Things to consider when insuring a second home

by JT McGee

If you’re lucky enough to own a second home – be it in the UK or overseas – I’m sure you don’t need reminding such a property provides a great place for you to enjoy low-cost holidays and escape the pressures of modern life. What I think is worth pointing out, however, is that this kind of residence requires a specialist insurance policy.

Even if you use your second home for a significant proportion of the year, the sheer fact it’s not your main residence means you will need to take out a second home insurance plan in order for it to be covered. This is one of the many types of non-standard home insurance policies that are available, but what precisely does it entail? Keep reading to find out!

Probably the first thing you should bear in mind is that – like a normal home insurance plan – the building itself and the contents of your second residence can be covered separately and are subject to slightly different risks than your main property.

You might not have thought about it, but as a second residence is likely to be left vacant for longer there is a greater chance that it could be targeted by thieves. On top of this, disasters such as floods and burst pipes may cause more substantial damage in a holiday home if you are not around to put the problem right. This, of course, may mean it will cost more time and money to fix compared to if it were to happen in your main home.

Having a specialist home insurance policy means that these added risks will have already been taken into account, so the cost of repairing your property needn’t come out of your own pocket. On the other side of the coin, if you were able to secure a standard insurance plan for a property that actually isn’t your main residence you might discover any attempts to make a claim in the future are rendered void.

Unlike buildings cover, you’re not legally bound to have contents insurance for your holiday houses (or any other property you own, for that matter), but it is something that I definitely advise you have.

Possessions that are left in second homes are much more likely to be stolen, so it’s a good idea to make certain they are insured. Electrical appliances – such as TVs, stereos, computers and DVD players – are particularly common targets among thieves and I recommend that you make getting cover for these a firm priority.

As many insurance policies impose a limit on the total value of goods that can be covered, you need to make sure the plan you take out is an accurate reflection of the value of your contents.

To be sure of doing this, I suggest you spend some time going through each room in your residence and writing down every item in them and how much they are worth.
Make sure you take a methodical approach to this (it’s an idea to do it twice, just so you don’t miss anything out), as if you forget something you won’t be able to file an insurance claim on it in the event it is stolen or damaged.

As you’ve probably figured out by now, there are lots of things to think about when getting insurance for a second home. This is why I recommend you get in touch with a specialist broker that can arrange cover that is tailor made to your specific needs.

If you own a second home, please let us know how you are protecting such a property by leaving a comment below.

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