Choosing the best holiday home insurance is a huge consideration. However, insurance policies are often full of jargon, which makes it hard to complete a quick and easy holiday home insurance comparison. In fact, this causes many of us to simply glance at our insurance contract once, before shoving it in a drawer until it’s time to renew it.
However, to maintain comprehensive cover, it’s important you understand the ins and outs of your insurance. As a result, we’ve compiled a complete guide to everything you need to know about selecting the right policy.
Three traps to avoid when taking out holiday home insurance
There’s a lot of advice circulating about what you should do when looking for a new policy. However, our knowledge and experience as holiday home insurance providers have taught us that what you don’t do is just as important.
1. Choosing insurance for your holiday home based solely on price
Everyone likes a good deal, but choosing your policy just because it’s the lowest holiday home insurance quote you received is a big mistake. Instead you should review what the different policies offer. Do they include accidental damage cover? Do they offer holiday home contents insurance? If not, you’ll need to factor in the cost of add-ons, or be prepared to cover repairs yourself.
2. Selecting the wrong insurance cover
Most holiday homes are unoccupied for a large portion of the year and as a result, they require specific insurance policies. In fact, taking out traditional house insurance instead of holiday home insurance will cause your cover to be invalidated straight away.
3. Insuring your holiday home for the market value
Your holiday home should always be insured for the value it would cost to rebuild it. Unfortunately, basing your insurance off the market value of the property can have disastrous results. It often leads to under-valuing, causing problems if repairs or rebuilding is needed. Or worse – over-valuing, which causes you to pay more than necessary for your insurance.
Three key policy terms you need to know
Most holiday home insurance policies are full of technical terms. Since these are usually the most important parts to understand, we’ve demystified the three policy phrases you need to know.
Holiday home contents insurance refers to the household goods and personal property with your holiday home, for example fixtures and fittings, furniture, satellite dishes.
2. Minimum Security Requirements
Most insurance policies for holiday homes will have a minimum security requirement such as 5 lever mortice deadlocks to external doors and key operated window locks. If you don’t meet these standards you may not be covered for any burglary theft or attempted theft claims, check with your insurer.
3. Unoccupancy Clause – Holiday Homes
Before you purchase your policy check what conditions you must comply with whilst the property is unoccupied. Most holiday home policies have a policy condition in place which states that during the winter months (1st November to 31st March) the water is off at the mains and the system drained. The property may also need to be checked on at least once a month, check with your provider for your responsibilities.
Three important questions to ask your insurance provider
After looking at the quotes they’ve offered, you should have an open discussion with the insurance providers. Asking specific questions ensures you choose the most comprehensive cover possible, which is why we’ve detailed the most important three.
1. Should I hire a property manager?
Most policies have specific maintenance requirements to ensure the property remains in good up-keep. Therefore, you should ask how often someone needs to check the property on your behalf. Most companies will allow trusted friends or neighbours to carry out the checks for you, so long as you make them aware of who is visiting the home.
2. Does the policy cover emergency accommodation?
Most insurance for holiday homes includes a clause stating temporary accommodation will be covered if the property can’t be inhabited. However, it’s important to find out how long this will be covered for, and to what value. Usually, they’ll offer up to 10% of the value of the building sum insured however do check with your provider.
3. What type of damage is covered?
All holiday home insurance policies will cover up to a certain level of damage, but the type of damage covered varies per provider. Some companies may not cover any damage due to escape of water where other companies will once you comply with their requirements, check with your provider for full details.
Three things to prevent your insurance being invalidated
Once you’ve chosen the right insurance policy, it’s important to keep it active. To make sure you don’t accidentally invalidate your policy, we’ve shared the two most common ways this happens.
1. Building Work
If you undertake any construction work on your property, you must let your insurance provider know beforehand. Failure to inform your insurance provider could have disastrous effects on your cover.
2. Forgotten Security
If you received a discount for installing an alarm system, this must be used whenever the property is vacant. If it’s not working or not activated by you and an incident occurs, you may not be covered for any burglary, theft or attempted theft. Likewise, if you leave the holiday home unlocked, your insurance company isn’t responsible for providing cover.
If your holiday home is left vacant for more than 40 consecutive days it will be classified as ‘unoccupied’ and invalidates standard home insurance policies. This condition is not limited to the winter months, so ensure you talk to your insurance provider before leaving to ensure you will be covered (no matter what time of year).
Want to find out more about holiday home insurance?
Holiday homes, by their nature, are at a greater risk for damages than standard homes – making it difficult to know what type of insurance you will be needing. Use this article as your guide to understanding holiday home insurance and how to select the right policy to protect your property.
If you require any further advice, contact our team or check out some of our other articles on holiday home insurance. Our expert team has made us the leading specialist provider of holiday home insurance Ireland has to offer, and we would be delighted to discuss your policy.
*Article updated: January 2019