*Guide to holiday house contents insurance cover
If you are one of the estimated quarter of a million people who own a holiday home in the UK, or are considering making that investment, you may need to re-think your current approach to contents insurance.
Your immediate concern when thinking of insurance for your second property may understandably be for the building itself – by its nature the prolonged periods when the home will be empty or unused may make you feel uneasy about conventional threats like flood or fire. Even if you don't keep the bulk of your more valuable possessions in your holiday home, you may be mistaken for overlooking contents cover as a valuable way to ensure peace of mind while away from your investment. For example, any current policy that you have for your main home may not include objects that are stored in a remote location, those that will be used by other visitors and guests, whether paying rent or as invited personally by you. If your second home will be empty for more than 30 consecutive days in any given year, almost all standard policies will be invalidated due to the increased possibility of burglary, so to set your mind at rest take a look at your house contents insurance and be sure to specify that the property in question is used for holiday purposes.
How much cover?
In much the same way as when insuring contents in your main residence, you will need to make an inventory of all your personal 'movable' possessions in the property - this basically means everything that you would take with you if you decided to sell up. If you have owned an object for a few years, be sure to look up its current value as opposed to the price that you originally paid for it, as this is what you would need to be reimbursed in the event of a claim in order to purchase a replacement. Any portable valuables like jewellery, laptops etc that you are intending to transport between homes should ideally be upgraded to an 'all-risks' category in your main policy, so that they will be covered at either location.
While you may be entering in to the world of holiday letting with the best possible intentions, it is prudent to consider that guests in your home (whether they are paying strangers or family and friends) will inevitably be less cautious with the belongings there than you would be yourself. Accidents can and will happen in the relaxed atmosphere of a holiday break, so the wisest approach is to expect breakages and spillages and protect yourself against them. Pay particular attention to the small print of your policy to ensure that details like having incorrect locks on yours doors and windows don't catch you out, and investigate whether damage caused by pets is included. Shop around for home insurance quotes to ensure that you get the best deal, and remember to ask whether or not you can make a saving by combining coverage with the provider of your main policy.