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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.

Holiday Home Insurance UK: What Makes Us Different?

  • No unoccupancy restrictions No requirement to inspect or occupy your holiday cottage regularly.
  • No winter warranties As standard, no requirement to drain down, leave the heating on or turn off the water. (Upon review of applications, Underwriters may apply terms).
  • A flexible policy You are covered whether you use your holiday property yourself, let to friends & family or rent it out commercially to paying guests.
  • No security stipulations We don't insist on fitting specific locks to doors and windows. (For contents sum insured over £40,000 Underwriters may apply terms).
  • Full theft cover with no requirement to prove forced entry If someone goes out and leaves a window open, most policies don't cover you for theft unless someone forcibly breaks in, but Schofields do.
  • £5m public liability insurance Essential cover in case someone has an accident at your UK holiday home and claims against you. If you have a pool or hot tub you're covered too.
  • £5m employers' liability insurance In case someone employed at your property has an accident and makes a claim, such as your cleaner or housekeeper.
  • Accidental damage to contents The cover can be extended to include damage to contents caused by you, guests or pets.
  • Accidental damage to buildings There is the option to include accidental damage to buildings.
  • Loss of pre-booked rental income If your self catering cottage can't be used due to a claim, we'll cover the loss of pre-booked rentals.
  • Alternative accommodation costs We'll cover the cost incurred in providing alternative accommodation for holidaymakers in the property at the time loss or damage occurs.
  • Legal expenses insurance Covers eviction of overstaying guests, property infringement, consumer, residential and tax protection. (Optional)
  • We believe claiming should be hassle free Our friendly UK-based advisors are here to assist you get back to normal after a claim.
  • An established specialist Schofields have specialised in insuring holiday homes since 1984 through certain Underwriters at Lloyds of London.

A Schofields policy covers all this and so much more

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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 upfront with the facts. You can download the full policy below.

Important Documents

View the policy documents:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is holiday home insurance UK?

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?

Like standard house insurance, holiday home insurance is split into two elements, buildings and contents cover. 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.

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.

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.

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 Great Britain, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man (excludes Northern Ireland)
  • 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
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.

Do I need public liability insurance for a holiday let?

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.

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 rental 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 rentals 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.

Holiday Home Insurance UK - Comparison Checklist

Insurance policies vary so it's important that you check that your policy covers all of your requirements and meets your needs. Take a look at our checklist to help you find a policy that's right for you.

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