Second Home Insurance
FREE Second Home Insurance Advice
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When buying a second home, you’ll discover various differences compared with buying your first home. These include using a second home mortgage to fund your purchase and the stamp duty liability for a second home. Another difference to be aware of is the insurance needed for a second home. A standard home insurance policy won’t cover your second property as there are different risks compared with your main residence.
At Trinity Finance, we can arrange the right second home insurance for you, depending on the use of your property. Whether you use it during the week or for weekend getaways, rent it out or use it as a holiday home, you need to protect your investment. Our mortgage and protection brokers can ensure that the right type and level of cover is in place for you. In this guide, we’ll explain what second home insurance is, the types, the cover options, the cost and how to benefit from lower premiums.
When is a property classed as a second home?
Your main residence is where you live most of the time and keep most of your possessions. It’s the address that you register on the electoral roll and use for tax and legal purposes. A second home is classed as a property other than your main residence. There are lots of reasons for having a second home, including:
- A base to stay during the week that’s near your workplace so that you don’t have to commute
- Somewhere to go for weekend getaways
- A holiday home, either for your use or to earn an income via regular holiday lets
- An inherited property
- A property that you’re renovating while living in your current home
- A rental property to boost your income
What is second home insurance?
Second home insurance provides financial protection for a property that’s not your main residence. A second home differs in various ways from a main residence, including what it’s used for and how long it’s left unoccupied. For example, you may stay in it during the week as it’s closer to your workplace and it saves having to commute. You may use it as an occasional holiday home, either for yourself or friends and family. Or you may rent it out and earn some extra income.
As standard home insurance covers the property that you live in most of the time, it doesn’t suffice for a second property. This is because the risks attached to a second home are higher than those for a main residence. It’s important to understand that if you take out standard home insurance on a second home, you won’t be covered in the event of a claim. A second home’s use, such as being used for holiday lets, rented out for a longer term or being left unoccupied for long periods, goes against the terms of a standard policy. Second home insurance, however, is specifically designed to provide cover against these risks.
Insuring a second home isn’t a legal requirement but it provides essential financial protection should the unexpected happen. For example, if there’s a fire, the property is flooded or your second home is broken into. If you’re applying for a second home mortgage, the lender will more than likely insist that home insurance is in place. The type of insurance needed depends on what the property is used for, as explained below.
Types of self-build insurance
Particular types of self-build home insurance are needed at different stages of your project. These include public liability insurance, site insurance and a structural warranty.
Public liability insurance
Once you’ve bought a plot of land to build your home on, you immediately become liable for injuries or accidental death to anyone who steps foot on your land. This is regardless of whether or not they were supposed to be there. Public liability insurance provides financial protection for this. It also covers you throughout the construction process and stays in place until the construction work has finished. As well as covering you against injuries or accidental death to people on your site, it protects against damage caused to their property. Your legal fees will be paid as well as any repair costs, compensation and medical fees that you may be liable for up to a certain amount.
You can take out public liability insurance as separate cover before any building work starts. If you prefer, you can take out a complete self build insurance package from the start as most self-build insurance policies include public liability cover as standard.
Once you’ve got planning permission and building regulations consent, you can proceed with your self-build project. At this stage, you’ll need to upgrade to self-build site insurance. This also provides cover if you’re renovating, extending or converting your existing property. It offers financial protection against injury or accidental death to people on your site during the construction process as well as damage to their property. It also covers damage or injuries caused outside your site as a result of the construction work. The new build work and materials are covered as well as any existing and temporary structures and the plant, tools and equipment used. Self build site insurance ensures that your legal fees, repair costs, medical fees and compensation costs are paid up to a certain amount.
It’s important to make sure that the sum insured is right. Unexpected issues can and do occur on self-build sites and they can be incredibly expensive to rectify. You need to ensure that if the worst happened, the payout from the insurer in the event of a claim would cover the entire cost to rectify the damage done and reinstate the work so that you can complete your build. Our mortgage and protection brokers work closely with self-build insurance providers to help you ascertain the correct amount. That way, you can be confident that the sum insured is adequate for your project, giving you the financial protection you need.
