Matthew Ashton

Written by

Matthew Ashton

8 minute read

Updated 4th March 2024

As a high-value home insurance customer, chances are you own a second property, and letting it out when you’re not there has probably crossed your mind. If you decide to let out your second property or are already letting it out, it is crucial to be aware of the risks and why having the right holiday home insurance product in place will protect you.

What is holiday home insurance?

Second-home/holiday-home insurance differs from main-home insurance and applies to properties not listed as a primary and permanent residence. If you plan on renting your second home/holiday home to pay guests, you’ll need specific holiday home insurance to protect you from potential risks. In short, when speaking with your insurance broker, you’ll need to specify your home as a second home/holiday home.

Second or holiday home insurance carries a greater risk of damage when compared to main home insurance due to several factors:

  1. Increased periods of unoccupancy between visits to the property means any potential damage might take longer to spot, increasing the severity of the claim made.
  2. People residing at the property who do not have an insurable interest could be more careless about potential damage.
  3. Increased footfall at the property exposes the holiday homeowner to potential liability claims.

Do I need holiday home insurance?

Like high-value home insurance, second or holiday home insurance is not a legal requirement; however, without it, you are opening yourself up to huge risks and costs when renting out your second home to paying customers. Even if you’ve never faced these issues, it is better to be covered than incur the stress and cost of any fortuitous or sudden event leading to a loss or potential loss.

In many cases, agencies that manage holiday home properties will usually require you to have holiday home insurance before they will take you on as a client, so it’s always good to check first.

Benefits of holiday home insurance

Here are some of the key benefits of holiday rental insurance.

  • It covers you against public liability issues. This protects you if visitors, trespassers, or paying guests are injured or suffer property damage in your second home and decide to take legal action against you or your company because they believe your negligence caused the injury.
  • You are covered against employer liability. This covers any staff at the property, including gardeners, cleaners, and maintenance workers, should they suffer an injury and, like above, believe your negligence has caused this.
  • Loss of rent, loss of income, or alternative accommodation. A holiday home policy protects you against loss of rental income or provides alternate accommodation for the tenant if you can’t let out your property due to damage or when damage happens whilst a tenant is on-site and requires re-housing.
  • Peace of mind is one of the most impactful parts of holiday home insurance as it allows you to sleep peacefully, knowing that should issues arise from renting out your holiday home you are likely to be covered and saved from possible anguish and stress
  • Escape of water cover. Escape of water can cause significant damage to a home. The risk is increased in a second or holiday home, as there could be a considerable gap between visits to the property. The right second home insurance policy will include the escape of water as standard, but be weary of the lower-cost products on the market.
  • Accidental damage cover. Accidental damage protects your buildings and contents against damage caused by renters and their guests. Be weary; however, few second home/holiday home insurance products provide this, so check the details.
  • Key cover and replacement. You can be covered and reimbursed for replacing keys and locks.
  • Standard perils included. A comprehensive second home or holiday home policy will cover all the standard perils as expected on the main home, such as subsidence, flood, falling trees, storm, et al.

What insurance do I need for my holiday home?

It can be challenging to navigate what holiday home insurance is right for you, so it’s essential to understand the different types of insurance and what they all cover.

A high-quality second or holiday home insurance product will cover everything you’d expect from your main home, including comprehensive building and contents insurance, liabilities, legal cover, and home emergency protection. We recommend adding your second or holiday home to your main high-value home insurance product. This will extend your excellent level of coverage on the main home to the additional properties.

Adding the second or holiday home to your high-value home policy may cost you slightly more than purchasing an off-the-shelf second home product from the open market. However, it is money well spent due to the increased cover on offer, the simplicity of a synchronised renewal date and a first-class broker service.

Contents insurance for holiday homes

Items kept at a second or holiday home can be valuable. Whether it’s an heirloom, a unique piece of furniture or just items you’d like to protect, second or holiday home contents insurance covers you against a range of perils, including damage and theft. Here are some important top tips for considering contents insurance:

  • Determine your required cover by creating an inventory of all your items and their estimated value.
  • Second or holiday home contents insurance does not cover the paying guests personal belongings.
  • If you plan on allowing pets on your holiday, read the small print of the policy wording to ensure damage by pets its covered.

Suppose you have art, books or any other valuable collections at your second or holiday home; these are often only partially included in your home contents insurance due to their high value. Ensure to specify the value required for such items as they may not be covered under the general contents section.

Holiday home public liability insurance

Having public liability insurance is peace of mind, as the financial burden you can face without it can be crippling. If one of your guests or someone they bring into your property is injured or cause accidental damage, you will likely be left with the bill if you’re proven to be negligent in some way. Public liability insurance covers you against these incidents.

Consider the possible injury risks on your property – do you have an open fire, steep stairs, a swimming pool, a hot tub, or slick floors? All of these hazards can lead to guests injuring themselves. You may introduce every preventative measure to reduce the risk of any injury, but still, as we know, accidents happen. It is essential to check the level of liability coverage within your second or holiday home insurance products. Typically, most products offer £2,000,000 of cover for public liability on a second or holiday home. This is increased to £10,000,000 on a second or holiday home added to a high-value home policy.

