“Holiday” home or “second” home – is there a difference?

People lucky enough to have another home as well as their main home can refer to it in different ways. Like so many things in the English language, we don’t have exact defined terms that everyone agrees on.

However, home insurers do mean different things when referring to “holiday” homes and “second” homes:

  • A holiday home is one that you and your family use for holidays from time to time, and may also be let to others, on holiday lets.
  • A second home is one that is occupied frequently by you, often for a purpose – perhaps during the week if working away from the main home. It isn’t usually let to others.

Why is there a difference?

A holiday home may have longer periods when it is unoccupied, as typically holiday homes are used more during the summer holidays, and may not be visited for long periods during the winter. Second homes are lower risk in comparison as there is someone in the property more often.

Also holiday tenants staying in a holiday home may not look after the property as well as the owners, which means a higher chance of damage, particularly to the contents. Short term tenants may not spot gradual signs of damage, such as damp, because they are not in the home long enough to see the changes – and because they are out enjoying their holiday!

So if you do have another home it is important that you explain how you use it when you buy insurance, so you can buy the right cover for your needs. It is also important to check the requirements of your second or holiday home insurance; for instance some insurers require that holiday homes are inspected at least once every 7 days by a key holder – this may be feasible during the letting season when cleaners come into the house between lets, but may be a lot more difficult to achieve in the off season, or if the home is never let.


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