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A simple guide: alternative accommodation insurance

A simple guide: alternative accommodation insurance

Nobody wants to be left out in the cold – so do you know if your current home insurance policy includes cover for alternative accommodation?

Chris King
From the Home team
3
minute read
posted 17 FEBRUARY 2020

What is alternative accommodation cover?

If your house becomes uninhabitable because of an event that you’re insured for, such as a flood or fire, then your insurance provider could pay for the costs of temporary alternative accommodation while repairs take place. Mostbuildings insurance and contents policies will include alternative accommodation cover, but check the terms and conditions carefully just to be sure. It’s also worth checking what limits might apply – there’s usually a maximum amount you can claim for alternative accommodation costs, so make sure you’re comfortable with the cover offered.

What type of alternative accommodation could I be offered?

The aim is to provide you with ‘reasonable’ accommodation that will let you carry on as normal and not stop you from commuting to work, taking children to school  or taking part in your usual leisure activities. You shouldn’t be expected to stay in a two-bedroom house if you have four children, for example.

The type of accommodation you’re offered is likely to be dependent upon the circumstances of your claim. If you need to be out the house for a couple of days or weeks, then you might be put up in a hotel or B&B. You could also choose to stay with your family.

If you’re likely to be out your home for several months due to the extent of damage, it’s more likely that a rental property would be offered.

What about my pets and belongings?

If you can’t take your pets to your temporary new home, your insurance provider might pay for kennel or cattery fees. Some insurance providers will also cover storage costs for your belongings.  

It’s important to check your policy if you need this, as cover varies according to provider. 

How much am I covered for?

Policies tend to vary among providers, but you could expect cover for around 20% of the sum insured towards alternative accommodation costs. 

What if I’m a landlord?

If you rent out a property and your tenancy agreement states that you’ll provide alternative accommodation for tenants, you might also want to check that your landlord insurance includes it. 

For what reasons can I make a claim for alternative accommodation?

You can make a claim for any insured event that has made your home uninhabitable. Examples include:

Check your policy carefully, as each insurance provider has their own definition of ‘uninhabitable’. In most cases it would cover loss of:

  • water
  • toilets or bathrooms
  • kitchen
  • heating, especially during the winter months
  • sleeping facilities
  • plus structural damage as the result of the insured event, which leaves the property in an unsafe condition

What else should I consider about alternative accommodation cover?

A very important point to remember is that your insurance provider will need to approve, and in some cases even choose, the accommodation where you’ll be staying, as well as tradespeople to carry out the necessary repairs to your damaged property.

Moving into accommodation or carrying out works without telling your insurance provider could invalidate your claim. 

What’s next?

We can help you find and compare a range of trusted home insurance providers that offer alternative accommodation cover.

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