A self-build structural warranty covers your new home after construction has finished. It provides financial protection for any defects that are found as the result of the design, materials or workmanship. These defects often go unnoticed during the build but can become apparent years later. As such, a structural warranty will come into effect once the build has finished and is usually valid for up to 10 years. Having a structural warranty in place, therefore, ensures that you don’t end up facing huge expenses after your home has been built due to problems that were caused during the build process.
If you’re using a self-build mortgage to finance your project, the lender will require you to have a structural warranty in place. This reduces their level of risk and usually needs to be in place before they offer you the funds.
When selling your self-build home during the warranty period, the cover will be transferred to the new owner. This will give them peace of mind that any defects that arise are covered under the structural warranty and can be rectified accordingly.
The types of second home insurance
How you use your second home determines the type of insurance you need as there are different risks involved. For example, you might rent it out or leave it unoccupied for long periods. As well as the standard types of cover, such as buildings and contents insurance, different cover is included for each type of second home insurance.
Holiday home insurance
Having a holiday home is a great way to take a break when you need it. This may only be when the kids have broken up from school in between terms or when you’re due some time off from work. As such, your holiday home will be left unoccupied for long periods. Standard home insurance doesn’t usually cover properties that are unoccupied for more than 30 days. Therefore, you need holiday home insurance for this.
You may also allow family and friends to use your holiday home or you may rent it out regularly to holidaymakers. Holiday home insurance can also include cover for any claims that may be made against you for loss or injury to people staying in your property. For example, you can include public liability cover and legal expenses cover.
If you use the services of someone to maintain your holiday home, such as cleaning it before a new guest arrives or maintaining the garden, you need to include employers’ liability cover in your holiday home insurance. This is a legal requirement. It provides cover in the event that the person you have employed becomes injured while working in your holiday home.
A second home that’s rented out to tenants is a good investment, allowing you to earn a rental income. However, there are numerous risks involved when it comes to renting out your property so you need to take out landlord insurance. As well as covering the structure of your property and the contents that you’ve left in it for the tenants to use, it can include various other types of protection.
For example, it can include public liability insurance, legal expenses cover, accidental damage insurance, loss of rent insurance, home emergency cover, alternative accommodation insurance and rent guarantee insurance. The latter covers you if your tenants fail to pay the rent. It’s a worthwhile inclusion if you’ve taken out a second home mortgage to buy the property as you still need to make your mortgage repayments.
If a property is left unoccupied for long periods, it’s at more risk, which is why standard home insurance policies don’t usually cover properties that are left unoccupied for more than 30 days. The nature of having a second home can often mean that it’s likely to be left unoccupied for long periods. For example, you may have inherited a property and are trying to sell it. Or you may only use your second home sporadically throughout the year.
Things can and do go wrong in properties, such as burst pipes or water leaks. When no one is in the property to be aware of an issue, it can get even worse. An empty property is also at more risk of being broken into or vandalised than one that’s lived in. Unoccupied property insurance ensures that cover is in place when your second home is standing empty.
What second home insurance cover options are there?
Whichever type of second home insurance you need, the same main types of cover are available that you get with standard home insurance. These are buildings insurance, contents insurance or both of these together in a combined home insurance policy.
Second home buildings insurance covers the structure of your property. It also covers the permanent fixtures and fittings, such as a fitted kitchen and a bathroom suite. The costs needed to repair damage or to rebuild your home if it is destroyed are covered by buildings insurance. The instances covered that may cause the damage can include fire, flooding, storm damage, explosions, subsidence, burst pipes, theft, vandalism, vehicle collisions and falling trees.
Second home contents insurance covers everything that you own inside your property. This includes items such as the furniture, appliances, electronics, carpets and curtains. The costs to repair or replace your contents are covered in the event they’re stolen or damaged, such as by fire or flooding. As your second home is likely to remain empty on occasion, some insurance providers will insist on security measures. For example, having a secure front door, suitable locks on the windows and a burglar alarm.
