Do I need UK holiday home insurance?

Posted: 5th May 2018

As early as mid-April, we had a first tantalizing taste of summer (the hottest day in that month for some 70 years, said the Guardian newspaper on the 19th) and the May bank holiday again pulled out all the stops.

If all that helps to pave the way for some gloriously sunny days ahead, it might be time to think seriously about investing in a holiday home in the UK. A second home may allow you to take full advantage of those lazy, hazy days of the perfect British summer – or any other time of year, come to think of it.

If such an investment is at all on the cards, you might also want to take into account your need for UK holiday home insurance.

Here’s why:

A home for some seasons

  • much as you might like it otherwise, at the end of the day a holiday home is just that – a second home to which you retreat when the opportunities arise, but where you do not live the whole year around;
  • there are likely to be significant periods, therefore, when your holiday home stands empty and unoccupied;
  • an empty property is significantly more vulnerable to loss or damage than one that is lived in all of the time;
  • the need for repairs may go unnoticed when there is no one at home, and an unoccupied home tends to attract all manner of unwanted attention from the likes of burglars and other intruders, vandals and even arsonists;
  • as our guide to UK holiday home insurance makes clear, therefore, the specialist policies we arrange typically can take into full account these periods when your second home is likely to stand empty and provides appropriate cover accordingly;
  • with suitable holiday home insurance in place, therefore, you may retain the comprehensive cover for both the building and its contents even when your property is unoccupied;
  • if you are buying the holiday home with the help of a mortgage, the lender typically insists that suitable insurance remains in place at all times, including periods when the property is unoccupied;

Letting your holiday home

  • for many holiday home owners, a second home also offers the opportunity for earning a little extra cash from short-term lettings to visitors and holidaymakers when you are not using it;
  • indeed, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) grants certain tax concessions if your holiday home is made available as a furnished let for a minimum period of the year – as explained in an advisory note dated the 6th of April 2018;
  • when your let property is let on such an occasional, short-term basis, however, you are no longer the sole owner occupier, nor yet a full-time landlord in the ordinary sense of the term – so, neither standard home insurance, nor regular landlord insurance is likely to meet your need for cover;
  • instead, specialist UK holiday home insurance is specifically designed to meet precisely that dual-purpose use of your second home;
  • in addition to the standard risks of loss or damage to your property, some (but not all) policies may also extend cover to damage – malicious or otherwise – caused by the tenants to whom you have temporarily let your holiday home.

If you become the fortunate owner of a holiday home in the UK this coming summer – or, indeed, at any time of the year – therefore, you might want to consider your need for specialist UK holiday home insurance carefully.