This category is for articles relevant to owners of holiday homes, cottages and holiday cottage complexes in England, Wales or Scotland. It contains articles full of tips and guides on many aspects of running a holiday letting property. Check out these posts, Business rates for holiday cottage complexes, Holiday home industry code of practice, Essential guide for cottage owners.

Loss of income cover -holiday home insurance

Are you covered for loss of income?

Loss of income cover -holiday home insurance This can be an exciting time of the year for holiday homeowners. We know it can also be a busy time; taking bookings, preparing properties and making sure you are fully prepared for the first influx of visitors to your holiday home.

So think for a moment.

What would you do if something happened to your property that meant it were out of action for the busiest time of the year?

Would your insurance cover you?

Would you be able to stomach the financial implications of the potential loss of income during those summer months?

It can often be difficult to think about the worst-case scenario, particularly at a time of such optimism, but if you do need to face it then you’ll want to know that you’re holiday home insurance policy includes of loss of income cover.

What is Loss of Income Insurance?

If your holiday home becomes uninhabitable as the result of something outside your control such as flood or fire it can have serious financial consequences.  With the seasonal trends of tourism these consequences can be exacerbated even further should the event happen in the peak or even shoulder months.

At Boshers we want to support you in getting back to your feet as quickly as possible.  As specialists we understand the price you’ll have to pay should you lose trade during the upcoming months and for this reason we include Loss of Income insurance as standard with our Holiday Home Insurance Policy.

This insurance covers you for the potential loss of income you may suffer as a result of disruption or interruption caused by an insured event.

This means that should you lose trade then you’ll not have to pay the price of the loss of trade you suffer through cancellations and periods of not being able to accept bookings.

We also understand that repairs and maintenance after such an event won’t be immediate; that’s why our indemnity period extends to two years.

Check your holiday home insurance policy document

Insurance should be there to support you as and when you need it but it’s vital to ensure you fully understand the cover you have in place and that it’s adequate for your business needs.

The cover provided by insurers varies and you should always read through your policy document and summary of insurance, checking that you have the right cover for your business.

At Boshers we’re specialists at understanding holiday home businesses; our team has in excess of 350 years experience in dealing with them.  It’s this knowledge that makes sure we understand your holiday home inside out, and allows us to be able to identify the cover you need before you need it.

For more information on how a specialist insurer for your holiday home can help please give us a call on 01237 429444.

*For full information on your insurance always check your policy document or speak with your insurance provider.

holiday home access statement

holiday home access statement With visitor needs becoming increasingly diverse in nature it’s becoming more and more important to let your potential guests know that your property is the right one for them; that it meets all of their needs and it ticks all of the right boxes in terms of access, facilities and services.

An access statement, if you’re not already familiar, is a document that lays out the facilities and services your holiday home has to offer.

As we highlighted in a previous blog post `Marketing benefits of having an access statement for your holiday home‘, they can be used to support the marketing of your property, but their benefits don’t just stop there.

They can also be utilised to help your holiday home meet legislative requirements such as the Equality Act 2010, act as good housekeeping to reduce the risk of a holiday home insurance liability claim, and also stand you in good stead should a guest make a complaint that your property isn’t suitable for their needs.

If you’re currently looking at creating an Access Statement or reviewing your existing document we’ve put together the following tips:

The VisitEngland Access Statement Tool

When first writing your Access Statement it can be daunting; what information should you include? What should it look like? How long should it be?

These may well be questions that you are asking.

VisitEngland has created an online Access Statement Tool that will provide your statement with a framework.  You’ll be provided with an information collection form and once completed an Access Statement to download from their website.

This can save considerable amounts of time and ensure your Access Statement falls within best practice.

To access the VisitEngland online tool please visit:

http://www.access.tourismtools.co.uk/

Be thorough but concise

Your Access Statement should be thorough but concise.  If there are reams and reams of text then information that could be vital to the person reading it is likely to get lost.

Make sure you prioritise your content and also separate it into sections; this will make it more easily digestible for potential guests.

