Holiday homes are by nature vacant for a large portion of the year. Unfortunately, this leaves them at increased risk of damage. A home is generally defined as unoccupied if it hasn’t been occupied in over 40 consecutive days therefore, it is important to ensure your insurance policy has the correct occupancy noted.
If it is a holiday home make sure that your broker/insurer is aware so they can ensure you have the correct cover as failure to provide them with the correct occupancy details could limit the cover you have in the event of a claim. As a result, we’ve used our industry experience to detail exactly why insurance for holiday homes is needed, and what you can do to further protect your property.
Why do you need to maintain insurance for holiday homes year round?
As they aren’t occupied year round, holiday homes experience greater risk levels. One of the biggest threats is of course burglary. The lack of a permanent presence at a property will make it attractive to prospective thieves, and unfortunately also increases the chances of their break-in attempts succeeding.
Even if the home is empty, they may still attempt to steal building components such as copper pipes, doors, or even lighting fixtures. Similarly, unoccupied homes are also highly attractive to vandals, who may attempt to damage your property for any number of reasons. (These risks also make it incredibly important to take out holiday home contents insurance to protect your belongings.)
Finally, vacant homes are also at an increased risk of weather damage. Since there is no one at the property to prepare for storms or flooding, or even to clear rain gutters, damage that is otherwise avoidable could have devastating effects. As it takes longer for this damage to be noticed, there is also the risk of it worsening before repairs are undertaken.
What can you do to protect your property?
The most important thing you can do to protect your property is talk to your insurance provider. Whether it’s when you’re completing a holiday home insurance comparison, or to discuss an existing policy, it’s important that you know exactly what you are required to do as policy holder e.g., 1) how many times a month you are required to visit the property, 2) winter requirements 3) minimum security requirements etc . During this discussion, you should also ensure that you have comprehensive holiday home contents insurance in place to protect your belongings, as many policies will solely focus on the property’s structure.
Once you’ve resolved any issues you may have it’s time to take measures to further protect the property. (also, this can get you the best holiday home insurance quotes, as brokers take security measures into consideration.) A comprehensive security system should be installed and set up to alert you and someone in the vicinity who can take immediate action if the property is breached. In addition, warning stickers should be placed in windows to act as a deterrent measure.
Regular maintenance should also be arranged, in order to prevent weather damage from affecting your investment. Arranging for a property management company or neighbour to visit the property every week increases the likelihood of damage being noticed before it worsens. It also allows basic maintenance such as cutting the lawn and clearing gutters to be performed.
However, it’s important to note that if you do notify your insurance provider that you’ll be taking these measures, you must follow through. If it has been written into your contract to get you a competitive holiday home insurance premium, your policy can then be invalidated if the actions aren’t taken.