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Compare House Insurance Abroad

With an increasing number of Insurers providing property insurance abroad, it's often difficult to choose one policy from another. That's why it's essential to compare overseas home insurance very carefully. Some Insurers claim to provide comprehensive protection that covers all eventualities when your property is unoccupied or let. Scrutinise the small print and you will see there are stringent terms that you must fulfill. Failure to comply with these could mean your claim is invalid.

Language barriers and unfamiliar insurance procedures

Administration and claiming on house insurance abroad can be a stressful and lengthy process, especially when language barriers and unfamiliar legislation complicates matters.

Typically, there are also fixed deadlines for reporting claims with house insurance abroad. This has obvious implications if you discover the damage weeks or even months after it occurred. Cancelling French and Spanish insurance can be complicated compared to the process in the UK. Community buildings insurance policies in Spain often only cover communal areas, not the actual fixtures and fittings within apartments. Traditionally, they also provide very low levels of third party public liability protection.

As you can see, there are many pitfalls and issues to address in securing adequate and effective overseas home insurance. Take a look below at some of the typical risks that can affect UK-based overseas holiday home owners and compare our insurance for property abroad against other policies. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the level of protection and value for money we offer.

Product Features
Schofields
Other Insurers
Damage caused by the escape of water
Yes
Check Terms
Other Insurers

Our experience is that water damage is the main threat that holiday home owners face.

Generally, policies exclude loss or damage caused by water leaks whilst a holiday home is unoccupied unless you comply with the specific policy conditions. Most insurers require that the water is turned off at the mains, all equipment drained to its full extent and that piping and tanks are lagged (often not the case overseas).

During winter months, the temperature in many parts of Europe can plummet below freezing and a large proportion of holiday homes suffer burst pipes. The water can run for several weeks before the leak is discovered. This means that the entire building could be saturated with water, causing substantial damage. Unless the property owner complies with the unoccupancy obligations outlined in the policy, it is unlikely that these claims would be covered.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

Cover is provided for the damage caused by the escape of water subject to the terms and excess, as shown in the policy wording.

No restrictions during periods of unoccupancy
Yes
Check Terms
Other Insurers

Check to see if your insurer has a restriction on the length of time a property can be unoccupied. Usually, restrictions apply when properties are empty. Some policies also require a weekly holiday home inspection. Failure to comply with the unoccupancy requirements could mean your claim is ruled invalid.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

As standard, our policy does not have unoccupancy restrictions. The policy provides comprehensive cover provided you take reasonable precautions to prevent loss or damage.

No security requirements
Yes
Check Terms
Other Insurers

Clear outs are common abroad, especially in rural locations where holiday homes can be stripped completely, including bathrooms and kitchens. Typically, other insurers will not pay out on a theft claim unless certain security measures are in force when your holiday home is unoccupied. Doors must be fitted with a 5-lever mortice deadlock or equivalent, windows must be fitted with key operated security devices, metal grilles or shutters and the burglar alarm must be operational whenever your property is unoccupied. To have security warranties like this written into the policy wording means that unless they are strictly complied with, insurers can easily turn down a claim.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

We do not have any specific security requirements for policies with a contents sum insured that is less than £40,000.

Theft cover
Yes
Check Terms
Other Insurers

It is common for other insurers to only cover theft if there are signs of forced entry, so entry through an open window or by using a key would not be covered. Some policies also exclude theft by tenants (holidaymakers). Check if your contents insurance abroad is providing adequate theft cover.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

Our wide theft cover also includes theft by non-forcible entry and theft by tenants. This means that if a key holder, like a previous guest, contractor or cleaner, enters your house and steals the contents, you will be covered.

Accidental damage to contents when let
Yes
Yes - Optional
Other Insurers

Some Insurers only provide this cover as an optional extra or extension only when the property is used exclusively by the owner. There tends to be no accidental damage cover on offer when the property is lent to friends or relatives and certainly not when let out commercially.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

Accidental damage cover to contents is of great concern to many overseas holiday home owners, especially when the property is being used by others. It's generally true that guests are not as careful as owners and a surprising number of people seem to use beds as ironing boards, or sit on settee arms. Common accidental damage claims include breakage of washing machines or furniture and damage to televisions due to misuse. Schofields accidental damage to contents extension protects you even when you holiday let your property, so you don't have to worry about damage by guests. We also cover malicious damage and damage by pets.

Employers & public liability insurance
Yes
Yes - Low Cover
Other Insurers

Typically, overseas property insurance policies provide low levels of cover (£100,000) or they charge extra to increase this figure. Many policies also exclude liability cover when letting, especially in France.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

We automatically provide £5m public liability cover and £1m employer's liability cover. These are litigious times and liability insurance will cover you for legal costs and expenses following death, injury or damage to a third party on or near your property.