If your second home is rented out to tenants, you should insure any contents that you’ve left in the property. Your tenants will be responsible for insuring their own belongings. Likewise, if you allow friends and family to stay in your second home, your contents insurance will only cover your belongings. They’ll need to insure their own belongings when using your second home.
Combined home insurance
If you’re going to take out both buildings and contents insurance, it’s worth considering a combined second home insurance policy. This tends to be cheaper than taking out two separate policies. Our mortgage and protection brokers will compare the inclusions and costs for both the individual and combined policies. That way, you can choose the best second home insurance deal for your needs.
Optional add-ons for second home insurance
As well as the main types of buildings and contents insurance cover, there are various optional extras available. The types of additional cover needed will depend on the use of your second home. Some of these types of cover may already be included in your policy as standard by the insurance provider. If not, you can ask the provider to include the ones you want.
Public liability cover
This provides financial protection should someone become injured or their property damaged while in your second home. For example, someone may trip over some loose carpet at the top of the stairs and fall down them, resulting in an injury. This cover is recommended if you use your second home for holiday lets or long-term rental purposes.
Accidental damage cover
Accidents happen and this provides cover for damage caused by mishaps. For example, spilling wine on the carpet, knocking the television stand over, drilling through a pipe by mistake, smashing a window, knocking a hole in a wall, dropping your favourite ornament, breaking a mirror or damaging a kitchen unit.
Legal expenses cover
This covers the legal costs in the event that someone makes a claim against you or you have to make a claim. For example, someone may be injured in your property and take legal action against you. If you rent out your second home, you may get into a legal dispute with your tenants. Or there may be a dispute with the neighbours that you need legal help with.
Employers’ liability insurance
If you employ someone to carry out work at your property, such as cleaning it or tending to the garden, you are legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. This covers you should they become injured while working in your second home and decide to make a claim against you.
Home emergency cover
This covers the costs of emergency call-outs and repairs at your second home. For example, to deal with a broken boiler, a burst pipe, faulty locks, a vermin infestation, a drainage issue, faulty electrics or an issue with the roof.
Personal possessions cover
This provides financial protection when you take your personal possessions out of your second home. For example, your phone, laptop, sunglasses, jewellery, sports equipment and bag.
Loss of rent insurance
If you rent out your second home and an insured event occurs, such as a flood or fire, which prevents your tenants from staying there, this provides cover for any loss of rental income.
Rent guarantee insurance
If your second home is rented to tenants and they fail to pay the rent, this protects your income as a landlord. It covers the loss of rent you might experience as well as legal expenses if, for example, you need to evict your tenants.
Alternative accommodation cover
If your second home is extensively damaged and is uninhabitable while the repairs are being carried out, this covers the cost of staying in alternative accommodation. This is worth considering if you rent out your second home for holiday lets or to tenants on a long-term basis.
Loss of keys cover
If you lose the keys to your second home or they’re stolen, this covers the costs of a locksmith, a new lock and a new set of keys.
Emergency travel cover
This covers your travel expenses should you need to travel to your second home to deal with an insured emergency, such as a burst pipe.
This covers the costs to repair or rebuild your outbuildings when damaged by insured events, such as fire, flooding, storm damage or subsidence. Examples of outbuildings can include a greenhouse, a shed, a detached garage and a summerhouse. Outbuildings cover is often included in the buildings insurance so check this with the insurance provider.
What isn’t included in second home insurance?
A second home insurance policy won’t normally cover you for:
- Wear and tear
- Damage caused as a result of poor workmanship or neglect
- Accidental damage — this can be included in addition to your standard cover as detailed above
- Electrical or mechanical breakdown — for example, a cooker that comes to the end of its life and stops working
- Deliberate damage
- Damage caused by pets
Each insurance provider has its own exclusions so be sure to check these carefully.
