Just because you’re holidaying in the UK this year doesn’t mean you don’t need to think about insurance. In fact, holidaying closer to home comes with completely different insurance needs than if you were going abroad. Don’t miss out on any of the fun of your staycation by making sure you’ve got the right cover.
Are your belongings insured on holiday?
We usually carry our most valuable possessions with us – items such as our phones, tablets, laptops and jewellery. Most of the time, these will be covered under your home insurance contents policy. However, if you want to take your valuables away on holiday with you, you should check your policy to make sure they will be covered. “There is usually a limit in a home insurance policy (if you opt for cover away from the home), such as £1,500 or £2,000 up to which your personal belongings are insured to,” Says Christine Farmer, Personal Lines Team Leader at Alan Boswell Group. “But if you have items over that limit, such as a camera or bicycle for example, you’ll need to specify them on your policy to make sure they’re fully protected.”
If you’re unsure if your valuable items are covered, or if you have new items to add to your policy, it’s always worth contacting your insurance provider to double check. That way, you can take those belongings away with you safe in knowledge that if something were to happen, they’d be covered.
Do you need travel insurance for UK holidays?
Travel insurance is vital if you’re flying abroad, to make sure you’re covered in case of flight or hotel cancellations or medical expenses. Most of the time, you wouldn’t need full cover if you’re having a staycation, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a need for one particular type of policy in the UK. “We work with an insurer who has just brought out a specific cancellation policy,” Says Christine. “It’s better for UK holidays because it takes out the medical cover and other bits and pieces you would need for going abroad. We generally wouldn’t recommend travel insurance for a UK holiday usually, as you’ll be paying for things you just don’t need, but this policy covers you for things like loss of deposit or cancellation fees which is a much better thing to have, especially at the moment.”
Staying in your second home or thinking of renting it out on Airbnb?
Second home? You’ll need specialist cover
Most standard home insurance policies require the property to be occupied for the majority of the time, so if you’ve got a second home, you’re going to need a specialist insurance policy. “A second home is generally going to be unoccupied more often than a normal house and insurers take that into consideration.” Says Christine. “Buildings and contents cover are fairly standard to get for a second home but you might be missing extras, such as personal belongings cover, as these would be covered by your standard home insurance.”
You may also need to adhere to certain stipulations laid out by the insurer for your second home: “Some might say the property can’t be left unoccupied for longer than 60 consecutive days, under normal home insurance, it’s more like 30. But as long as you’re not leaving it unattended for longer than that, you can come and go as you please without needing to tell the insurers when you’re visiting. Just be aware of your insurer unoccupancy terms as some will vary” Says Christine.
In fact, the only time you need to tell your insurer if you are or aren’t at the property is if it’s going to be unoccupied for longer than the terms detailed in your policy. Christine says: “In the winter months there may be more terms applied to the policy, such as regular inspections of the property, or turning off the water or leaving the heating on to prevent burst pipes.”
It’s also important to remember that if you let your property out as a holiday home, you will need to tell your insurers as this will require a different kind of cover completely. Find out more about holiday home insurance here.
Renting out your place on Airbnb?
Airbnb is a great way to advertise your property for holiday lets, allowing you a great level of flexibility in managing bookings and even giving you the opportunity to let out your own home to holidaymakers. However, this comes with increased risks, and you’ll need a specific insurance policy to cover them. “As you’re letting your property to complete strangers, you’ll need certain covers, such as malicious damage by tenants/holiday makers,” says Christine. “You can also get loss of rent cover which would protect you if, for example, there was a fire and you had to cancel existing bookings whilst the property was being repaired. It would cover you for lost income if you can prove you had bookings.”
Airbnb also gives you the chance to let out a spare room to make some extra income but if you do this, you must tell your home insurance provider. “You definitely have to tell your insurer,” Says Christine. “As you don’t have a formal agreement with a person using your spare room on a short-term let, the risk is higher, especially if you consider you might have a stranger staying in your house two or three times a week potentially. But that’s a risk your insurer would take on, as long as you’re upfront and honest with them about what you’re using that spare room for. They may apply a condition to the policy that theft is only covered if by violent or forcible entry for example.” Find out more about Airbnb insurance here.