Advice: Park home and holiday home insurance
When you buy a park home or holiday home, it's quite probable that, amid all of the excitement, insurance will be way down your list of priorities. Yet it's absolutely vital that you arrange insurance - and it's worth spending some time researching to find the right policy for your needs. Our guide will set you on the right track, with things to consider as you decide what cover you need, and details of policies offered by some of the specialist insurance companies out there. Specialist insurance is key to finding the cover most suitable for both park and holiday homes.
- Park homes
- Holiday homes and lodges
- Insurance providers
- Alarm systems
- More information
A key point about park homes is their construction; they're made of very different material from bricks and mortar homes and, because of this, have to be repaired by specialist companies should any damage arise. That's a major reason why you need to be insured by a company that is fully conversant with the type of construction. The insurance needs for residential park homes are different from those for holiday homes and leisure lodges. A park home, being your main residence, is likely to contain more items of value than you would normally have in a holiday home.
(Photo courtesy of Oakgrove)
You need to think about cover for cycles in a shed or garage, for example. And food in your freezer; are you covered in the event of an electricity cut-out, for example? Check if you are covered for vermin damage. It's unlikely to happen but, if it does, it can be costly!
If you are planning to go abroad in the future - for example, for extended holidays (many retired people escape to sunnier climes for the British winter), make sure your insurance remains valid while you are away. Just as for bricks and mortar houses, some policies don't cover you if the home is unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days.
Does cover extend to balustrades and decking, fencing and gates? And steps and skirting? And are you covered for flooding?
Standard advice is to go for a new-for-old policy, so that, in the very unlikely event of your home sustaining damage beyond repair, it will be replaced. It's wise to go for alternative accommodation cover, too, so that you'll have somewhere to live while rectification or replacement is carried out.
Holiday homes and lodges
(Photo courtesy of Oaklands Park)
Your holiday home is going to spend a lot of time unoccupied. Specialist insurance companies are aware of the need for cover for this and offer suitable policies.
Check that any exterior storage boxes you may have, for a barbecue and outdoor furniture, are covered - and also the contents. Some policies cover outdoor furniture only when the holiday home is occupied. Many specify that you must drain down your holiday home when it is not being used during the winter, to prevent frost damage.
If you are renting out your holiday home, check that the cover you buy includes this. Also check if the holiday home is covered if it is being used by relatives and friends on a non-rental basis.
If you have a hot tub on your decking, check that your insurance policy covers that, too.
The age of a holiday home is a big factor in insurance terms. Some companies cover holiday homes up to 20 years old; others less. And this may sound dramatic, but standard advice is to go for cover that includes removal of debris in the unlikely event of your holiday home being destroyed.
• Caravan Guard and Leisuredays
We asked park and holiday home insurance specialist, Leisuredays, a division of Caravan Guard, for some pointers on how to get the best cover for your needs. "Park homes and holiday caravans are much more vulnerable to the unpredictable British weather than a typical residential property, so it pays to protect your pride and joy." You need to know what you need to insure - and insure against, Liz Harrison, PR and Communications Manager for Caravan Guard and Leisuredays, advises. "A specialist policy takes care of specific risks faced by residential or holiday park home owners. Specialist insurance will also cover outbuildings around your park or holiday home, so sheds, storage boxes, decking, or, in the case of park homes, even patios and garages."
(Photo courtesy of Leisuredays)
Common claims include panel damage caused by heavy items blowing into static caravans, and sometimes park homes. And something else to consider, "Water leaks and burst pipes are common claims for park home owners," Liz tells us.
Accidental damage cover is valuable, "Everyday mishaps can result in hundreds of pounds of damage. From dropping a shampoo bottle onto a plastic shower tray to spilling red wine on your carpet. Make sure you opt for a policy with full accidental damage cover for your structure and contents." And had you thought of intruders of the small, four-legged variety? "As many caravan holiday homes are left empty over the winter months, they can become the perfect nesting ground for vermin".
(Photo courtesy of Leisuredays)
It's best to insure for all eventualities, including something really major. If a park or holiday home is written off, a policy that embraces that cover will pay out enough to buy a replacement unit, as well as structures such as decking or sheds and contents. "In the case of park home insurance, this should be new-for-old cover to make sure you get brand-new replacements for your home and everything else." Liz says, "New-for-old cover is generally optional on static caravan insurance unless your park has made it compulsory. Remember that the cost of replacing a caravan or park home with new will vary from park to park due to location - so make sure your structure sum insured gives you enough to buy a new unit.
The alternative insurance cover to new-for-old available to static caravan owners is ‘market value'. Liz advises, "This means that, in the event of a total loss, if your sums insured are set correctly, you'll get a settlement equivalent to what it would cost to replace your caravan with an equivalent model of similar age on your holiday park, plus a settlement for your contents and structures, less depreciation for age, wear and tear.
• Shield Total Insurance
With 25 years under its belt, Shield Total Insurance was one of the first specialist providers of insurance for static caravans. Shield says, "We fully understand the unique requirements of holiday home owners so we are able to tailor our products to offer flexible cover options."
The structure, the contents and the plot are all subjects for cover. All the obvious eventualities you'd expect to be covered are catered for - damage from fire, storms, lightning strikes among them, plus cover for landslip and subsidence. In the unusual event of a holiday home or park home being totally destroyed, there's a huge cost of removal of the debris. Shield's policy provides cover for up to £10,000 for both debris removal and the resiting of a replacement unit.
A major subject for insurance providers is flooding. Shield tells us, "Many owners come to us with tales of being declined cover due to their park having a history of flooding. In most cases we can extend the offer of cover if the owner is willing to have a caravan floatation device installed."
Shield offers new-for-old cover for holiday homes up to 20 years old. Damage from falling trees is covered, together with impact damage from a vehicle. Fixed storage chests, balconies and outbuildings are also covered, as are patios and steps. A small but really important point is that Shield offers 'key cover'; £12 per year gets you insurance against loss, theft or breakage of keys to your holiday home. Shield also covers residential park homes and includes cover for damage from trees, storm and flooding, plus cover for freezer contents and computer equipment.
• Adrian Flux
Policies for holiday homes and park homes incorporate a 24-hour claims hotline with counselling support. Items covered include cycles. Adrian Flux offers discounts for alarms and security locks. Among topics covered by Adrian Flux policies for static caravans is cover if you are hiring out your holiday home. Adrian Flux new-for-old cover is available on units that are in their first few years. Agreed value is an option for units that are more than five years old. Options offered include cover for accidental damage, money and credit cards.
(Photo courtesy of Lifesure)
Specialist park home insurance broker, Lifesure, can provide flood cover to many park homes in even the UK's highest-risk flood areas, thanks to its adoption of the Flood Re scheme. Flood Re is a joint initiative between the Government and insurers. It aims to make the flood cover element of household insurance policies more affordable for those in high-risk areas. The Flood Re scheme enables insurance companies to offer cheaper policies to people who live in higher flood risk areas. The Flood Re scheme is used to partly cover the flood risks in home insurance policies, including park homes, and is managed by brokers and insurers.
And finally - what you can do yourself to protect your holiday home or lodge against break-in while you're not there. Just as you may do at your home, you can fit an alarm system. A word of caution, though: make sure the park office has a key to your holiday home, to switch off the alarm if it's triggered by something random such as an insect flying past the PIR; it does happen!
Park & holiday home advice to your door!
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