Burglary and theft cover

Since second or holiday homes might not be frequently occupied, they can be more susceptible to burglars. Additionally, guests likely won’t take the same care in securing all windows and doors, as they may be in a rush when leaving. This is why it is vital to take precautions and get proper coverage:

  • Cancel any regular deliveries to the property if it will be vacant for a while.
  • Ensure lawns are cut and don’t become overgrown, as this can be a sign of burglars.
  • Invest in a burglar alarm and surveillance cameras, as these not only help catch burglars but can deter them altogether.
  • Have a trusted employee or friend check the property to see if it will be vacant, making sure windows and doors are locked.
  • Purchase timed plugs which can turn lights on and off at regular intervals.

Building insurance for holiday homes

Building insurance covers you against structural damage to your second or holiday home, including the roof, the walls and permanent fixtures like bathrooms and kitchens. Here are some tips when considering building insurance:

  • Find out how much it would cost to rebuild your holiday home to get the right coverage for your property. If you have a high value home, getting this assessed by an experienced surveyor can be helpful.
  • If you are still paying off the mortgage on your holiday home, your mortgage provider will likely urge you to take out building insurance before renting out your property.
  • Ensure you factor in any outbuildings; otherwise, your insurer may not cover them.
  • Refrain from understating the rebuild costs of your property, as this will lead to you being underinsured.
  • When making improvements to your holiday home, such as adding in a cinema room or a hot tub, mention this to your insurer if you’re in between renewals so you’ll continue to be fully insured.

Check if your insurance provider has any restrictions for when your property is empty and check the visitation clauses which could apply.

Holiday home insurance, what else do I need to know

A key consideration is finding out what your insurer will cover, at Stanhope, we recommend adding second and holiday homes to your high-value home insurance products. This ensures a synchronised renewal date, excellent coverage, first class claims service and high levels of cover. Typically, such cover includes:

  • Buildings insurance
  • Contents insurance
  • Public liability cover
  • Employers liability
  • Accidental damage
  • Loss of income
  • Alternative accommodation
  • Reasonable warranties and endorsements

However, not all insurers are as comprehensive, it is recommended to talk with your potential provider, asking questions on what will be covered.

Holiday Home In Countryside

How much will it cost to insure my second or holiday home?

A difficult question to answer! We suggest using our high-value home insurance cost calculator as a starting point, but you’re better placed to talk with your broker.

Some other factors to consider

There are many elements to second or holiday home insurance. You’ll feel more relaxed knowing you’re with an excellent broker recommending a high-quality product. Here are some additional elements you may want to include in your second or holiday home insurance:

  • Loss of income: This covers you when your property is not habitable for guests but has pre-booked rental income, which can lead to lost bookings. In these instances, you’ll be covered for income you could’ve made during that period.
  • Alternative accommodation: If your property becomes uninhabitable while guests are there, it can be a nightmare. However, alternative accommodation coverage means your insurer will cover moving your guests to alternative accommodation.
  • Employers’ liability insurance: If you are employing staff at your holiday home, such as cleaners or a gardener, you will need to consider whether you want to insure against any potential injury or damage to the property that may occur during their work.
  • Legal expense cover: This insurance covers legal fees, compensation and appeal costs for any litigation if you become involved as the property owner.
  • Home emergency cover: This comes in handy if there is an emergency requiring immediate remedial work, such as the boiler breaking down, the front door broken and not secured, or there is an electrical failure. Typically, such cover will look to repair the damage(s) within 24 hours.

How to choose the best holiday home insurance?

Get the right level of cover

Second or holiday home insurance will vary depending on what provider you choose, so it’s important to find one that fits the needs of your property especially if you have special features like a flat or thatched roof. Our top tip, add the second or holiday home to your high-value home insurance product.

Find the right extras

This all depends on what your property is like and the offerings included, so if you allow pets or have employed people to work on your holiday home, extra cover is available to help you out.

Review the terms and conditions

You must read these on all insurance policies, but it is essential for second or holiday home insurance. You should understand how much you’re covered for loss of rental income, accidental damage, and if any guests are injured on your property. Knowing the terms and conditions can be the difference between paying thousands or being covered for an incident

Frequently Asked Questions

What insurance do you need for Airbnb?

Airbnb hosts will want the following coverage.

  • Loss of rental income cover.
  • Public liability insurance for your Airbnb.
  • Building insurance for your Airbnb.
  • Home care emergency cover for your Airbnb.
  • Home contents insurance for your Airbnb.
  • Accidental damage cover for your Airbnb.

Do I need to register my holiday home as a business?

As of April 2023, to qualify for business rates, your property must be available for short-term letting for a minimum of 252 days per year and be habited by paying customers for a minimum of 182 days in any 12 months.

Do you need a fire certificate for a holiday home?

If you’re renting out your holiday home, you must carry out and document a Fire Risk Assessment. The document should also be displayed on the property

Does main house insurance cover Airbnb?

In short, regular home insurance will not cover you for paying guests on your property. So, if you plan to rent your property, notify your broker before doing so.

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Written by Matthew Ashton

I started working in the insurance industry in 2004. Four years later, I left to focus on theological studies, working as a youth worker and then as a ministry director in Seattle, USA. When returning to the UK, I had an opportunity to work for the late Andrew Marchington. I joined his firm as a sales advisor when it had around ten staff members. Within three years, I was Head of Ops with a staff team of over 30 people. After a chance encounter in 2019 with Rachel Living and Will Cooper, I co-started Stanhope to build a high-value home, luxury watch, and jewellery broker synonymous with trust. I love being with Donna, my wife, and four kids when not working, cramming in the odd row, or running when I can. I am fortunate to love what I do and consider it a blessing to grow the Stanhope brand.

Matthew Ashton

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