Does your existing home insurance cover your second home? Are you allowed to take out any kind of home insurance on a second property?
These are normal questions to ask but you'll soon find that it insuring your second property is easier than you might think.
What is second home insurance?
If you have a second property which needs insuring you will need to look for cover that caters for its use as a second home.
Second home insurance is specially designed to cater around the routine of using the property sporadically throughout the year.
When you take out a home insurance policy you are asked whether the property you're insuring is your main residence, is rented, a holiday home etc. Due to this, it is highly unlikely you will find yourself with two individual home insurance policies by error.
Why do you need second home insurance?
If you are looking for home insurance for second homes you must understand that standard home insurance policies will not provide you with the cover you need.
If you own a second property which you intend to use throughout the year then you will need second home insurance. If you plan to rent out your second property you will need to take out landlord insurance, as the two insurances cover you in different ways.
The cover provided is very similar to home insurance on your main residence, but instead takes into account that you may not be in the property for long periods of time.
If you don't visit your second home often you are at a higher risk or burglary and vandalism, because of this second home insurance can cost more than standard home insurance.
If possible, get to know and trust your second home neighbours so you can maintain contact and ensure your property is secure in your absence.
What to consider when taking out second home insurance?
When choosing your second home insurance you will need to consider what use you will have for the property when you are not there. Will you let friends and family stay there? Will you rent the property out in the holiday seasons?
Consider the following:
Occupancy period - Insurers offer different levels of cover in regards to occupancy so you need to think about how often you will visit the property. When searching for second home insurance it is possible to find cover for the odd visit or even if you do not visit your property at all in the year.
Checking your property - You will find restrictions on your second home insurance policies for when you are absent from the property, for example, you may not be able to claim for a burst pipe or leak in your second property if you have left notifying the insurer by more than 48 hours. It is important that you have someone who will be able to observe your second home in your absence to ensure you act quickly on any damage that may occur.
Location - Whether your second home is in the UK or overseas, you will be able to find cover. UK holiday home insurance is suitable if your second property is in the UK but you will need to find specialist property insurance if your second home is overseas.
What else do you need to check?
Cover limits - All insurers will set limits on the amount of cover they offer on second home building insurance and contents insurance, you need to be confident you have sufficient cover without paying for more than you need. It is possible for you to find unlimited cover for both, with restrictions only on the amount of legal liability you can have which can vary around £2 million.
Excess amounts - You will be able to set your policy excess, this can vary from £0-£500. You need to consider whether you are less likely to claim on your policy or more likely, and set your policy excess accordingly.
Restrictions - Each policy will have restrictions on several elements to your second home, such as:
Number of rooms - If your second home has 5 or more bedrooms you may not find the appropriate cover you need due to the complexity of insuring a property with so many rooms.
How old and what materials is your second property made of - Age and materials can have an effect the price and cover insurers will be able to offer, for example, if your second home is a stone cottage built in the early 1700's, you may find that your cost will be exceptionally high, or that cover may not be provided based on the risk to your second homes security, stability and overall worth.
Rent your second home - If you intend to rent out your second home you will need to declare this with your insurer. They will explain whether they will be able to cover you and anyone staying in your second home for the duration of their stay, or whether you will need to seek alternative insurance, such as landlord insurance.
Can second home insurance cover more than one additional property?
If you are in the fortunate position to own more than two properties then you will need to seek a different type of specialist insurance which caters for multiple property insurance.
However, if you intend to rent out a number of properties to permanent tenants you will require landlord insurance.
Compare the best deals for your second home
Once you know how you want to use your second home you can start shopping around.
Make sure to compare second home insurance quotes from several providers to find the best price and cover to match your needs.