cooling off period. How much notice do you have to give and what the cancellation charges are.
What to check: If there are discount for claims free periods or increased security.
What to check: Within how many days/hours of discovering the loss or damage must insurers and the police be informed. Will the insurer insist on receipts for every item lost or stolen?
What to check: Does the holiday home have to be inspected on a weekly basis and a record of all visits logged.
What to check: What the mandatory excess is as they vary from £50 to £250 depending on the insurer, and any increased excesses that apply to specific claims e.g. flood, subsidence, escape of water. If there is a discount for adding an additional 'voluntary' excess.
Who will you deal with
It's not until you come to make a claim that you realise how good your insurance is.
What to check: Who will be your main point of contact – a call centre overseas? What is their experience in insuring holiday homes? Are they simply recommending the policy because they are getting a commission?
You have the right policy
33% of holiday home owners have the wrong insurance.
What to check: That the policy covers holiday homes/holiday lets. An owner-occupied main residence insurance policy isn't suitable.
Insurance comparison site pitfalls
It's important when using price comparison websites you are aware of their pitfalls.
What to check: Look out for any assumptions and pre-ticked boxes comparison sites make about your property, especially if your holiday home is of non-standard construction or near a river. You don't want to take out an insurance policy that you may not be able to claim on. Policies may appear cheap, but don't offer the level of cover you need or have a large excess. Focus on policies that offer comprehensive cover and value for money - not the just cheapest price. Insurance for holiday homes is only offered by a handful of insurers, many choose not to be featured on price comparison sites. Shop around to compare cover and value for money.
How do we compare? Give us a call on 01204 36 50 80 to discuss our cover.