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Your second home is likely to be one of your most valuable assets and getting the right insurance cover whether it's used by you, your friends and family, left unoccupied or rented out is vital.

What is second home insurance?

Second home insurance offers protection for a house that isn’t your main residence. Typically, a property used by you, your friends and family as a weekend retreat, or rented out to paying holidaymakers.

You can’t insure a second home with a standard home insurance policy as a conventional main residence home insurance policy generally won't be valid if the property is being rented out or left unoccupied for long periods. Choosing the wrong policy means that you wouldn’t be covered if something happened.

What you need is a specialist holiday home insurance UK policy that is tailored for letting and protects your home when you're not there.

What does a second home insurance UK policy cover?

There are two types of insurance for second homes: contents insurance and buildings insurance. They can be taken out independently or with a joint policy which is often cheaper than buying two separate policies.

Second home buildings insurance

Second home buildings insurance covers the actual physical structure of your second home (like walls, windows) any outbuildings, garages, swimming pools, walls, gates and fences. These tend to be covered against the cost of repairs or rebuilding following loss or damage caused by fire, storm, flood, burst pipes and subsidence.

Building insurance also covers permanent fixtures and fittings, such as a fitted kitchen and bathrooms.

Second home contents insurance

Contents insurance for second homes typically covers your belongings (everything that you would take with you if you moved house), such as furniture, furnishings and appliances. Most policies cover the contents against theft or damage caused by perils such as fire, storm, flood and escape of water.

Second home house insurance policies do not usually cover personal valuables. If you take valuables to your second home you should insure them under the all-risks section of your main household policy or travel insurance. It also doesn't cover your guests' possessions. They'll need to take out insurance to protect their belongings.

Renting out your second home

If you let out your second home to family, friends or commercially to paying guests, you need a policy that has optional extras that protects you and your property when doing so. Such as:

Key Points

  • Accidental damage, malicious damage and damage caused by a pet
  • Public liability insurance
  • Employers’ liability insurance
  • Theft by guests
  • Loss of rent and alternative accommodation costs
  • Legal expenses cover
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The 1st choice for your 2nd home insurance cover you can rely on all year round

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At Schofields we assess second homes on an individual basis so you get the best quote and cover, whether your second home is let to friends, family or holidaymakers or left unoccupied for long periods.

Second home insurance FAQ's

What makes a home a second home?

A second home is typically used frequently by the owner and family/friends for holidays or let out commercially for short holiday breaks. It is not a main residence.

Am I covered if I let out my second home?

You are covered if you rent out your second home commercially for short term lets to holidaymakers. You will also be covered for use by friends and family

How long can a second home be left unoccupied?

Second homes that are left unoccupied for long periods are likely to be at a higher risk of serious damage which may go unseen - such as escape of water, storms or break-ins.

Therefore, while your second home is unoccupied your insurance provider may alter the terms of your cover. You should check your second home insurance UK policy for unoccupancy restrictions, such as the requirement to turn off the water, drain all water tanks, pipes and apparatus or maintain a minimum temperature of 15°C at all times. You might also have to inspect the property regularly.

A Schofields policy has you covered - as standard there aren’t any unoccupancy restrictions.

How much does second home insurance cost?

When it comes to the cost of insuring your second home it depends on several factors. Such as the level of cover you need, the type of property (is it listed or non-standard construction) the location (is it a flood risk), security devices used, your claims history and the excess.

The buildings insurance 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, for example, accidental damage and legal expenses insurance.

What do I need to know to get an insurance quote for my second home?

  • You will need to know the rebuild cost of your second home, not your home’s market value, and the value of your belongings to be insured.
  • You will also need details of the property type, number of bedrooms, the year it was built, how it's heated and a few structural details e.g. what the exterior walls are made of, type of roof and how much flat roof space you have.
  • 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.
  • What window and door locks you have and if you've got a burglar alarm.
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