Overseas property owners were reminded recently why suitable buildings and contents insurance is so important and not just an unecessary expense.

Article written by The Overseas Guides Company

There have been devastating forest fires on Spain’s Costa del Sol at the end of August. Earlier the same month, parts of Tenerife also went up in flames while the end of July saw large parts of northern Catalonia on fire. Less than a year ago parts of north-west Italy and south-east France, also both popular with British homeowners, suffered terrible flooding.

That your second home could be hit by natural distasters only reinforces the need to have it suitably insured. With that in mind, here are 10 top tips for getting the right cover from the Overseas Guides Company:

  1. Choose a UK insurance company, rather than a foreign one – the helpline and your policy will be in English, you can make payments in Sterling and by direct debit, and typically your liability limits will be higher.
  2. Be sure to choose a specialist policy intended for holiday homes. A standard household and contents policy won’t cover you for those periods when the property is vacant or rented out.
  3. Check you are insured for an adequate value. The sum your property is insured for is based on how much it would cost to rebuild and should be index-linked.
  4. Don’t forget to include contents – on a “new for old” basis – in your policy. Buildings insurance will cover permanent fixtures and fittings against damage but other items, such as appliances and furniture, will need insuring under a contents policy.
  5. If you rent out your property make sure you are covered for public liability insurance, loss of rental income following a claim, emergency travel and accommodation, and accidental damage cover for holiday tenants, as well as friends and family.
  6. Foreign insurers often do not provide the same level of public liability cover as those in the UK – in Spain, for example, cover is typically up to £200K. Remember you could be sued back in the UK for an injury that occurred in your property abroad.
  7. Typical features that will increase your premium include a private pool/ hot tub, non-habitable outbuildings, or a conservatory. So a studio apartment will cost less to insure than a four-bedroom villa with a summer house and pool.
  8. Insurance premiums do vary, if only a little, by country and in some countries you may need insurance against certain natural disasters, such as earthquakes, or other scenarios such as electrical power surges.
  9. Foreign taxes are applicable to many policies. Check that the correct taxes will be paid by your insurer – UK insurers should do this for you automatically.
  10. Consider how you would cope if you had to ask a plumber or electrician to visit your overseas home in an emergency. Some insurers, such as Intasure, offer access to a 24-hour helpline with English-speaking staff who will provide a translation service or speak to tradesmen on your behalf.
  11. For more information and a no-obligation insurance quote, visit our Insurance Zone

    For details of overseas properties for sale around the world, visit the listings on Rightmove Overseas. One way to save money when buying abroad or emigrating is to use a currency exchange specialist when transferring your pounds into a foreign currency. For more information on this, visit the Currency Zone or contact Smart Currency Exchange.

    The views and comments herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Rightmove Overseas, Rightmove Group Ltd or Rightmove Plc