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Second home insurance

Are you among the 542,864 British households with a second home in the UK? Whether you let it occasionally, rent it out or leave it unoccupied, you’ll want to consider second home insurance.

Here’s what you need to know and how to get cover that’s right for you.

Why is second home insurance different from regular home insurance?

It’s because, very often, you’ll treat your second home differently to your full-time residence. For example, you might:

  • Leave your second home unoccupied for long periods.
  • Let or lend out your property as a holiday home.
  • Rent out your second home long-term.

Doing any of these may break the terms of a standard home insurance policy, meaning that you won’t be covered.

Many people take out home insurance on their second home without telling their insurance provider that the property isn’t their main residence. This could mean you won’t be able to claim on the policy, leaving you to meet the costs of repairs if your home is damaged or replacing your possessions if they’re stolen.

What type of second home insurance should I get?

It depends on what you use your second home for and what you want to protect. It’s always important to tell your insurance provider that the property isn’t your main home, then you can choose the policy options that suit your situation.

There are two types of home insurance: buildings insurance and contents insurance.

Buildings insurance policies for second homes will cover the structure of the building, plus fixtures and fittings like bathroom suites and fitted kitchens. You’ll be covered for damage caused by events like fires, floods and storms.

Second home contents insurance covers the contents of the home, such as furniture and appliances.

And there are optional extras too, such as:

When you compare with us, you can specify that you’re looking for second home insurance or that you’re a landlord – and we’ll get you the quotes you need. 

Home insurance for second homes left unoccupied

Many standard home insurance policies will cover homes that are unoccupied for up to 30 days. If your second home is unoccupied for longer periods, you’ll need to find a home insurance policy that will give you cover for this.

Find out more about unoccupied property insurance

Second home insurance for holiday homes

If you let out your second home as a holiday home, you may need to look for holiday let insurance.

As well as buildings and contents insurance, this can include public liability insurance to cover damage or injury to another person or their property, and legal costs.

If you have a holiday let business and you employ someone to clean, garden or change the sheets and towels between guests, you’re legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. This offers cover if an employee is injured while working for you.

See more on home insurance for holiday homes

Second home insurance for rental properties

If you’re renting out a second home, you’ll need landlord insurance. This offers cover for the specific issues landlords face, and could include public liability insurance and accidental damage insurance.

You can also get cover if your tenant is unable to pay their rent or needs to move into alternative accommodation. This can be valuable protection to have because if rental payments stop, you could be left seriously out of pocket.

Find out more about landlord insurance

Is second home insurance more expensive?

The cost of second home insurance varies. It’s based on factors that include:

  • How you and your family use your second home
  • How regularly the home is used
  • The level of cover you need
  • Where the property is
  • What materials the home is built from – if it’s a thatched cottage, for example.

While second home insurance might cost more than insurance for your main home, it does depend on your circumstances. For example, there could be more risk of you needing to claim on a second home because you’re not there all the time.

But you could have fewer belongings in your second home, so you might need less contents cover, which could result in a cheaper premium. 

Second home insurance for overseas properties

Although you can’t compare second home insurance for overseas properties with us, there are insurance providers that offer it.

You can choose a company in the country where your second home is situated or a UK company specialising in overseas properties.

If you aren’t fluent in the local language, it’s very important to choose a company that provides the policy documents in English, and offers an English-speaking call centre if you need to make a claim.

Did you know?

There are around 299,000 UK residents with second homes in Europe and 79,000 elsewhere in the world.

How to get a good deal on second home insurance

It’s easy to find second home insurance that suits you and won’t break the bank. Tell us a bit about yourself, your home and the level of cover you’ll need. We’ll show you a list of competitive quotes to choose from.

Compare landlord insurance for properties let as holiday homes or long-term lets

Compare landlord insurance

Compare insurance for second homes for personal use

Compare home insurance

What makes a house a second home?

Second homes are treated differently in law and for tax purposes. So it’s important to understand which property counts as a primary residence and which as a second home. You have two years from acquiring a second home to nominate which is your primary residence.

Several things are taken into account, including:

  • Where you’re registered to vote
  • Which address you use for banking and legal purposes
  • Where you keep most of your possessions
  • Where you and your family spend most of your time. 

If you’re not sure which property to nominate, it’s a good idea to consult a tax adviser.

Page last reviewed on 13 SEPTEMBER 2023
by Anna McEntee