Make sure your Access Statement includes photos as well as text.  This will allow the reader to gain a full picture and context of the information you are referring to.

Ensure you cover potential issues for all people

Statistics from VisitEngland indicate that 1 in 5 people residing in the United Kingdom have some form of disability.  Of these, only 8% are wheelchair users.

Access and suitability for wheelchair users should form an important part of your Access Statement but also make sure you cover issues that others could potentially incur; for example if you had deaf or blind visitors is your property suitable for their stay and what information would they find most pertinent.

Integrate it with your other marketing and communications

Once you have an Access Statement it’s important that people can easily find it and that this isn’t just isolated to a link on your website.  You should consider integrating it as a central element of your marketing communications and fully utilise it as a sales tool.

For example, if someone emails you with an enquiry about your property you could not only email back with the answer to that question but also attach your Access Statement, providing them with a full understanding of whether or not your property is the perfect one for their needs.

This can not only promote your property but also save you time answering lots of separate questions.

Your Access Statement doesn’t need to be another clerical task; it could well be the new prong in your marketing attack.  Why not use it to make sure they know you’re the perfect home for their holiday?

For further information and quotations for your holiday home insurance call our specialist team on 01237 429444.

Furnished Holiday Lettings - A Tax Guide

Fresh off the printing press, the second edition of Furnished Holiday Lettings – A Tax Guide was prompted by the Pawson case and the implications for business property relief on holiday lets. It has also been updated with revised HMRC guidance in relation to “dwelling houses” and new rules for fixtures in property.  This clear and practical guide expertly written by taxation specialist John Endacott includes useful guidance inspired in response to the furore over the proposed abolition of the furnished holiday lettings tax rules and the changes to the Finance Act 2011. Furnished Holiday Lettings - A Tax Guide

This informative book is a practical guide to the tax rules relating to furnished holiday homes and includes in its comprehensive contents, information on:

  • Background to the tax rules
  • Property letting or trading?
  • Meeting the qualifying criteria
  • Furnished holiday letting in the EEA
  • Sale of a property
  • Holiday lets and exemption from inheritance tax
  • Succession planning for Furnished Holiday Lettings
  • Rates, VAT and other UK taxes

Providing clear worked examples to explain the taxation implications of owning and running furnished holiday lettings, it makes a useful reference for your accountant and investors wishing to increase their own knowledge and is therefore recommended to:

  • Existing furnished holiday letting owners
  • Prospective holiday home purchasers looking to let their second homes
  • Those considering converting barns or out buildings into furnished holiday lettings

Furnished Holiday Lettings – A Tax Guide 2nd Edition is available to purchase here.

For advice on specialist insurance for furnished holiday lettings get in touch with our dedicated team on 01237 429444.

clean holiday home

clean holiday home

Although your holiday home will have a thorough clean at every changeover, overtime dirt, grime and dust can gradually build up in those hard to reach areas affecting the natural aroma of your property.

Dazzling your guests with a sparkling holiday home that smells clean and fresh will encourage them to treat it with respect and tell others about their great stay.

A clean holiday home is a safe holiday home

A clean holiday home is a safe holiday home and just maybe these 10 steps to revive your holiday homes interior will help you put that extra sparkle back as well as keeping you and your guests’ safe.

