William Cooper

Written by

William Cooper

2 minute read

Updated 14th February 2024

Second homes can often be bought as an investment to use the rental income as a second pension or they could be bought for solely enjoyment purposes, a more tranquil way of life in the countryside or near the sea.

After reading Julian Baggini’s recent article in the Financial Times House & Home section, “Is owning a second home unethical? A philosopher reflects”, I began to question the very safety of the hundreds of second homes we insure at Stanhope.

The attitude in the UK towards second home ownership is unmistakeably hostile.

Baggini mentions that back in July Leeds Building society announced it would stop offering mortgages on them!
Second homes “reduce the number of properties available for people to live in, at a time when there’s a wide consensus that housing supply in the UK is inadequate to meet demand”, said chief executive Richard Fearon.”

The FT article also references the 2019 film Bait which portrays the tensions that arise between locals and tourists in a Cornish fishing village against a backdrop of second homes, short term lets and gentrification.

I’m an insurance broker, I don’t intend to weigh in on the debate of whether gentrification is good or bad or whether owning a second home is unethical or not.

What I’m concerned about is the safety of these homes and the steps our clients should take to make sure their prized assets always remain secure.

What we certainly don’t want is a repeat of the campaign of the Welsh nationalist group Meibion Glyndwr, who set fire to more than 200 English owned holiday homes in the 1980s.

These grievances are very real and given the current cost of living crisis, owning a second home is a sensitive matter.  

6 Top Tips to Keep your Second Home Safe

  1. Don’t leave valuable items at your second home when you are not living there
  2. Be careful how and where you advertise that the property is available for rent.
  3. Try to integrate with the local community so as not to be seen as an outsider.
  4. Make sure the property is checked on at least once a week ideally. I know this can be difficult but its worth employing a local property management company to do this on your behalf
  5. Make sure your second home is both locked and alarmed when not in use
  6. Consider using CCTV or at the very least a smart phone friendly device that allows you to view your property when you are not living there.

Why Do you Need Second Home Insurance?

It’s not your main property and it’s sometimes left vacant. If something goes wrong it might not be noticed for a period of time and this increases costs. You should have bespoke cover in place which can provide flexible terms.

A second home is at higher risk of theft, vandalism and water damage due to burst pipes. It’s important to have a high trace and access level of cover.

A standard insurer will restrict cover when a home is unoccupied for more than 30 or 60 consecutive days a year but a non-standard insurer will allow for longer periods of unoccupancy.

If you would like to get an insurance quotation for your second home, please contact a member of the Private Client Team on 01730 777600 or complete an online enquiry form today.

Written by William Cooper

I started insurance broking in 2009. I followed my great-grandfather, grandfather, and father into the world of insurance. In 2019, I decided I wanted to do things differently. I formed Stanhope in 2019 with Matthew Ashton and Rachel Living. We want to shake up the industry! Let's make insurance cool and useful for our customers. Let's improve the customer journey and get them to trust us as their insurance company. Let's pay claims quickly; let's be excellent and honest in all that we do!

William Cooper

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