Park and holiday home advice: the right insurance policy
Park and holiday home insurance is a specialist subject. Several companies offer expertise in this field. Our guide provides a snapshot of the cover available, together with tips on what to look for when choosing insurance.
Choosing the most appropriate insurance cover for either a park or holiday home is quite different from arranging cover for a house. Happily, there are insurance companies that specialise in cover tailored specifically for residential park homes and also for holiday homes.
If you’ve never previously bought a park or holiday home, and so you haven’t explored insurance in this sector, our guide will give you lots of useful tips and pointers.
PARK HOME INSURANCE COVER WHEN UNOCCUPIED
One of the key differences between a holiday home and your main bricks and mortar home is that a holiday home, by its nature, is going to
be unoccupied for a lot of the time. Specialist insurance companies are aware of this and offer policies that are tailored appropriately.
In a similar way, if you buy a residential park home with the intention of freeing up capital to spend on lengthy holidays abroad, as many people do, you will need cover that allows for leaving your home unoccupied – and suitable cover is out there waiting to be found, from companies that recognise the need.
SHEDS AND FENCES
Some policies cover sheds, outdoor storage boxes, garages and fences; others do not. Some specify that you must drain down your home if it is not being used during the winter, to prevent frost damage. Some include cover for outdoor furniture when a holiday home is in use; some don’t. These are some of the factors to consider as you shop around for the cover that’s most appropriate for you. And there’s more...
INSURANCE WHEN RENTING OUT A HOLIDAY HOME
If you’re renting out your holiday home, check that the cover you buy includes this. Also check if the holiday home is covered if it’s being used by relatives or friends on a non-rental basis.
SNAPSHOTS OF SPECIALIST PARK HOME INSURANCE COVER
We talked to some of the major park and holiday home specialist insurance providers and gathered advice, tips and snapshots of the cover they offer, as a start-point to choosing the right policy to suit your needs. As with any sphere of insurance, we advise you to read lots of websites – and shop around. We’ve not attempted to compare any of the companies’ offerings; that’s not the purpose of the article. This guide will get you going – then it’s down to you to compare the fine details on insurers’ websites, to select the policy that is right for you.
Shield Total Insurance
Shield’s cover for both park and holiday homes includes damage or loss caused by flooding, trees, fire, storms, subsidence and landslip.
The company’s park home insurance covers steps, balconies, patios, skirting and fences, plus gates and storage buildings.
Shield offers new-for-old cover on holiday homes that are up to 20 years old. Damage caused by impact from a vehicle is also covered. Flotation devices are covered, too; these are mechanisms, used in flood-prone areas, that raise the holiday home in the event of a flood.
Shield gave us this general advice on things to consider when choosing insurance: park home owners should check that they are insured for escape of water, storm damage and contents of fridges and freezers. Also, Shield advises that you get your gas system checked by an engineer each year – that goes for holiday homes, too.
“We have seen several holiday home caravans damaged by joyriders or broken into by thieves whilst unoccupied,” says Shield, and advises you check that the cover you buy offers protection should this happen.
And, for people who rent out their holiday home, Shield has this advice: “Owners may try to recoup some of their season’s costs by renting out their unit. They must check that the site owner permits this, and notify their insurers. We would also advise that any intended renters are checked thoroughly, as sometimes units are occupied by someone other than those making the booking!”
Park Home Assist Insurance Services
Park Home Assist points out that both residential park homes and holiday homes are considered to be a ‘non-standard’ risk by general insurance companies. “This is because they are constructed of very different materials to conventional bricks and mortar homes that insurers are used to dealing with.”
It’s why you need specialist park home insurance.
Park Home Assist also points out that a park home policy does not cover the base on which it sits (for subsidence, for example); that’s the park owner’s responsibility.
Advice relating to draining down your park home if you are away, to prevent frost damage that may result in a claim, comes from Park Home Assist: “Between 1 November and 31 March, if your park home is left without an occupant for more than 48 hours, drain down the entire water system as a precaution to prevent freezing and any potential damage this may cause.” And a tip: when you drain the water system, open the taps in bathrooms and the kitchen to make sure all of the water drains out after you have turned off the water supply.
And another tip: jewellery should be valued every five years and you should keep photographs of the items. This is because jewellery claims are settled on the replacement cost of the item. So, if you don’t have an up-to-date valuation, it can be difficult to establish its value.
Intasure offers policies for both holiday and park homes. For holiday homes, cover includes the cost of emergency travel following a claim.
Intasure insurance for both park and holiday homes features cover during periods when the home is unoccupied. Protection for hot tubs is also offered. Accidental damage cover for family and tenants is available as an option. New-for-old market value cover is available for both holiday and park homes.
Leisuredays features new-for-old cover, on units up to 15 years old, and offers this advice: “Bear in mind that you will have to insure your holiday home at its brand-new replacement cost for new-for-old cover to apply.
“Check levels of insurance cover and make sure it meets your needs. Leisuredays’ static caravan insurance policy comes with extensive cover for accidental damage, fire, theft, storm and flood, as well as cover for fixtures and fittings, like decking, fencing and sheds.”
Leisuredays also gave us this tip for when choosing insurance: “Look at the review websites, such as Trustpilot, and see how customers rate the company. Also, check customer satisfaction comments for how the insurance company handles claims.” Good advice!
Lifesure offers policies for both park and holiday homes as well as categories including car cover, classic car insurance, travel insurance and breakdown policies.
The company is able to provide flood cover for park homes even in high-risk areas, following its adoption of the government-backed Flood Re scheme. This a levy that raises £180m every year, funded by all UK insurers that sell home insurance. The money is used towards the cover of flood risks in home insurance policies including park homes.
Lifesure’s park home insurance also includes 24-hour emergency cover, providing contractors for emergency repairs (up to £500 per claim) and up to £15,000 cover for unspecified valuables.
Lifesure told us: “If a customer hires out their holiday home caravan when they are not using it, they are covered for accidental damage and for loss of use should there be an accident at their caravan, and they cannot honour the booking.
“Also, if their caravan holiday home is on the other side of the country to where they live and they drive for hours to get there, only to find something has happened to their caravan and they can’t stay there, the policy will cover the cost of alternative accommodation.”
New-for-old cover is offered on holiday homes up to 20 years old. Lifesure can also provide key cover, for the cost of replacement of keys in the event of damage, theft or loss.
Other features include cover for clothing and household items and theft or accidental damage to outside furniture while the holiday home is in use.
Adrian Flux Insurance Services
Adrian Flux says: “Because park homes are, by their nature, a non-standard home, all our park home insurance policies are designed especially for the out-of-the-ordinary and our staff have a high degree of knowledge in the field of specialist park home insurance.”
For static caravan holiday homes, new-for-old cover is available on units up to five years old. The company also offers a cover option for static caravan holiday homes that are hired out.
If you’re interested in buying a park or holiday home, or you already have one and want inspiration on how to get the most from your park home, then Park and Holiday Home Inspiration magazine is for you. Better still you can download a copy right now, just click here to get the latest copy of Park and Holiday Home Inspiration magazine.
All pictures in this feature are copyright of the named insurance companies and Warners Group Publications and may not be used without written permission