  1. Working from the top down – dust first, then vacuum using a model with a clean HEPA filter, this will reduce allergy causing carpet mites.
  2. Pull your furniture away – from walls and move beds away from where they stand to allow access to wash and vacuum the walls, carpets and furniture backs as appropriate.
  3. Gather the dust with a radiator brush – use radiator brushes to clean dust from inside double radiators and behind them.
  4. Steam clean and your upholstery will gleam – your upholsteries every 6 months, this includes, curtains, sofas etc
  5. Deep clean your carpets every six months to ensure they are kept fresh and wash walls, skirting and architraves
  6. Shine up those shower doors – rubbing a teaspoon of lemon oil on glass shower doors twice a month causes water to bead up and roll off.
  7. Don’t let the bathroom mould get a hold – scrub away black mould from baths, showers, sinks, walls, ceilings and sanitary ware. Replace silicone sealant where necessary. Reduce condensation by supplying a window squeegee for your guests to remove excess water from shower cubicles and screens and regularly clean your bathroom extractor fan grille to maintain its efficiency.
  8. Make those windows sparkle – clean the insides of your windows regularly, and at least twice a year open them and clean inside the frames. Mould can build up inside the openings, especially on UPVC window frames in humid coastal areas.
  9. Don’t let the bed bugs bite – Use mite resistant covers on mattresses, duvets, pillow cases and cushion covers. Periodically place cushions and pillows in plastic bags, squeeze as much air out as possible to reduce the volume and place them in a freezer for 48 hours, this will kill any mites that have made themselves at home in your furnishings.
  10. A clean kitchen is a safe kitchen – Remove all cutlery, crockery and pans from kitchen units. Deep clean inside of units. Check contents for chips, cracks, dents, loose handles and replace as necessary. Deep clean the oven, pans and grill. Replace extractor hood filters at least annually.
Access Statements

Access Statements

The marketing benefits of having an access statement for your holiday home, letting apartment or holiday cottage complex

A recent House of Lords committee found the country is “woefully under-prepared” for the social and economic challenges presented by an ageing society.

Britain is indeed ageing; by 2030 it’s predicted the City of London will have seen an 83% increase in the population over the age of 65 and for similar rises to have been replicated across the country.

Statistics from VisitEngland also suggest that as many as 1 in 5 people residing in the United Kingdom have some form of disability.

What does this mean to you as a holiday home owner?

A sharper focus has fallen on being able to meet the broadening needs of visitors and for those guests with specific requirements to be able to find the accommodation that best fits their needs.

One of the ways this can be addressed is through the use of an access statement.

These are documents that outline pertinent facts about your property and its facilities in a concise format.  They can cover a multitude of different types of information, from the number of steps in the property to wheelchair access or the width of hall and doorways.

Their aim is to primarily answer whether or not your property is suitable for the needs of individual visitor.

How can having an access statement help the marketing of your holiday home?

1.  Managing visitor expectations by the provision of information

Information is key.  An access statement can give your potential visitors a full understanding of whether or not your property is suitable for their needs.

By providing this information in a single document before arrival they can also play an important role in managing visitor expectations; they know exactly what it is they’re getting before they arrive.

2.  Increase chances of booking and free up time on the phone

If you’re able to communicate that you’re exactly what they want and need it can increase your chances of converting enquiries into bookings, whilst also freeing up time which may have otherwise been spent fielding questions on your facilities.

3.  Stand out from your competitors

Many of your visitors will now be using the internet to directly compare their options.

If your holiday home or cottage is being used as a direct comparison with another competitor you’ll want to ensure that potential visitor knows all you have to offer; your access statement can answer their questions.

Do you need an access statement?

Whilst you’re not obliged to have an access statement to trade as a holiday let it is the minimum requirement for VisitEngland accommodation and visitor attraction quality scheme members.

In a market in which the needs of visitors is continually expanding, developing and evolving the provision of information is becoming increasingly important.

If you have everything your visitor needs you can utilise your access statement as a real marketing tool to go out there and tell them.

More information on how you can put together your access statement is available from VisitEngland

Key to protecting your holiday let

Your key to protecting your holiday let. As claims increase so do premiums. Fortunately there’s lots you can do to protect your holiday let, your guests and help keep insurance costs down. Take the time to read this informative infographic which explains some of the more common claims affecting holiday homes. There are also top tips on how you can protect your holiday let and reduce the risk of having a claim yourself.

If you are having any trouble viewing the interactive version of `Your key to protecting your holiday let’ you can view the original infographic here.

Your key to protecting your holiday let

Burst pipes and escape of water. We paid out more holiday home insurance claims for burst pipe and escape of water than any other type of claim. What can you do to protect your holiday let from burst pipes and escape of water?

