Extended caravan holidays: home insurance

Going on an extended caravan holiday? Home insurance explained

A week away is all well and good, but when you own a caravan it becomes a lot easier to plan something on an altogether grander scale: a month in the sun, a season on tour, perhaps even a much longer trip. For an extended spell away from home, protecting it becomes a top priority. As part of this, you should look carefully at the insurance provisions you have in place; not least, paying attention to any policy requirements on how long your home can be left unoccupied without invalidating the policy.

With this in mind, here’s how to keep your property in safe hands and to ensure your household insurance provision matches your travel plans.

What are the home insurance implications of a long holiday?

The majority of burglaries occur when a property is unoccupied. Where a property is left vacant for long periods, potential intruders with an area in their sights are often able to read the telltale signs of this absence. These signs might include a buildup of mail in the porch, closed shutters and curtains, or the fact that the car outside has not moved.

Common ‘snags’ that can occur within a home can also be more problematic where the property is vacant. For instance, if an unexpected leak appears in the roof or a water pipe ruptures, being at home means you are able to identify and deal with it quickly. Left unchecked and unnoticed, a minor issue could turn into a bigger, more expensive problem. 

Insurers take the view that the longer a property is left unoccupied, the greater the risk of theft or damage — leading to a stronger likelihood of a claim on the policy. For this reason, most home insurance policies have specific conditions attached to them that relate to minimum occupancy levels. In other words, if your property is left empty for a certain period of time, the policy is invalidated, preventing you from claiming on it.

Are you planning a long trip?

Home insurance covers two elements:

  • Buildings cover: this relates to the structure of your home, protecting it against unexpected loss or damage.
  • Contents insurance: protects your household goods and personal belongings while they are in your property.

It’s relatively common for buildings and contents cover to be under a single policy. Alternatively, you might have coverage under two separate policies — perhaps issued by different companies. If they are separate, it’s important to check the position and make sure you meet your obligations for both companies.

Firstly, check the wording of the policy and accompanying schedule. In most cases, it will state that your insurance is restricted and that the ability to claim for theft, malicious damage, and other types of damage is excluded if your home is unoccupied for a certain length of time. Typically, the time stated is 30 days.

If you’re planning on holidaying for longer than the stated period, contact your insurers. It’s likely the company should still be able to protect you providing certain conditions are met. Here, the solution put in place is likely to depend on the nature of the property, how long you are going to be away, and what extra precautions can be put in place.

For instance, if you intend to be on holiday for between six weeks and a couple of months, they may agree to continue to provide cover so long as you ask a neighbour or relative to visit the property regularly to keep an eye on it. Alternatively, they may agree to continue to provide cover on the same basis if you pay an extra premium.

For a much longer holiday (three months or six months, for instance), cover under your existing policy might not be a possibility — especially for a property deemed vulnerable. In this situation, it may be necessary to take out specific unoccupied property insurance. Providing protection for a range of risks including damage by squatters, vandalism, theft, and water damage, it’s usually possible to opt for three, six, nine, or twelve month policies to suit your circumstances.

Ensure you are protected

Home insurance does not, however, cover wear and tear. For instance, if your roof has been in need of work for some time, and it just so happens that it finally ‘gives way’ causing water ingress while you are on holiday, this is not covered. If you suffer loss because of storm damage by contrast, this should be covered. As such, you should take care of any potentially problematic maintenance issues before a long trip.

Having someone on hand to check on the property can really help to give you reassurance while you are away. If it’s a winter trip, timing the heating to come on occasionally can help to prevent damage to pipework through freezing, while a mail redirect can help stop a build up of post on your mat.

Did you know that with Club Care home insurance, it is possible to be covered for up to 180 days away from your home? Designed and chosen to meet the needs of camping and caravanning enthusiasts, find the ideal insurance solution for your needs by exploring Club Care Insurance