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Wed, 29/05/2019
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Be Wiser Guide to Second Home Insurance

Owning a second home brings a range of exclusive benefits to those who are lucky enough to have one.  As an alternative to your primary home, owning a flat or terrace house, or larger cottages and house in popular and coastal regions, is a great financial asset to have.  Whether you use your second house as a holiday destination or a regular base, this home provides the fantastic advantage of convenience.

What is second home insurance? 
This type of insurance covers your second home – a house you own, but one that you occupy occasionally. Nevertheless, it is important to protect your valuable asset with the necessary insurance cover.

Your second home can be any type of property; it can be a holiday home or a property you have inherited, but the important fact is that it can’t be your permanent place of residence for insurance purposes.

When you take out home insurance for your permanent residence you can extend cover to a second property providing 30 days of cover, if the property is left empty.  However, if you fail to tell your insurer that the house is a second home and you make a claim they can refuse to pay out.

This is why second home insurance was introduced to specifically cover properties that are generally unoccupied for a length of time.  In the eyes of an insurer an unoccupied property poses a greater risk because no one lives in the property permanently, increasing the chances of damage or burglary.

What will second home insurance cover?
Second home insurance covers buildings and contents insurance as you would provide for your permanent residence.  The difference being that second home insurers are aware that the property could potentially be vacant for long periods of time.  

Typically, you can take out a single policy that includes both buildings and contents cover or take out individual cover, whatever works best for you.

Buildings insurance
This covers the physical structure of the building e.g. including walls, doors, fitted cupboards, garages and fences.

Generally, buildings insurance is a compulsory element if you are taking out a mortgage on a property.  You must ensure that the sum of your buildings insurance provides you with enough to rebuild your home from scratch.  The rebuild cost is not the market value of the property.

Depending on the type of property you have will determine the type of Buildings Insurance cover you will need to buy e.g. you may not need buildings insurance for a flat as the owner of the building generally has this for the entire building, or general buildings insurance may not provide you with sufficient cover if you own a listed building.

Contents insurance
Generally, everything that you would take with you if you moved home would be classed as contents.  Such as furniture, furnishings and electrical equipment.

Second home insurance policies do not usually cover personal valuables. If you take valuables to your weekend home you should insure them under the all-risks section of your main household policy or travel insurance.  It also doesn’t cover your guests’ possessions, they will need to take out their own insurance if they want to protect their belongings.

It’s important to note: check with your contents insurer if the cover includes all valuables for you and any guests who stay at your property?    You should always read the small print of your policy cover so that you are aware of what is and isn’t covered.

Tips when buying your insurance

  • Always do your research before you buy 
  • Does the policy provide you with sufficient cover? 
  • Have you checked the un-occupancy conditions?
  • Before buying your contents insurance – take a walk through the property and check each room for the contents there to give you an idea of the cover needed   

Does it cost more to insure a second home?
A second home is typically unoccupied for longer periods of time, the insurer will see this as a higher risk and so it will generally cost more.

Two reasons why?

  1. The lack of permanent residents increases the risk of burglary
  2. Any weather related damage, especially if it goes unnoticed could escalate the cost without treatment      

Don’t forget to check add-ons to your 2nd home cover 
You may want to consider these for your second home policy;

  • Home Emergency cover
  • Public Liability cover
  • Personal possessions cover
  • Personal Injury – if you are letting out the property to guests