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Holiday Cottage Insurance

Finding UK holiday home insurance can be confusing. Exclusions and restrictions in the terms and conditions can leave you worried that you might not be covered should you need to claim.

What if you can't visit your property often enough to comply with the minimum occupancy terms and winter warranties. Or there is a burst pipe or a break-in and it's weeks before you discover the damage. None of us likes to think about it, but what if a paying guest who is renting your holiday cottage is injured. Will you be covered?

Schofields specialist insurance for holiday homes in the UK is designed to give you peace of mind. There are no unoccupancy restrictions or winter warranties, plus you are covered when renting to holidaymakers. Our comprehensive policy is just that - comprehensive.

When the unthinkable happens and you need to make a claim, we are there to help you get back to normal.

What is holiday home insurance

Standard home insurance is unsuitable for holiday homes. This is because most properties are left empty for more than 30 consecutive days, so the risk of theft or damage increases. Plus, if you rent your holiday cottage out to paying guests, there’s a further risk of damage or injury.

What you need is a specialist holiday cottage insurance policy that covers all the risks on a standard policy, but also covers any periods when the home is unoccupied, let to family, friends or let out short-term to paying guests.


What does holiday home insurance cover?

Much like a standard home insurance policy, holiday home insurance typically covers your property and belongings for loss or damage due to events like theft, flood, storm, escape of water, subsidence or fire.

The cover is split into two elements: buildings insurance (covers repairing or rebuilding the structure) and contents insurance (which covers damaged or stolen items within the property). These can either be bought separately or combined into one policy.

As a general rule, if it's something you'd take with you if you moved to a new home, it's classed as contents. If it would stay behind, it's buildings.

If you're renting your second home out, you should choose a policy that also includes cover for loss of rent, accidental damage, alternative accommodation, legal expenses, employers and public liability insurance.

Buildings Insurance

Buildings insurance covers the main structure of your holiday home and its permanent fixtures and fittings, such as the roof, walls, floors, ceilings, fitted kitchen or bathrooms if they are damaged. Garages, outbuildings and sheds should be covered too.

Key Points

  • General wear and tear and routine maintenance isn't covered.
  • Make sure the sum insured is enough to cover the cost of rebuilding your holiday home including any outbuildings, swimming pools, tennis courts or hot tubs. The costs for debris removal and professional architect and engineers fees should also be included.
  • Failure to insure for the full reinstatement value could result in the claims settlement being reduced

Contents Insurance

Contents insurance covers your personal belongings such as furniture, kitchen appliances, electricals, soft furnishings and carpets if they're damaged, lost or stolen.

When it comes to insuring your contents, think about how much it would cost to replace all the items in each room.

Key Points

  • Valuables or guests possessions aren't typically covered.
  • Breakdown of household appliances isn't covered.
  • Single items are only covered up to a certain amount.
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Our UK Holiday Home Insurance Cover: What Makes Us Different?

Our specialist holiday home insurance policy includes specific cover that protects your property from the various risks associated with owning a holiday home.

Note: upon review of applications, Underwriters may apply terms.

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A Schofields policy covers all this and so much more

No insurance policy covers 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.

Important Documents

View the policy documents:

Holiday home insurance FAQ's

How much should I insure my holiday home for?

Holiday home buildings insurance should cover the cost of rebuilding your holiday home, including the structure of the building (walls, windows, roof) plus permanent 'fixtures and fittings' such as fitted kitchens. It should also cover any external property such as domestic outbuildings, garages, fixed fuel oil tanks, garden sheds, swimming pools, drives, patios, walls and fences.

When calculating how much buildings insurance you need, note that the sum insured should cover the full rebuilding cost of your property. The rebuild value does not reflect the market value of the property under any circumstances. It is your responsibility to provide an accurate rebuild value.

To obtain your rebuilding value refer to your purchase survey, index link the figure provided if the survey is old and add on any renovation costs. Alternatively, appoint a surveyor from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to assess your home and provide an insurance valuation.

To help you calculate how much you should insure your buildings for check out our guide.

Holiday home contents insurance should cover furniture, household goods, electrical equipment, carpets, curtains, plus items kept in the garden, garage or outbuildings. Typically, contents are considered to be anything you could reasonably remove and take to another home if you moved house.

Your contents insurance should cover the cost of replacing all your household goods as new. To calculate your contents sum insured use a contents calculator or simply go around your house from room to room adding up the value (new for old) of everything.

To help you calculate the cost of your contents, check out our guide.

How much does holiday home insurance cost?

Insurers use a whole host of factors to calculate your premium - property location, the property type, security, risk of flooding or subsidence, how extensive your cover is and how likely the insurer thinks you are to claim.

For buildings insurance the premium is based on the rebuild value and contents insurance is based on how much it would cost to replace your belongings. There may also be an additional cost to add extra cover e.g. accidental damage and legal expenses insurance.

When comparing quotes and cover you want the best insurance for your holiday home, not the cheapest.

What if I rent out my holiday home?

Our flexible 'catch-all' policy covers you whether you use your holiday cottage yourself, lend it to friends and family or rent it out as a commercial holiday let. The specialist insurance for short term lets covers public and employers' liability insurance, theft or damage by guests/pets, the cost of alternative accommodation and loss of rental income.

Less comprehensive policies out there don't cover commercial holiday letting or friends saying at your property. Then there are policies that cover letting, but not personal use. Something to check when comparing policies.

Do I need public liability insurance for a holiday home?

If you're letting out your holiday house, you'll need public liability insurance.