  • Ongoing maintenance
  • Regular property inspections when unoccupied
  • Shut off the water when your holiday home is not let and/or leave the heating on
  • Install a leak detection system or auto stopcock
  • Insulate water pipes and storage tanks
  • Regularly service your holiday home boiler and heating system

Click here for more top tips to protect your holiday let from burst pipes and escape of water.

Storm and flood damage caused £400 million pounds of damage to 8000 homes in the UK during 2012 thanks to the wettest weather in a century.  What can you do to protect your holiday let and your guests from storm and flood damage?

  • Maintain drains, gutters and culverts at your holiday home
  • Have a flood plan if your property is vulnerable
  • Turn off gas and electricity and move items upstairs

Click here for more top tips to protect your holiday let and your guests from storm and flood damage

Theft and escape of oil and pollution claims payments have averaged £12,781. The cost of heating oil claims are often inflated by the length of time it can render your holiday home unusable whilst resulting pollution is dealt with. What can you do to protect your holiday let from heating oil theft, escape of oil and subsequent pollution damage?

  • Conceal your heating oil tank
  • Fit a lock, security lighting or alarm device
  • Have your heating oil tank inspected regularly
  • Replace your tank when advised to do so

Click here for more tips to protect your holiday let from heating oil theft, escape of oil and subsequent pollution damage

Fire was the cause of the highest claim paid of any incident on our holiday home insurance scheme. At £281,108 the claim represents more than 700 times our average premium. What can you do to protect your holiday let and your guests from a fire?

  • Review your holiday let fire risk assessments 
  • Ensure electrics are safe
  • Sweep chimneys regularly

Click here for more tips to protect your holiday let and your guests from a fire.

Slips and Trips claims are all to common and emphasises the importance of having holiday home insurance including liability cover which extends to the use of your second home as a holiday let. Slips and trip claims can be inflated by legal costs. The highest claims paid for slips and trips is £31,750. What can you do to protect your holiday let guests from slips, trips and falls?

  • Secure carpets and rugs
  • Install secure handrails for stairs and steps
  • Maintain paths, driveways and patios

Click here for more tips to protect your holiday let guests from slips, trips and falls.

For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

Thank you for reading the post, protecting your holiday let infographic.

Painting a holiday cottage
10 steps to revive your holiday homes exterior

10 steps to revive your holiday homes exterior.

In this post we explore 10 steps to revive your holiday homes exterior. A holiday let property with real kerb appeal will lift your spirits and that of your guests. First impressions count for so much, especially in the self-catering accommodation sector where guests expectations have risen to new heights as the availability of good quality UK holiday letting properties has increased. Investing the time to take a look at your holiday homes exterior with an `objective eye’ and making small improvements will surely pay dividends by way of repeat bookings and recommendations.

10 steps to revive your holiday homes exterior

  1. Clean sweep – remove leaves and debris on a regular basis. Pay particular attention to drain covers which will have the added bonus of reducing the risk of flooding during heavy rain. If clearing drains by hand be sure to wear gloves.
  2. Take the pressure off with a pressure wash – paving, paths, brick and stonework can become covered in dirt, algae and lichen. Using a pressure washer can make easier work of rejuvenating the outside of your property and reducing the risk of slips and trips.
  3. Whip out weeds – not just in your gardens and borders, also pay attention to paths and the boundaries of your holiday home. Are the adjoining properties letting yours down? Why not offer to weed those too.
  4. Repair and paint window frames – preventative maintenance will keep out the rot and save you money in the long term.
  5. Revitalise paintwork – regularly washing your exterior paintwork will give it a real lift and remove dirt containing corrosive pollutants increasing the life of your paint.
  6. Put the sparkle back – there is nothing like clean gleaming windows to really make a home stand out and look loved.
  7. Keep it clear – prune back shrubs and greenery that are obscuring the front of your holiday home, overhanging paths or generally blocking views and light.
  8. Flower power – replenish planters and hanging baskets regularly with suitable plants for the coming season. Worried about watering? Why not leave a watering can for guests with a polite note asking if they will help.
  9. See the light – outside lighting can really lift the look of your holiday home when the sun goes down, as well as being important for both your guests safety and security. Replace corroded fittings and clean regularly.
  10. Spit and polish – your door furniture, house number or name plate can make a lasting impression on your guests, a fresh coat of paint on your front door and polished brass can really lift the entrance to your holiday let.