Swimming pools and liability insurance
Yes
No
Other Insurers

Most holiday homes abroad feature a swimming pool. Indeed, for many the ready use of a pool is one of the main attractions of the property in the first place. It is common for foreign insurers to exclude liability for swimming pool usage. This leaves you potentially exposed to legal action following injury to third parties in or around the pool.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

Swimming pools (and covers) are insured under the buildings section of a Schofields overseas home insurance policy. Protection includes public liability insurance of £5m, which covers liability claims arising from the usage of swimming pools. E.g. in the event of an accident in or around swimming pool such as slips and trips or cuts from broken tiles.

Excess
Yes
Yes - High
Other Insurers

Many insurers have a high excess. Consequently, in the event of a small claim it may not be worth claiming if your excess is high. There will be an additional cost (on top of your premium) of the excess in the event of any claim, which is likely to be more than the small saving made by having a higher excess. It is common for earthquake claims to have an excess calculated as a percentage of the buildings sum insured. This could be tens of thousands of pounds. Check your excess.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

Our policy has a low standard £50 excess, increased to £300 for earthquake damage and £250 for escape of water and damaged by the weight of snow claims. Our premiums are very competitive, however you can opt for a higher excess in order to lower the premium.

Temporary accommodation and loss of rent
Yes
Check Terms
Other Insurers

If you are letting out your property and it becomes uninhabitable due to flooding for example, other policies only cover the costs of alternative accommodation incurred by the policyholder. Paying guest who may be using the property are not covered. It is also wise to check what loss of rent cover is provided should you have to cancel bookings.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

A Schofields holiday home insurance policy will cover additional accommodation expenses incurred by you and your guests. We'll also cover you for the loss of pre-booked rental income in an amount of up to twice the contents sum insured.

Claims handling
Yes
Yes - Outsourced?
Other Insurers

With some policies, claims are dealt with by the insurer and not the broker or representative you initially dealt with. Dealing with claims handlers abroad, in a foreign language can further complicate the process. If you opt for a UK based Insurer ask how they manage claims abroad? do they appoint loss adjusters?

Benefits of a Schofields policy

Claims are dealt with by our dedicated in house insurance experts with over twenty years experience and a proven track record in resolving common holiday home claims. For substantial claims we will arrange for a bilingual adjuster to attend your property.

Emergency travel
Yes
Check Terms
Other Insurers

Some foreign policies offer this cover but it's highly conditional. There's usually a limit on the amount of cover for emergency travel and you are only covered if the property is deemed "uninhabitable". This is a term which is open to many levels of interpretation at the insurer's discretion

Benefits of a Schofields policy

Our Underwriters will include all such emergency travel costs in a claim settlement when, as is often the case, the attendance on site mitigates the overall cost of the claim.

No foreign regulations
Yes
No
Other Insurers

Insurance regulations and conditions are not universal and the terms for insurance you may reasonably expect in the UK are not the same abroad. With insurance in France, there is generally a timescale to report storm damage and flood claims after they occur. There are also minimum wind speed and rainfall limits that have to be reached before a storm claim is valid. Unless you are fluent in the native language, understand the scope and restrictions of cover can be a problem.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

With a UK sourced policy, you don't have to worry about obscure laws, regulations and exclusions that feature in most foreign policies. Our policy wording is clear and unambiguous, written in plain English so you know exactly what is covered.

Cancelling insurance
Yes
Complicated

Cancelling French and Spanish insurance can be very complex compared to the process in the UK. You can't cancel at the last minute with a phone call (insurance in France automatically renews) and must give written notice of cancellation.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

If you don't wish to renew you can simply inform us or let the policy lapse.

Complaints procedure
Yes
Complicated

Overseas insurers also have their own labyrinthine complaints procedures and unlike the UK, customers of these foreign providers generally do not have recourse to the equivalent of an ombudsman or the FSA.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

With UK insurance, consumers can pursue complaints with the ombudsman.

Theft from outbuildings
Yes
Yes - Low Cover
Other Insurers

Typically, if this cover is offered at all, there is a very low limit on theft from outbuildings.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

We offer this cover and do not have any limit. It's surprising how the value of a lawnmower, barbecues, garden tools and garden furniture can quickly add up to a substantial sum.

If you have a ride on lawnmower or quad bike at the premises these items must be disclosed on your application form.

Accidental damage to domestic supplies
Yes
Yes - Low Cover
Other Insurers

Some insurers have a limit for what they pay out for accidental damage to domestic supplies, for example underground water supplies. £500 is a fairly typical average limit imposed by most, but these claims can run into thousands of pounds, so £500 is not nearly enough.

Benefits of a Schofields policy

Our cover on accidental damage to domestic supplies is unlimited.

The above is a summary of cover and should be read in conjunction with the full terms and conditions of a Schofields policy. We suggest that you check your own policy when comparing insurance for a home abroad.

Protect your overseas home, villa or apartment today, we provide the following policies:

House insurance in Spain
French home insurance
Home insurance in Portugal
Home insurance in Italy

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