Here is a selection of some of the more common questions relating to holiday homes and holiday home insurance.
Is holiday home insurance obligatory?
There is no legal requirement for a property owner to insure their property.
However, if you have taken out a mortgage on your holiday home, then your mortgage provider will almost certainly have included a clause in the contract obliging you to maintain full buildings cover at all times.
If you fail to do so, you may be in breach of contract and liable to pay back the entire sum advanced immediately upon demand.
If your property is of the static home type which sits on a duly authorised site, the site owners may have a legal right to inspect your insurance cover before allowing the sale to go through. They may also imply that you need to buy their holiday home insurance, but in most cases you are free to shop around and find your own deal.
If you plan to use your holiday home for letting purposes and your local authority or national government (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) requires formal licensing of such properties, then again you may be obliged to have appropriate cover.
However, it might simply be sensible to consider holiday home insurance as a way of protecting the probable substantial investment you have probably made in the property and its contents.
Can I use my holiday home for whatever purposes I choose?
Here the response relates only to insurance rather than legal and local authority issues.
Typically, yes you can - providing you have declared in advance to your insurance provider how you plan to use the property. Holiday home insurance might typically be written on the basis of covering one of:
- your own exclusive occasional use;
- such use by you plus occasional and infrequent letting to others during the holiday season or;
- the letting of your property all year round for the maximum duration possible (you personally might rarely if ever use it in this scenario).
All of those circumstances and other variations should be specifically incorporated into your insurance cover and that means telling your insurance provider in advance.
Note that some uses might be explicitly excluded from the policy’s cover.
They might include commercial use (e.g. as a tea room) or the use of your property as some form of manufacturing/distribution outlet. If you do plan to use it for any form of commercial purposes, discuss the matter in advance with the policy’s provider.
What is a “park home” holiday property?
These are non-mobile properties that are of a more permanent and robust construction than, for example, a typical static caravan.
There may be of different styles and construction methods but they will typically all reside on some form of park home site. Most such sites are only licensed by the local authorities for use during a certain number of weeks each year and permanent occupation may be explicitly forbidden.
Some do offer permanent occupation possibilities, however, and these are often known as residential park home sites.
For insurance purposes, there are key differences between a holiday park home and a residential park home, so it is essential you get the correct cover type. Speak to your insurance provider if you are unsure.
What happens if my property is unoccupied for lengthy periods during the winter months?
You must declare such a situation to your insurance provider.
In some instances, it’s possible that you might be able to predict this in advance.
For example, if you only ever intend using the property yourself during the spring summer and autumn holidays, then it’s clear that your property will stand empty for many months during the winter. In such situations, you may need to seek UK holiday home insurance that also provides a form of unoccupied property cover.
In the case of properties you intend to use as holiday lets, the position can be more unpredictable. If you suddenly find a property is standing unoccupied because you are having difficulties finding paying guests, you should again discuss that immediately (do not wait) with your insurance provider, as some form of interim unoccupied property cover may be required if it is not already included within your cover.