Get expert help with your second home insurance needs
Our mortgage and protection brokers – based throughout Kent, London and Edinburgh – are here to discuss the cover needed for your second home. They can determine the right types of cover to match the use of your property and advise you on the optional add-ons available. For the buildings insurance aspect of your policy, they can guide you on how to calculate the rebuild value of your second home. If you need contents insurance, they can guide you on how to work out the value of your contents. This ensures that you won’t overestimate or underestimate the level of cover needed for the buildings and contents insurance. When taking out both types of cover, our brokers can check whether a combined second home insurance policy would be more beneficial for you.
To insure your second home, just give us a call on 01322 907 000. When comparing the second home insurance UK deals, our specialist brokers will check the inclusions and exclusions carefully. They will tailor your policy to ensure that it fully meets your needs so that the best financial protection is in place. If you’re unable to get in touch with us by phone, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, send an enquiry to us via our contact form. We will reply to you as quickly as possible with more details on the insurance options available for your second home.
How much does second home insurance cost?
The cost of second home insurance varies depending on numerous factors. These include:
- What your second home is used for
- The type of property it is
- How often your second home is left unoccupied
- How much it would cost to rebuild your property from scratch
- The value of your belongings
- The additional cover included in your policy
- Your claims history
- The size of your property
- The age of your property
- Where your second home is located
- The materials your property was built with
Can you get cheaper second home insurance?
There are various measures you can take to benefit from lower second home insurance premiums, as detailed below.
Make your property as secure as possible
For example, have a solid door, suitable window and door locks, a burglar alarm, security lighting and a surveillance camera. This reduces the risk of break-ins, which your second home can be more susceptible to if left empty for long periods.
Combine your buildings and contents insurance
It’s usually cheaper to combine these in the same policy rather than taking out separate policies.
Use the same insurance provider that you have for your main residence
It may be more cost-effective to take out your second home insurance with the same provider. They may also offer incentives that you wouldn’t benefit from if you used a different provider.
Pay annually rather than monthly
When paying monthly, interest is usually added to your premiums, making it more expensive.
Agree to a higher voluntary excess
If you make a claim, you have to pay compulsory excess but there’s also a voluntary excess amount. This would have to be paid along with the compulsory excess in the event of a claim. By agreeing to a voluntary excess amount, you usually benefit from lower premiums. The higher the excess you agree to, the better you can expect your premiums to be.
Maintain your property
If your property is well-maintained and any issues are dealt with quickly, this lowers the risk of damage occurring. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of claims being made. The insurance provider may recognise this by offering lower premiums.
Keep your no claims discount (NCD) intact
If you have refrained from making any claims, the insurance provider is likely to reward you with lower premiums.
Don’t allow your policy to auto-renew
When your second home insurance policy is ready to expire, get in touch with our mortgage and protection advisers rather than letting your policy renew automatically. That way, they can review your circumstances and shop around on your behalf for more competitive second home insurance cover.
Do you need second home insurance?
Buying a property is a major investment so it makes sense to financially protect it with the right insurance. Second home insurance isn’t a legal requirement but you need to consider the ramifications if your property should become damaged or even destroyed without it in place. As you won’t use your second home as much as your main residence, it’s more susceptible to risk. For example, if a pipe bursts when you’re not there, a lot of damage might be caused to your property by the time you realise there’s an issue. The costs to repair the damage will be a lot higher as a result. Another example is that an unoccupied property is more at risk of being broken into. Although second home insurance isn’t mandatory, a lender will expect you to at least have buildings insurance in place if you’re using a mortgage to buy the property with.
Arrange essential financial protection for your second home
Your second home is an expensive asset so have peace of mind that it’s financially protected with insurance cover. If you’re undecided as to whether or not to have a policy, just think about the costs involved if an unexpected incident occurs. Your home could be extensively damaged or even destroyed — how would you cover the repairs or rebuild costs without insurance? Would you be able to afford to replace all of your belongings if your second property was broken into?
Our mortgage and protection brokers – located throughout Kent, London and Edinburgh – are here to answer any queries you may have about second home insurance. They can advise you on the types of cover you need for your property, depending on its use. This includes any optional add-ons that may benefit you. They can also guide you on how to calculate the sum assured to ensure that you’re not under- or over-insured. Just give us a call on 01322 907 000 and our specialist brokers will be happy to discuss your insurance needs and put the right protection in place for your second home.