These 10 steps to revive your holiday homes exterior to maintain and improve its kerb appeal has been compiled as an aide memoir. As a serious holiday let owner you are likely to be doing most of these already, indeed you may have other tips to share with your fellow holiday home owners. Feel free to use the comments box below add your advice on increasing a holiday homes kerb appeal. When employing people or directing the labour of self-employed to carry out maintenance at your holiday home, you are required by law to have employers liability insurance. One of the benefits of Boshers holiday home insurance policy is the inclusion of £10m of employers liability cover as standard. You may also find the following posts for holiday home owners of interest:

Follow this link for posts similar to 10 steps to revive your holiday homes exterior and other useful resources for holiday home owners For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

Thank you for reading 10 steps to revive your holiday homes exterior.

Holiday Home Insurance

Boshers Holiday Home InsuranceLetting a holiday home commercially has many benefits: however, there are also risks – such as not having the right insurance cover to protect your valuable investment. Holiday Home Insurance specialist, Boshers Ltd of www.boshers.co.uk, gives its top 12 things to consider when buying holiday home insurance

  1. Take advice

    Your holiday home is likely to be one of your most valuable assets. Our top tip is take advice from a holiday home insurance broker who specialises in the furnished holiday letting market. They should take the time to understand your needs, importantly they will understand the risks involved in holiday letting and will have negotiated a package of covers to protect your financial interest in the property. Follow the link for information on how to contact Boshers for holiday home insurance advice.

  2. Legislation

    You may not think of furnished holiday letting as a business, however by allowing paying guests stay in your property that is what it becomes. You have a duty of care to your guests, visitors and employees to ensure that you abide by all relevant legislation which covers areas such as health and safety, planning, building regulations, fire safety, gas safety and discrimination.

  3. Disclosure

    Be open and honest with your insurer, it is your responsibility to provide complete and accurate information to your insurers when you take out the policy and throughout the life of your policy. Failure to disclose or giving false information in order to obtain insurance may deem your contract invalid and therefore be costly in the event of a loss.

  4. Policy conditions

    A specialist broker will make you aware of the benefits as well as point out clearly any conditions or warranties that may apply. Make sure that you fully understand the implications if you don’t comply. Excesses should also be considered.

  5. Employers Liability

    Cover to indemnify you against your legal liability to pay damages and legal costs arising out of bodily injury to an employed person such as a cleaner or gardener employed in connection with your holiday let business.

  6. Public and Products Liability

    Cover to indemnify you against your legal liability to pay damages arising out of accidental injury to guests and other visitors to your holiday let and accidental damage to a third parties property caused in connection with your holiday let. This should extend to include liabilities arising from the maintenance of your property and premises and the provision of fire and security services maintained for the protection of your holiday let and the supply of goods sold or supplied by you, in connection with your holiday let business.

  7. Buildings

    As well as covering you for standard perils such as fire, flood and theft, you may want to consider cover for accidental damage. Ensure that the buildings definition of your holiday home insurance policy includes all relevant items such as statues, fountains and hot tubs, swimming pools, tennis courts, paths, drives terraces, patios, walls, fences, hedges and gates, fixed aerials, satellite dishes, wind turbines, solar panels, yards, car parks, roads and storage tanks all on the same site. Remember it is important that you insure for the full replacement costs of all of the above including the cost of architect fees and meeting relevant building regulations.