We will pay for your legal liability as owner or occupier of your holiday property for any amounts you become legally liable to pay (of up to £5m) for claims from an injured person or damaged property. Cover is provided under our buildings or contents policy – note we don't offer a standalone public liability policy.

This cover will protect you if someone is injured, falls ill or dies while they're on your property and subsequent legal action. Even if you don't let your home you still need this cover as a tile could fall off of your roof and injure a visitor or someone could trip up over a loose rug.

Likewise, employers' liability of up to £5m is also included. This protects you in the event of someone directly employed by you having an accident and claiming for injuries, such as a gardener or housekeeper.

Are there any unoccupancy restrictions?

Many second homes are left empty for long periods and it's during these periods that significant damage occurs. The expensive and disruptive damage caused by escape of water (burst pipes) can easily run into six figures, costing UK insurers nearly £1 billion a year. Empty properties are also easy targets for burglars.

We are confident that our unoccupancy cover and winter warranties are much more flexible than other insurers.

Our cover:

There are no unoccupancy restrictions or winter warranties. As standard, there are no requirements to drain down, leave the heating on or turn off the water. Upon review of applications, the Underwriters may apply terms.

Excess: The first £500 of every claim for escape of water from fixed water tanks, apparatus or pipes. The excess can be reduced for an additional premium.

  • we don't require specific security measures and cover theft by non-forced entry

Other insurers typically:

  • will not pay for loss or damage unless the water pipes, tanks and appliances are drained, or that the minimum temperature is maintained (15oc) when holiday homes are not being stayed in overnight or left uninhabited for more than 48 hours in winter. The unoccupied timescales vary by insurers but are often restrictive.
  • have a higher excess for escape of water claims
  • exclude theft unless specific security measures are installed or there is forcible and violent entry.

As you can see our policy has minimum unoccupancy restrictions and security requirements – giving you peace of mind that your property is protected when you need it the most.

Is my property suitable?

A holiday home or second home risk is one where the property is:

  • Occupied as a weekend or holiday home by the proposers family/friends or
  • Let commercially on a short term basis as holiday accommodation
  • No more than 8 bedrooms (whether used as bedrooms or not)
  • Situated in England, Scotland and Wales
  • Built of brick, stone or concrete and roofed with slates, tiles, asphalt or concrete
  • A wooden lodge securely built on a concrete base with a pitched roof tiled with tiles or slates

The home should not be:

  • Used for business (other than holiday letting)
  • A main residence or an unoccupied main residence
  • Let on a long term basis to tenants
  • Permanently unoccupied
  • Permanently left empty and unused
  • In the course of construction
  • Being renovated

How to reduce your insurance premium

Shopping around for quotes isn't the only way to save. Here are some tips that could help you save some money on your holiday home insurance premium.

  1. Pay annually
    It's often cheaper to pay the premium annually in one lump sum rather than paying monthly as most insurers will charge interest or an admin fee if you opt to pay monthly.
  2. Buy a combined policy
    Buying buildings and contents insurance from the same insurer will often save you money compared to buying each separately. Plus, there's often only one excess to pay and reporting to one insurer can make claims simpler.
  3. Increase your excess
    Opting to pay a higher voluntary excess can lower your insurance premium.
  4. Improve the security
    Because holiday homes are generally empty more often than main residences, they are more likely to be broken into. Installing insurer-approved locks on your doors and windows and adding extra security such as a burglar alarm can reduce the price of your insurance.
  5. Check for admin costs
    Look out for extra charges to amend your policy. A more expensive policy could work out cheaper when admin fees are factored in.
  6. Don't over-insure
    Overestimating the rebuild cost of your property and the value of your contents will increase your premium, so ensure the figures are accurate.
  7. Build your no claims discount
    Most insurers offer a discount on your premium if you've gone several years without a claim.

What factors affect your insurance quote?

Your premium is based on several factors relating to you, your home, the value of your items and the risk of loss and damage. The greater the risk, the higher your insurance quote is likely to be.

  • The location If there is a high crime rate or if the area is exposed to severe weather conditions or subsidence resulting in more insurance claims.
  • Size of your home If you own a large property in a tourist hotspot, the cost to have it rebuilt is likely to increase the quote.
  • Flood risk Homes near rivers, streams, canals, waterways or the sea are generally more expensive to insure due to a higher risk of flooding.
  • Age and property structureThe age of your property and materials used to build it can impact your premium. For example, buildings made from non-standard materials and listed buildings.
  • Your lifestyle If you're away from your holiday property for long periods or if you have any or a pending criminal conviction.
  • Value of your contents The more expensive your belongings are, the more it will cost you to replace them and get them insured.
  • Previous claims Your claims history is taken into consideration.

What details do you need to get a quote

It's useful to have the following information to hand:

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  • Property details: Address, property type, number of bedrooms, the year it was built, how it's heated and a few structural details e.g. what your exterior walls are made of, type of roof and how much flat roof space you have.
  • About your cover: Do you need buildings insurance, contents only or buildings and contents, and when do you need the cover to start?
  • About you: Your contact details, correspondence address and occupation.
  • Claims: Any claims you have made in the last five years and if the property has ever suffered from flooding or movement caused by subsidence, heave or landslip.
  • Rebuild cost: The amount it would take to rebuild the property if it were destroyed.
  • Value of your contents: The cost of replacing the entire contents of your home as new.
  • Security details: What window and door locks you have and if you've got a burglar alarm.
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We no longer offer brand new insurance for France, Portugal, Italy and Spain. If you are seeking a renewal, please view our overseas page.