Buildings insurance for a holiday home

Generally speaking, due to holiday properties being left unoccupied for extended periods of time, insurers see them as high risk and thus charge higher premiums in order to insure them.

This means you may need to take a slightly different approach when insuring your holiday home than when insuring your main residence.

Not to worry though, as our guide will talk you through the various things you need to consider, as well as advising you on how to compare buildings insurance policies for a holiday home.

In This Guide:

Why do you need insurance for a holiday home?

Just like your main home, your holiday home is also susceptible to damage or loss from lightning, fire, malicious damage, rain, wind, flooding or any other unfortunate event.

This means that you will need some kind of buildings insurance to protect you financially in the event that you need to make repairs. This is true even if it is not occupied, as such disasters can occur regardless of whether there is anyone presently living at the location.

Holiday homes are generally slightly more expensive to insure as there are greater risks involved - mainly as the building is not always occupied and also because tenants may not always maintain it properly.

It may be possible to cover your holiday home by getting an extension to the existing policy on your main home - thus covering both your main home and holiday home. This way your second home will also be covered in the event that it is damaged by fire, flood etc. in the same way that your main home is covered.

How is buildings insurance different for a holiday home than my main home?

As with all buildings insurance policies, this form of cover will only insure you in the event of damage or loss to the actual structures of the building itself - but with some important additional limitations as a result of it being a holiday home. Buildings insurance generally covers:

  • Loss or damage caused by natural events/disasters (e.g. earthquakes, storms, lightning, fire, burst/overflowing geysers or pipes, flooding, etc.)
  • Damage caused by falling trees or animals
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Intentional and malicious damage
  • Damage to the actual building as a result of a break-in or theft (but not the items that are stolen or damaged)

However, when insuring a holiday home there are usually restrictions on certain types of cover:

Theft - if your property is unoccupied for more than 60 days in a year, your cover against loss or theft as a result of theft or burglary will lapse unless your insurer specifically agrees to extend such cover - this usually incurs an additional premium

Water, flood, and fire damage - again, if you’re property is unoccupied for more than 60 days in a year there is limited cover for damage caused by water, flood and fire. It is more than likely that you will need to shut off the water supply whenever the property is unoccupied in order to qualify to make a claim due to a burst pipe or geyser.

Malicious damage - if you’re renting out your home then your policy is very unlikely to cover any loss or damage caused by the tenants.

It is vital that you get the specific terms and conditions of your policy in writing, and that you are familiar with them so that you do not end up in a position in which you cannot make a claim.

Additional security provisions for holiday homes

Unlike your main home, your holiday home may be subject to stricter security requirements in order for it to be insured. Again, this is because such properties are usually left unoccupied for long periods of time, and your insurance premium will most probably reflect this too.

The details of the more stringent security requirements will be clarified in your policy agreement by your insurer, but these generally include:

  • Opening windows being fitted with burglar bars

  • External doors being fitted with security gates

  • Sliding doors being fitted with additional locking bolts (or security gates)

  • A working radio-linked alarm system with armed response

What about home contents insurance?

You will need a separate home contents insurance policy to cover the cost of repairing or replacing any of the items or possessions inside of your holiday home.

It is advised that you furnish your holiday home frugally and you do not leave sentimental or high-value items in your holiday home. This is because it is notoriously expensive to insure the items inside a holiday home as it is considered a high risk - given that the home will be left unoccupied for long periods of time and unknown tenants may be staying at the property from time to time.

Make sure you check your property regularly

Make sure you check up on your holiday home regularly and thoroughly assess any damage or loss each time. This is because you will need to notify your insurance company of any damages as soon as possible in order to make a claim. If you leave things too long, there is a possibility that your claim may be denied.

How to get a cheap buildings insurance policy for a holiday home

If you have just acquired a holiday home or are considering your insurance options for an upcoming purchase, there is some good news. Finding a suitable insurance policy won’t take you long as you can compare policies and prices on our website in a matter of minutes.

All you have to do is fill out the details of your property and the requirements of your policy and we’ll automatically search all the insurers to bring you the cheapest policies that suit your needs.

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