Protecting your holiday home

Making sure your holiday home is insured and well protected when you’re not there is important – particularly since its likely to be unoccupied for a portion of the year.

Diligent maintenance can help protect your second home when you’re not there and safeguard your investment. Here’s our top tips how:

Get the right buildings and contents insurance

Like your main residence, you’ll need building and contents insurance to protect your building and the valuables inside it. Holiday homes are more vulnerable to accidents like burst pipes for the simple reason that they’re used less frequently – standard home insurance isn’t always suitable because most policies limit the amount of time the house can be left unoccupied.

Some insurers offer dedicated holiday home insurance, while others simply use a modified buildings and contents insurance policy for your second home – read your policy documents carefully and make sure you declare how often you use your holiday home and how often it’s left empty.

Manage the temperature

An empty home is at higher risk in winter if the temperature drops suddenly or there is a period of heavy rainfall. You could have to contend with anything from a burst pipe to damp or water ingress from a leaking roof. One of the simplest ways to avoid a pipe burst is to manage the temperature. Make sure pipes are well insulated to guard against a sharp drop in temperature and consider keeping the building heated so it can never fall below freezing. Pay special attention to any exposed pipes, particularly in cooler areas of the home such as the attic or basement.

Consider renting

Offering your holiday home as a rental to other vacationers offers the opportunity for some extra income and the added bonus of keeping the house regularly occupied throughout the year. If there is activity at the house on a regular basis, it’s more likely to be a deterrent for thieves. You could manage the process yourself through services like Airbnb or hire a local holiday lets company to do it for you for a small fee – if you’re going to explore this option, make sure to check with local authorities about any rules or permits you need to do this legally.

Hire a maintenance company

Hiring a property manager or maintenance company to keep an eye on your home while you’re away can be a worthwhile investment. In the summer proper garden maintenance will give the impression someone is home, while in the winter snow removal services can make sure the house is accessible and secure from the elements.

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