Are you among the one in ten – or 5.2 million – UK adults who own a second home? Research from thinktank Resolution Foundation, cited by the Guardian, shows that the number of adults owning multiple properties increased by 30% between 2000 and 2014.
More recent research from Away Resorts, shared by Property Investor Today
, shows that almost 40% of British holidaymakers have the money to purchase a holiday home and plan to do so in 2019.
Perhaps surprisingly, Brits were more interested in buying a holiday home here in the UK than abroad. This could have something to do with the rise of the ‘staycation’; 87% of respondents to a Go Outdoors survey said fresh air and less travel made them feel happier than venturing overseas. One third also said they slept better on a staycation.
When it comes to location, 26% in the Away Resorts study said that they want to purchase a second home in the South West, followed by the South East (16%).
Whether your second property is located home or away, you need to make sure it’s covered with specialist insurance. The majority of providers won’t insure your property under a standard policy, hence why holiday home insurance
Of course, just like your first home, your second home is a huge investment. You want to make sure you look after it in the best way you can – here are our top tips:
It’s important to invest in decent security systems for any property. But it’s especially important if your holiday home is left unoccupied during certain times of the year, as this puts it at increased risk burglaries. Ways you might want to secure your holiday home include:
- Installing quality locks on all external doors and windows on your property – locks are something you shouldn’t scrimp on.
- Investing in quality security systems such as security cameras, burglar alarms and motion-activated lights, which can act as effective burglar deterrents.
- For added peace of mind, installing a video/smart doorbell. Many of these are triggered by motion and will record video and audio of what’s going on outside of your property. Some will even allow you to talk to the person at the door, giving the impression that you’re inside the house. Check out this Independent guide for some of the best devices on the market.
- Ensuring valuables are out of sight of any windows. You might want to remove valuables from the holiday home if it’s going to be unoccupied for a long period of time.
- Making sure your holiday home always looks occupied, even when it’s not. For instance, by ensuring the garden is well-maintained, leaving lights on timers, and asking neighbours to collect any post or junk mail.
Regular maintenance checks
Whether your holiday home is for personal use or you let it out to paying guests, you need to carry out regular property checks so that you can identify any niggles and take action before they become a bigger problem. Here are some areas to pay attention to:
- Make sure gutters and drains are clear. If blocked, they can cause damage to your property, like damp or even flooding.
- Check for cracked paint around wooden windows and door frames, as chipped paint could be causing water to soak into the wood.
- Inspect and replace loose, cracked or missing tiles, which again pose a water damage risk to the property.
- Make sure the garden walls and fences are in good condition (i.e. there are no missing panels) as they help to keep your property secure.
- Test fire and carbon monoxide alarms at least one a month and replace batteries every year.
- Organise an annual service of the boiler by a Gas Safe-registered engineer. It’s a good idea to do this in the autumn, so that it’s in tip-top condition for winter months.
- If the house is empty during the winter, you may still want to keep the heating ticking over at a low temperature to prevent freezing and burst pipes.
If your holiday home is abroad
Of course, if your holiday house is located overseas, you can’t just ‘pop around’ to inspect your property! Some of the security and maintenance tips listed above will still apply, but here are some extra ones:
- Because you won’t be there to do it yourself, you’ll probably need to recruit a reputable, local cleaning company who can manage the changeovers. Providing a clear list with all the essential duties will help to ensure that nothing gets missed.
- Depending on where your holiday home is located, you may want to consider installing steel shutters over doors and windows, which can protect against bad weather as well as burglars.
- If you’re friendly with a neighbour, ask for them to keep an eye on your property and alert you of any potential problems.
- If you’re lucky enough to have a swimming pool at the property, you’ll need to carry out regular checks on things like the pool’s chemicals, filtration system and general condition. Safety is a big factor if you let your holiday home; you need to make sure that you install the necessary signs to warn others of potential dangers.
Holiday home insurance from Insurance Choice
Holiday home insurance provides cover for the unique risks related to second properties. It’s simply not enough to get a standard insurance policy, as it wouldn’t provide enough protection due to the different risks of a holiday home.
Examples of possible risks include accidental damage from guests you rent your property to. Then, if the holiday home is unoccupied for a long period of time, there’s a greater risk of things like water leaks, burst pipes and burglaries. You need to make sure your insurance policy protects against these instances – or you could lose out.
Most holiday home insurance policies include cover against things like accidental damage, malicious damage and theft. But if you rent your holiday home to guests, then you’ll also need to take out public liability and legal cover.
At Insurance Choice, we take the time to understand your specific needs before finding a suitable policy for a competitive price. Get a holiday home insurance quote today