Second homes in the UK and abroad

As some people start returning to their second homes we advise what to look out for externally, internally and what to do if there's a second wave to help prevent making a claim...

With most of the UK now enjoying the relaxed lockdown rules, many of us will be taking the opportunity to take a long overdue holiday, whether that’s venturing abroad, or taking a ‘staycation’, and staying a little closer to home. 

For those with second homes both in the UK and abroad, now is a great time to go and blow the cobwebs away and visit their homes that have been vacant over the lockdown period, even if it’s just for an extended weekend away. We’re lucky enough to have had some pretty benign weather during lockdown, however it’s important to ensure that properties remain well maintained, especially those that are only used for part of the year.

Whilst the odd maintenance job may not be at the top of the mini-break list, maintaining the home can really help to prevent bigger issues that may eventually turn into a claim. But what are the main things to look out for?

What to look out for externally:

  • Clear external gutters of debris and leaves that may have built up over the last few months
  • Visually inspecting the building externally, checking for the condition of; pointing and paintwork
  • Maintaining the garden, cutting back any overgrown plants, trees or shrubs.

What to do internally: 

  • Allow some fresh air into the property to help ventilate and reduce the risk of mould and damp
  • Check pipework for any signs of leaks and inspect the loft for signs of ingress of water
  • Depending on the use of the property, consider arranging for the chimney to be swept before the winter period
  • Make sure boilers, intruder alarms and fire alarms have their annual check-up or service

But most of all, a break away to the second home should be an enjoyable one.

What happens if there is a second wave, or a localised lockdown?

Should a second wave occur, or an area of the country goes into a localised lockdown, we won’t penalise clients for not being able to comply with inspection/unoccupancy requirements as a direct consequence of COVID-19.

We’ve put together some helpful tips on how to keep second homes and holiday homes secure, if a second wave should occur, but can also be used during general periods of unoccupancy too. 

  • Ensure doors, windows and boundary gates are securely locked. If security shutters are present then these should be used
  • Ensure any alarms (intruder & fire) are maintained and put into full and effective operation
  • Make sure that CCTV and external lighting is operational. Consider timers for internal lighting or use smart home devices to control internal lighting
  • Notifying neighbours, friends or family who live nearby that the property will be unoccupied. If possible, arrange for someone to carry out a weekly inspection of the property (this can be an external inspection if possible)
  • Removing any internal and external waste around the premises.




Notes to Editors:

About Covéa Insurance

Covea Insurance plc is the UK underwriting business of leading French mutual insurance group Covéa, who are number 1 for property and liability insurance in France, generating over 16.3 billion Euros in premiums in 2017.  

Covéa Insurance looks after the insurance needs of over 1.5 million policyholders; delivering financial reassurance through its Standard & Poor’s A+ stable rating, as a guaranteed subsidiary of Covéa. 

The company offers motor, household, protection, pet, mid and high net worth insurance and a range of commercial insurance products, through a range of distribution channels. Employing over 1800 people, Covéa Insurance has a strong people and service ethos, having Investors In People Gold accreditation and is signatory to the HM Treasury Women In Finance Charter. It also has World Class service accreditation from the Institute of Customer Service for its Motor Claims, Home Claims and Underwriting Services teams as well as Chartered Insurer status for its Commercial and Mid/High Net Worth business.

In 2018, Covéa Insurance were recipients of the Personal Lines Insurer of the Year award at both the British Insurance Awards and the Insurance Times Awards and was the top rated insurer in the Insurance Times Broker Service Survey for both Personal and Commercial Lines.

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