There are lots of reasons why you might have a second home, from renting out a property to tenants to having a holiday home. You’ll need to think about insurance for your second home to make sure it’s protected from things like fires, flooding, and damage but also theft or legal issues. Here we look at how second home insurance works, how much cover you need, and the best way to buy it.
It is an insurance policy that can cover a property you own other than your main residence, usually somewhere you only stay occasionally. Usually, second homes are used for different reasons to your main home, they may have paying tenants in for example, and therefore these properties need to be insured differently.
The following are all reasons why you might have a second home:
A holiday home you visit a few times a year. If you have a holiday home overseas read this guide to find the best cover.
A property you use for work during the week while away from your main residence.
A house you inherit and need to insure before you sell it.
A renovation project you are working on, while still living in your existing property.
Home insurance isn’t a legal requirement, although some mortgage providers may ask to see a policy before approving a loan. You can buy buildings or contents insurance, or a combined policy, and having a policy means the property is protected. There are strict definitions of second homes so before you buy a policy check it will cover yours. Some insurers, for example, will define a second home as a property you use at least once every two weeks.
You may be tempted to buy a standard home insurance policy, but this may not cover your second property because most have a 30-day limit on leaving your house empty.
You may need a specific second home insurance policy to cover the increased risk of leaving your home unoccupied for long periods of time or for having paid tenants in the property if you rent it out.
A second home needs the same protection as your main home, so think about getting:
You can buy these policies separately, or under one combined policy.
If your second home is unoccupied for long periods it will be at greater risk from things like burst pipes or burglary, so you need the right cover.
When your property is often left empty, some insurers insist you have certain security measures in place, like burglar alarms.
Think about what other cover options could be useful for your second home, like:
Home emergency cover: This can cover the cost of any emergency repairs you need, such as if a pipe bursts or there’s a wasp infestation. Find out how it works here.
Public liability cover: This could protect you if someone has an accident while at your property, for example, if they trip on a loose floorboard.
Personal possessions cover: You can extend your contents insurance to cover items when you take them out of your second home, like your laptop or mobile phone. Check your main home insurance policy as you may have this cover already.
Accidental damage cover: This usually isn’t included as standard and can cover any damage that has happened because of an accident.
Legal cover: You may need to add this to a standard policy, it covers any legal costs if you need to make a claim, or someone sues you.
Insurance add-ons come with an extra cost so always weigh these up before buying. It might be possible to buy a more expensive insurance policy that includes some of these elements and this can be cheaper than paying separately for them.
Check with your current home insurer to see if it can extend your policy to include your second home.
This could work out cheaper because some insurers offer a discount for adding another property, and means your cover will be easier to manage under one policy.
It is important that you still compare second home policies because you could find a better deal elsewhere.
To find the best policy you need to think about:
How long is your property unoccupied? For example, if you know you will not visit your second home very often you may need an unoccupied home insurance policy.
Do you need any extra protection? For example, if you rent out your house, or lend it to friends and family you may need extra public liability cover to protect you and your second home.
Read this guide for more information on how to find the best insurance policy for your home.