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Holiday Cottage Insurance

Choosing 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 holiday home often enough to comply with the minimum occupancy terms and winter warranties? Or there is a burst pipe or a break-in when left unoccupied 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 if you rent out your holiday home to holidaymakers, friends and family. Our comprehensive holiday home insurance UK policy is just that - comprehensive.

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

What is holiday home insurance

Insuring a holiday home is completely different than insuring a permanent home. Standard home insurance is unsuitable for holiday homes and won't cover them. This is because most properties are left empty for more than 30 consecutive days, so the risk of theft, weather or water-related 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 UK holiday home insurance policy that covers the same risks as standard home insurance, but also covers any periods when the holiday home is unoccupied, let to family, friends or rented out short-term to paying guests.

What does holiday home insurance cover?

Much like a standard home insurance policy, UK 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 which covers repairing or rebuilding the structure, and contents insurance which covers damaged or stolen items within the holiday home. 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 holiday home, it's classed as contents. If it would stay behind, it's buildings.

If you rent out your holiday home in the UK to paying guests, you should choose a holiday home insurance policy that is designed to protect you, your property and any holidaymakers who rent it. Choose a policy that includes cover for loss of rent, accidental damage, alternative accommodation, legal expenses, employers and public liability insurance.

Holiday Home 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 aren'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.

Holiday Home Insurance for Contents

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 and renting out holiday homes.

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. Before taking out any insurance policy you should read the policy document so you know what will and won’t be covered.

You can download the full policy below.

Important Holiday Home Insurance Documents

View the policy documents:

Holiday home insurance FAQs

How much should I insure my holiday home for?

Holiday home buildings insurance should cover the cost of rebuilding your holiday home in the UK, 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 holiday home. 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 and 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 several factors to calculate your insurance quote - the property location, property type, security, risk of flooding or subsidence, the level of cover you need 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 additional cover e.g. accidental damage and legal expenses insurance.

When you compare holiday home insurance quotes and cover, choose the most comprehensive insurance for your holiday home - not just the cheapest.

What cover do I need 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 to holidaymakers. The specialist insurance for short-term lets covers the risks associated with letting out your holiday home, such as 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 staying at your property. Some policies cover letting, but not personal use. Something to check when you compare holiday home insurance policies.

Do I need public liability insurance for a holiday home?

If you let out your holiday home to paying guests or friends and family, you'll need public liability insurance.

We will pay for your legal liability as owner or occupier of your holiday home 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 holiday home you still need this cover as a tile could fall off 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.

Do you need insurance for a holiday home?

While holiday home insurance isn’t a legal requirement in the UK, if you have a mortgage on your holiday home, your lender will probably insist that you take out buildings cover. Even if you own your holiday home outright, it’s wise to protect your property. Without insurance cover in place, you’d have to pay for a loss or damage yourself.

Likewise, contents insurance isn’t mandatory, but you should also consider including it in your policy to protect your possessions.

Are there any restrictions when holiday homes are left unoccupied?

Many holiday 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. You'll have complete peace of mind knowing your property is protected when you're not there.

Our cover:

As standard - there are no unoccupancy restrictions or winter warranties. There are no requirements to drain down, leave the heating on or turn off the water. However, 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, so check before you buy.
  • 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 insurance policy has minimum unoccupancy restrictions and security requirements – giving you peace of mind that your holiday home is protected when you need it the most.

What types of holiday homes do you cover?

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 property 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
  • We do not cover static or mobile caravans

Do you cover holiday homes overseas?

No, we only insure properties in the UK.

We no longer offer new business insurance quotes for France, Portugal, Italy and Spain. If you are an existing customer looking to renew, please view our overseas page.

How to reduce your holiday home 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 policy.

  1. Pay holiday home insurance 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 holiday home insurance 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 left unoccupied for long periods 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 cheaper policy could work out more expensive than alternatives 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 holiday home insurance quote?

Your premium is based on several factors relating to you, your holiday 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 holiday 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 UK holiday 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 the 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 cottage 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 holiday home insurance 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 cover 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 your holiday home if it were destroyed.
  • Value of your contents: The cost of replacing the entire contents of your holiday home as new.
  • Security details: What window and door locks you have and if you've got a burglar alarm.
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Why choose us?

Got a question? With nearly 40 years of experience insuring holiday homes, our experienced staff are here to help. You can contact us here or call 01204 365080. Alternatively, getting a quote is straightforward - click on the 'Start your quote' button below.

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Want to learn more about managing a holiday home? Read our helpful guides

Whether you’ve just started out or are an experienced holiday home owner, these guides will help you manage it or get bookings if you rent out.

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