At Trinity Finance, we will tailor your policy to meet your specific requirements. Our second home insurance experts will search for the best deals to meet those requirements, providing you with affordable cover. To get started, simply send us an email at email@example.com if you’re unable to contact us by phone. Alternatively, send your details to us via our contact form. We will reply to you as quickly as possible with more information to financially protect your second home.
Yes, if you own more than one residence, you can insure each one. Each property needs a separate home insurance policy as the cover needed will be different. The standard home insurance provided for a main residence is different to the insurance needed for a second home. As well as the use of each property, the cover will also differ depending on the property types, construction materials and locations, among other factors.
No, having insurance cover for your second home isn’t a legal requirement although a lender will usually insist that you have buildings insurance in place if you’ve applied for a mortgage. This is because the mortgage will be secured against the property so the lender will need to protect their asset.
Even if you’re not applying for a mortgage, having insurance in place is recommended to provide you with financial protection. Your property could be damaged by unexpected events, such as a fire or flooding, or it could be broken into and your belongings stolen. As your second home is likely to be left standing empty for long periods, it’s more susceptible to risk.
Yes, if your second home is a listed property, you can take out specialist cover in the form of a listed building insurance policy. Just be aware that your property will be more expensive to insure due to the increased risk. For example, the materials that your second home has been constructed from and the age of your property can make it more susceptible to damage by damp or fire. Any repairs to damage caused would have to be done using the same materials, which tend to be hard to find and very costly. The repairs would also have to be carried out by a specialist company.
If a member of your family, such as an elderly parent or a child, moves into your second home, you should take out landlord insurance, even if you’re not charging them rent or only a nominal amount. This is because landlord insurance includes public liability cover, which protects you in the event that someone is injured or their property is damaged while in your home. It can also include legal expenses cover in case you end up in a legal dispute with them. There are various other inclusions that you can choose too, such as loss of rent insurance and alternative accommodation cover.
If you don’t notify your insurance provider that a family member has moved into your second home and, therefore, you don’t have the right cover in place, any claims you make may be rejected. This means that you would have to pay for any repairs or replacements yourself if your second home is damaged or broken into.
Yes, and you can decide whether you prefer to use a UK-based insurance provider or one in the country where your property is located.
When considering a UK insurer, check which countries they cover. For example, some may provide cover for one overseas property but restrict this cover to Europe. Ask them how a claim for your overseas property would be dealt with and how long the claim process would take. Also, check the inclusions. For example, a policy taken out with a UK-based insurer may cover you for travel expenses, such as flights there and back to deal with an emergency, such as a flood.
When considering an insurer that’s local to your property, check the process and time frame for making claims. You may find that it’s a lot easier and quicker than dealing with a UK-based insurer. If you’re not fluent in the language, also check that a copy of the policy will be provided in English.
Insuring a second home tends to be more expensive than taking out a standard home insurance policy on your main home. This is because of the increased risk. As your property is likely to be standing empty for long periods, it’s at greater risk of being broken into or suffering from damage. For example, if a pipe bursts and you’re not aware of this as no one is in the property, a considerable amount of damage may be caused by the time you realise. The insurance provider will more than likely charge you higher premiums as a result of this increased risk.
The amount you pay, however, depends on various factors. These include the property type, its location, what it’s used for and the level of cover you need, among others. There are ways to lower your premiums, such as installing security features and paying for your policy annually rather than monthly.
Standard home insurance usually only covers properties that are left empty for up to 30 days. As second homes tend to be left unoccupied for longer periods, second home insurance allows for this. The extent to which the policy will provide cover depends on the insurer. For example, your policy may cover your second home if it’s left unoccupied for up to 60 days. Or your property can be left for longer unoccupied periods when you take out unoccupied insurance.
There may also be stipulations to adhere to. These can include checking on the property at set intervals, whether you do this yourself or ask someone to visit the property on your behalf. You may be required to turn the water off or to keep the property at a minimum temperature to avoid the risk of frozen pipes.