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
- Why insurance is important
- Park homes
- Holiday homes and lodges
- Insurance providers
- Alarm systems
- About our magazine
Why insurance is important
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.
(Photo courtesy of Oakgrove)
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.
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.
Several companies that specialise in park home and holiday home insurance are featured below. Our top three tips: do your research, compare policies, and study the fine details on insurers’ websites, to find the policy that is right for you.
(Photo courtesy of Leisuredays)
Advice from Leisuredays is to look for features such as new-for-old cover. So if your holiday home or park home is destroyed, the policy will make sure it can be replaced with a new one of the equivalent specification. With values of residential and leisure homes increasing, though, make sure you continually insure your unit at its brand-new replacement cost to maintain new-for-old cover.
Leisuredays also stresses that buyers should choose a park or holiday home policy that will cover fixed items to your unit, such as a garage, decking, patios and sheds as part of your park or leisure home’s structure. As part of the contents sums insured, cover should also be provided for carpets, flooring, curtains, furniture and household appliances such as televisions.
A Leisuredays park home insurance policy will cover items such as jewellery and laptops, as standard. Similar to a home insurance policy, you’ll need to specify high-risk, expensive items over £1,500. For holiday homes and lodges, it’s sometimes possible to increase your personal possessions and contents cover to include high-risk items.
For park home insurance, look for insurance which will pay for removing your damaged home, plus any debris and damaged contents should your leisure or residential home be ever written off. You’ll want a policy that will cover all the extra costs associated with this kind of claim, including the costs of transporting a new home and paying for it to be resited and reconnected. Some insurance providers make this cover an option but Leisuredays includes up to £10,000 of cover under the static caravan insurance policy or an unlimited amount on the park home insurance policy.
Advice on the perils of living permanently on a holiday park comes from Parksure… As an insurance specialist in both the park and leisure field, Parksure is well aware of the pitfalls of buying a permanent home on a site that has a licence for holiday use.
Matt Cass, Director of Parksure, says,
If you are living on a holiday park, your insurance may be invalid.
Matt explains why,
Matt points out that another, basic, peril of taking up residency on a holiday park includes lack of security of tenure, meaning that if the park changes hands, you may be asked to leave, and remove your holiday home. So, even though a holiday park may have a 12-month licence, it’s a licence for holiday use, not for permanency. The bottom line is, when you buy a home, double-check the site’s licence and rules. A holiday park's rules will state that you must have a permanent residence elsewhere.
Matt also advises,
Advice from Adrian Flux, whether you are looking to invest in a lodge to use as a second home or for a holiday let, is this,
Adrian Flux offers a large range of peace-of-mind lodge home insurance policies through a wide panel of providers. Using its experience and knowledge of the lodge home market, Adrian Flux can source insurance to match your individual needs. You can earn generous discounts with combined holiday home and contents cover. You can save even more if you invest in extra security, or if you are over 50 years of age.
Standard policies provide cover for fire, storm, flood, escape of water or oil, theft, and malicious damage. Some include accidental breakage to glass tops and fixed glass in furniture, mirrors and ceramic glass in hobs, and accidental damage to TV and audio equipment.
(Photo courtesy of Lifesure)
Key points of Lifesure’s park home policy include contents cover of up to £75,000 for complete peace of mind, 24-hour home emergency cover, flood cover for many who are in high-risk areas and cover of up to £500,000.
Lifesure explained to us that its park home policy is designed for the specific needs of a park home owner and is underwritten by a leading UK insurer, AXA.
The policy includes cover for both malicious and accidental damage. Legal expenses, including those that may be incurred as a result of site disputes, is also a standard component of the policy. Lifesure also offers a personal handling service from start to finish of a claim, for a stress-free experience.
Gloucester-based Compass is a specialist provider of both holiday caravan and residential park home insurance and has experience stretching back more than 40 years.
The Compass holiday caravan and lodge policy offers cover against all the types of loss and damage including flood, storm, fire and also vermin. Compass explained to us that its policy is the only product to offer an underinsurance protection; important in the climate of increasing replacement costs. The policy offers sum-insured cover up to £500,000. Damage as a result of storm, flood, frost and escape of water, in addition to the usual insured perils, is covered. New-for-old cover is available for holiday homes and lodges up to 25 years old. Additional expenses up to £15,000, including debris removal, is covered and the policy includes £5 million of public liability cover. Excess levels start at just £50.
Compass recently relaunched its product for residential park homes and now offers offers two levels of cover (called Essentials and Extra).
The first offers standard cover and is suitable for lower sums insured, or where price may be the most important factor. The Extra cover is designed for homes with higher sums insured, and offers comprehensive cover. New-for-old cover is standard. Sums insured are up to £500,000. As with the holiday home policy, damage as a result of storm, flood, frost and escape of water is covered, as is the cost of debris removal. Unlimited additional expenses are included.
The Compass park home policy offers alternative accommodation if your park home becomes uninhabitable. Cover includes personal possessions when they are away from the park home.
And finally – what you can do yourself to protect your holiday home or lodge against a 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!
About Park & Holiday Home Inspiration magazine
Park & Holiday Home Inspiration magazine is the best guide to finding, buying and living in your perfect park or holiday home. The magazine is ideal for both the budding buyers to be, or for those who have been living the life of luxury for years.
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