[intro] An investment in a European holiday home is never purely financial; it’s an investment in some of your family’s fondest memories. If you have found a corner of the world where you and your friends and family feel at peace, then who wouldn’t want to have a bolthole to escape to when either work or the weather gets too much? [/intro]
Of course there is always the danger that the stresses of ownership abroad bring added strain to the one destination you enjoy escaping to the most. Do your homework whilst dreaming of those sundrenched evenings and insurance need not be any more complicated than insuring your main UK residence.
There’s no denying you need more from a holiday home policy. Here are a few reasons why a standard policy simply will not do:
- Multiple residencies. Holiday homes can make significant rental income and can also be shared with friends and family. If your property will frequently be occupied by people other than the owners, either friends or paying guests, then this needs to be considered when buying your policy.
- Prolonged periods of vacant possession. This presents an added risk for insurers, not least because any potential leaks or weather damage can go unchecked for long periods of time.
- A variety of individual styles and build types, such as flats, villas, cottages, houses or chalets. Your insurer will need to know the type of property to be insured, particularly as often nonstandard plans and building materials have been used.
- Legal cover and accidental damage are particularly important for a holiday home, especially if let to friends and paying guests. A good policy will cover your guests as well.
- Your property will need to be insured all year round, not just when you or others are using it. Often it is the off peak times, when the weather is worse, that there is greater risk of damage.
- Should the property be rendered uninhabitable, you need to be sure that you are covered for loss of accommodation and/or loss of rental income.
- Chances are if you need to make a claim there be a language barrier to negotiate. Make life easier by using a UK insurer with a 24 hour English speaking helpline.
For all the above reasons, insurers consider holiday homes a higher risk than covered by a standard policy, hence you may encounter problems insuring European holiday homes. You will need a policy specifically tailored to the unique set of circumstances second homes abroad can present. This need not be problem; in fact you can buy comprehensive holiday home insurance online from Highworth Insurance, which covers properties in most European destinations and all of the eventualities listed above.