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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Holiday Home Insurance: How to choose the best cover

By David Ball

Many people buying a holiday home or second home in the UK or in Europe are offered holiday home insurance cover by an insurer, broker, their foreign agent or notary. Of course it is too easy not to say "No", but the cover offered may not be suitable due to the special insurance requirements needed for a holiday home or second home.

With the inherent risks of owning a holiday home in the UK or abroad being substantially greater than that of your main residence, there is a real need for holiday homes insurance policy written in plain English which pays particular attention to the special requirements for second homes and which also provides a wide band of cover.

Buildings and Contents cover should be flexible so that owners do not end up paying for cover that they do not need. Not every property has a swimming pool. Certain features are considered to be of vital importance, and therefore overseas home insurance cover for loss of use, legal liability for domestic staff, public liability and accidental damage to domestic supplies should be included as standard. Your holiday property insurance should also ensure that all local taxes on overseas properties are included within the premium.

The true value of any insurance is however only fully appreciated when a claim is made. Holiday home owners who own a property overseas and have overseas holiday home insurance should be spared the difficulties of discussing their claim with a foreign agent via a continental telephone call, and should be able to speak directly to experienced English staff that will provide assistance and be fully responsible for liaising with the overseas loss adjusters.

You might think that the best thing to go for is cheap holiday home insurance, but you really need to ask yourself whether you are really that well covered with the cheapest policy? Although low premium rates are often of importance, the overseas house insurance cover should be simple to understand, offer a high level of security and in the event of a claim a satisfactory result.

You must get specialist overseas holiday property insurance. And you must get insurance for buildings and contents designed exclusively for properties used as holiday homes or let for holiday use. Using an insurance agent who does not specialize in, or fully understand the requirements of your holiday home or let property, you may find that you do not have adequate cover to fully protect your holiday home. It is essential that you get the correct property insurance to suit the specialized requirements needed for your holiday home.

Do you have cover for legal liability for domestic employees? What restrictions are in place when letting and un-occupancy etc? And most important of all what do you do in the event of a claim? As an owner of a holiday home abroad, it is vital that you fully understand the extent and limitations of your insurance policy.

If your holiday home insurance policy has been placed through an insurance agent or notary in the following countries: UK, Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus Greece, Ireland, Malta, Monaco or Andorra , it is more likely that they have not informed you and that you simply do not know.

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