Holiday home insurance

Unlike your usual home, your holiday property may need extra insurance, especially if it’s left empty for long periods of time. Find out what you need to protect your holiday home.

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How is insuring a UK holiday home different from insuring my permanent home?

Insuring your holiday getaway is different to insuring your main home because the way you use it is different: you won’t live at your holiday home full-time and you might rent it out to paying guests.

These things can make your holiday home more vulnerable. If there’s a leak in the roof, say, there may not be anyone there to notice it before it does a lot of damage. And an empty house can be easier to break into. Plus, paying guests could damage your property or injure themselves while they’re there.

Specialist holiday home insurance can cover these risks, giving you peace of mind that your home-away-from-home is protected.

Do I need holiday home insurance?

You’re not legally required to take out holiday home insurance, but if you have a mortgage your lender will most likely insist you have buildings insurance. You’ll also want to consider cover for your furniture and possessions in case they’re damaged or stolen, otherwise you could find yourself seriously out of pocket.

What’s covered by holiday home insurance?

Buildings and contents insurance for a holiday home will typically cover the same things as a standard home insurance policy. But, depending on the provider, specialist holiday home and holiday let policies could also include:

  • cover for holiday homes that are empty for more than 30 consecutive days
  • cover for friends and family as well as paying guests
  • public liability cover if you let out your holiday home to paying guests.

Can I get a standard home insurance policy to cover my holiday home?

Standard home insurance won’t be suitable for a holiday home as many policies won’t cover homes that are unoccupied for more than 30 days.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need buildings insurance for a holiday home?

If you have a mortgage on your holiday home, your mortgage provider will probably insist you have buildings insurance. But even if you own your holiday home outright, it makes sense to be covered by buildings insurance if its structure is damaged – by a fire, flood or storm, for example.

Make sure you have enough buildings insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your holiday home – not what you could sell it for. When calculating the rebuild cost, remember to include any outdoor features like outbuildings, swimming pools, tennis courts or hot tubs. We can help you work out the rebuild cost accurately when you start a quote with us.

Do I need contents insurance for a holiday home?

If you leave furniture, utensils, TVs or prints on the wall, it’s a good idea to have contents insurance

Because holiday homes are generally empty for longer than normal homes, they could be more likely to be broken into. Some insurance providers will insist you have certain security measures in place before they’ll agree to cover the contents in your holiday home. Consider installing a burglar alarm or other security precautions. Smart home technology can potentially help, with the ability to turn lights on and off remotely, open and close blinds or curtains, monitor motion detectors and more.

It’s not just burglary you have to worry about: imagine if your holiday home was flooded or caught fire. Think about how much it would cost to replace all the items in each room, including the carpets and curtains.

What add-ons might I need?

In addition to what’s normally covered by a standard policy, you may want to consider some optional extras, like accidental damage. Other people may not take quite as much care of your property as you would - and accidents do happen. A glass of red wine spilled over your sofa, or kids playing indoors with a ball and breaking something, could mean you’ll have to pay for replacement items. Paying extra for accidental damage cover could be worth it.

Because you’re not in your property all the time and because you may not be familiar with good local tradespeople, you might want to consider paying extra for home emergency cover. This gives you a number to call if you urgently need a plumber or electrician, for example.

There are other extras available that might prove useful for a holiday home, giving you peace of mind for a small extra cost. For example, you could also add legal assistance cover. This protects you against the costs of being sued or having to make a claim against someone else under a range of circumstances, like disputes with neighbours about noise or boundaries.

What if I rent out my holiday home?

If you rent out your holiday home, you might want to consider specialist holiday let insurance. This is designed to protect you, your property and any holidaymakers who rent it out. As well as buildings and contents cover, holiday let insurance can include:

  • Public liability insurance – this covers legal fees and compensation costs if one of your guests is injured on your property.
  • Loss of rental income – this could cover loss of income if you have to cancel any bookings because of damage to the property caused by a flood, fire or storm. It’s wise to check the policy details to see what cover is provided if you have to cancel bookings, as this will vary among providers.
  • Alternative accommodation – this can cover costs if your property is damaged and you have to find somewhere else for your guests to stay.
  • Employers’ liability insurance – a legal requirement if you employ someone to take care of your holiday home: for example, a gardener or cleaner. It can cover the cost of compensation claims if they’re hurt or become ill as a result of working for you.
  • Legal expenses cover – if a guest refuses to leave, for example, you might need legal help to resolve the situation.

While you can’t compare holiday let insurance with us, there are insurance providers that offer it.

What won’t holiday home insurance cover?

Exclusions will depend on the insurance policy you choose, so it’s important to read the terms and conditions before you buy. Some policies won’t cover holiday homes that:

  • are let for hen and stag parties
  • are let for an extended period
  • have more than a certain number of bedrooms - whether they’re used as bedrooms or not
  • built from non-standard materials. For example, if your holiday home is a thatched cottage, you may need non-standard home insurance.

Some policies won’t pay out for claims for theft unless specific security equipment is installed or there’s been forcible entry to the property, so make sure you check the policy details before you buy so you know exactly what you’re insured for.

How long can I leave my holiday home empty for?

It depends on your insurance policy. Some will only cover an unoccupied property for up to 90 consecutive days. Others have no limit, so you’ll be covered however long the property’s left empty for.

If your home is empty over winter, check whether there are any requirements in the policy such as draining down water systems, leaving the heating on or turning off the water.

Can I get holiday let insurance for properties overseas?

While you can’t compare holiday home insurance for properties abroad with us, there are providers that offer it – both local to your property and those based in the UK. 
If you aren’t fluent in the local language, it’s very important to choose a provider that gives you the policy documents in English and offers an English-speaking call centre if you need to make a claim. And don’t look at price alone – check out the features of the policy to make sure it’s right for you.

What types of property can I get holiday home cover for?

Most holiday home policies cover different types of property, including country cottages, chic city pads and beachfront getaways.

Check with your provider to make sure your property type is covered before you buy a policy.

How can I save money on my holiday home insurance premium?

As with standard home insurance, there are ways to help reduce the cost of your holiday home premium.

  • Pay annually – it can often work out cheaper to pay your premium in one lump sum as you’re usually charged interest if you pay by instalments.
  • Combine your buildings and contents – some providers might offer a discount if you buy buildings and contents insurance together.
  • Improve your holiday home security – an alarm system, a strong door and window locks and security lighting could help you get cheaper insurance.
  • Keep up with maintenance and repairs – keeping your holiday home in good condition will help reduce the risk of having to make a claim.

What do I need to get a quote?

To get an insurance quote for your holiday home, we’ll need a few details including:

  • whether you want buildings insurance, contents cover or both
  • any add-ons you might want
  • details about your holiday home
  • the rebuild value of your holiday home. We have a rebuild cost calculator to help you with this when you compare with us.  

Once we have the information we need, we’ll be able to send you a list of quotes to compare.

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Chris King

Home insurance expert

What our expert says

“Flooding is a problem across the country, especially in coastal areas. If you have a waterside holiday home, make sure you have the right level of cover for both your buildings and contents if it’s at risk of damage.”