Last updated: 20/09/2023 | Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes
Do you own a second property? Regardless of whether it’s empty, used as a holiday home or let out to tenants, you may need to take out second home insurance to keep your investment safe. In this guide, we’ll help you to understand how a second home insurance policy could benefit your current situation, the types that are available and why a regular home insurance policy just won’t do.
In This Guide:
- Why Do I Need Second Home Insurance?
- What Type of Second Home Insurance Do I Need?
- Other Types of Second Home Insurance
- Is Second Home Insurance Expensive?
- Finding Second Home Insurance
Why Do I Need Second Home Insurance?
Standard home insurance policies legally cannot be taken out on second homes. This means that any property that is not your main residence needs a special second home insurance policy to protect it.
So, how can you tell if a property is classed as your second home? There are a few different factors that come into play, such as:
- How often you are at the property and for how long
- Where you are registered to vote
- The place where you keep most of your belongings
- Where your family spend the majority of their time
Most of the time, it will be clear which home is classed as your main residence, as this will be the place your life revolves around the most. Any other properties will need to be treated as second homes.
What Type of Second Home Insurance Do I Need?
Second home insurance is usually categorised by how you use your second home. Similarly to standard home insurance cover, second home insurance can protect either your property’s structure, its contents, or a combination of the two. Here are some of the most common types of second home insurance you could choose from:
Holiday Home Insurance
Whether you use your holiday home for a month every summer or stay there each time the children break up for half-term, holiday home insurance will keep your property and your belongings protected.
Holiday home insurance is usually available for properties that are left unoccupied for over 30 days and can also cover you if you decide to let out your property while you’re not using it. Whether you’re letting other family members use it for their holidays or are listing it on Airbnb, flexible holiday home insurance policies will help you to cover a wide range of scenarios.
Unoccupied Property Insurance
If your second home is usually empty or unoccupied for long periods, unoccupied property insurance could be the right policy for you. You’ll be able to choose between insuring just your building or your contents as well, depending on whether you keep any of your belongings in the house while you’re not there. Remember, any furniture or decorations are included under contents, so if a leak ruins your wallpaper or chandelier, that won’t be covered under a buildings-only policy.
Some unoccupied property policies are available for shorter periods of time. For example, if you’re renovating your home or trying to sell it, you may only need second home insurance for six months or less. However, other policies are available indefinitely, so if you’re leaving your second home empty while you go travelling, there will be a type of insurance to accommodate you.
Rental Property Insurance
Renting out your second home comes with a whole host of extra considerations, from drawing up contracts to taxes. However, you’ll also need to take out landlord insurance to make sure your property is protected. While your tenants may take out contents insurance to protect their own belongings, it’s your responsibility to make sure your building is covered as well as any furnishings that you’ve left in your second home.
Because renting out a property comes with extra risks, you may decide to upgrade your landlord insurance to include things such as rent protection. This can provide you with compensation should your tenants fail to pay rent, which is particularly useful if you have a mortgage on your second home that you have to pay.
Other Types of Second Home Insurance
While buildings insurance and contents insurance is typically included as standard in the above types of policy, you may want to invest in some extra protection for your second home. Some other types of insurance add-ons to consider include:
Public Liability Insurance
Particularly useful for anyone renting out their second home, public liability insurance covers your legal expenses if someone is injured on your property. Whether you’re renting out your home on a long-term basis or as a holiday let, public liability insurance can help you to avoid significant court fees.
Legal expense cover can also be useful for individuals with unoccupied second homes as well. Imagine your roof has fallen into disrepair and tiles fall down onto the street below and damage someone’s car or hit them on the head. Instead of having to foot the bill yourself, your insurance provider can take care of it for you.
Overseas Property Insurance
Insuring a property overseas can be challenging, so it’s important to speak to your chosen insurance provider about how your arrangement will work. Some standard second home insurance policies might cover your property abroad, but you also need to check how claims will be dealt with and in what time frame. Choosing a bespoke overseas home insurance policy may enable you to get help more quickly and efficiently.
Home Emergency Cover
If you have a holiday home that you use once a year, the last thing you want is your trip being ruined by an unexpected flood or broken boiler. But because you haven’t been in your home for so long, emergencies like this are more likely to crop up unexpectedly. Home emergency cover can help you get problems like this fixed more quickly and without a huge cost to yourself. If your holiday home is far away from where you live most of the time, you may not even know what tradesperson to turn to or how much they will charge. Home emergency cover takes away some of the stress in these situations, helping you to get your holiday back on track.
Is Second Home Insurance Expensive?
Insurance for second homes is more expensive than a standard home insurance policy. This is because second homes are not occupied all the time and may be left empty for months, making them more likely to be targeted by burglars. It’s also more likely that issues such as leaks will go unnoticed for longer periods of time, meaning that damage could be more extensive by the time the problem is spotted.
However, this doesn’t mean that second home house insurance has to be expensive. There are a variety of factors that contribute to the cost of your premiums, such as the amount of cover you need, the location of your property and how often someone uses the property.
Only take out the lev el of cover you need for your second home. For example, if you don’t have any belongings in your home, or could store them somewhere else for a low cost, you could make some significant savings by opting out of contents cover. Similarly, asking a friend or family member who is local to your second home to occasionally stay there could also bring down monthly costs.
Finding Second Home Insurance
If you’ve recently bought a second home or the way you use your second home has changed, it could be time to find a new home insurance policy. Here at Money Expert, we can help you get quotes for all kinds of second home insurance policies, including cover for holiday homes, properties that are left unoccupied, and houses that are rented out.