  8. Contents

    As well as covering you for standard perils such as fire, flood and theft, you may want to consider cover for accidental damage. Remember that contents includes all household goods, furniture and furnishings  contained within your holiday let buildings and they should be insured for their full replacement value. Apartment owners may want to check their block buildings policy to ensure that it extends to cover fixtures and fittings within their apartment such as fitted, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom furniture. If not choose a holiday home insurance provider whose Contents definition will extend to include fixtures and fittings and a low for this when calculating your sums insured.  It is also worth checking that the contents cover does not have any unreasonable exclusions such as excluding accidental damage when occupied by paying guests or theft exclusions unless by forceful and violent entry to the property.

  9. Underinsurance

    Saving money by under-stating your sums insured is a false economy. In the event of a large loss resulting in a claim a loss adjuster may be appointed. One of their first tasks will be to ensure that your sums insured are correct. In the event of underinsurance a deduction for `average’ will be made when settling claims. This means the amount that is paid out for any claim will be reduced in proportion to the degree of underinsurance, leaving you to fund the remaining. Follow the link for further information in our Holiday Home Insurance guide to calculating your sums insured

  10. Loss of rental income

    Cover for loss of your rental income should your holiday let be destroyed or damaged by an insured event which interrupts the letting of it. Ensure that the cover provided is sufficient to cover the typical annual revenue generated by your holiday let. In the event of a large loss, rebuilding can often take up to two years so ensure that the indemnity period is sufficient.  Be careful of policies that only offer cover for loss of income as a result of confirmed pre-bookings.

  11. Legal Expenses

    To ensure an expert service this cover, if included in your holiday home insurance policy will often be arranged in conjunction with a specialist legal expenses insurance company.  Cover may be provided to indemnify the insured person in respect of an insured event in connection with your holiday let business.  You should look for cover which extends to employment disputes, legal defence where it is alleged that the insured has committed a criminal offence in connection with the running of their holiday let. In addition, debt recovery, taxation and vat disputes, the eviction of anyone from the property if they do not have the right to be there. Follow the link for further information on the  legal expenses section of Boshers Holiday Home Insurance policy on page 44

  12. Loss of keys

    The reasonable cost necessarily incurred in replacing door or window locks at your holiday let including locks to safes and alarms following theft or loss of keys. Follow the link for more information on Boshers holiday home insurance and loss of keys cover.

Additional guidance and holiday home insurance quotes are available from the Boshers Holiday Home Insurance Team on 01237 429444.

For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

Winter Risks Advice

Winter risks advice for property owners – Our holiday home insurance and household insurance underwriters, Ecclesiastical have produced these useful Winter Risks Advice guides for property owners for us to share with you.

Winter Risks Advice

The extremely cold winters of the last few years have led to many businesses, let property, home and holiday home owners sustaining losses from burst pipes, weight of snow on roofs and ingress of water. With the weather once again turning decidedly chilly, now is the time for us to take action and protect our properties.

Last year our holiday home insurance and home insurance household scheme underwriters Ecclesiastical handled just under 2,000* burst pipe claims which caused considerable inconvenience to the property owner and cost an average of £3,627* each to put right. Unoccupied properties such as holiday cottages can be particularly at risk of very expensive claims during the winter months. A high proportion of the £50,000* plus claims last year occurred in properties where the owner was away for no more than a weekend break. There are a number of simple but effective steps property owners can take to both prevent and reduce the impact of cold weather on their properties.

These useful winter risks advice guides are full of hints and tips and are available to view, download and print:

For further information check out the following useful resources:

*Statistics from Ecclesiastical Household claims data, March 2011 – March 2012

Thermometer showing cold temperatures

Thermometer showing cold temperatures

Top tips for avoiding burst pipes

UK Holiday Home Owner Winter Advice – Burst And Frozen Pipes

Don’t get caught out by freezing weather this winter – Tips to avoid burst pipes for UK Holiday Home Owners

Three of the past four winters have seen the UK suffer a prolonged big freeze which has affected thousands of holiday homes, with freezing temperatures leading to burst pipes and extensive property damage throughout the UK.

Escape of water can devastate a holiday home and is one of the most common holiday home insurance claims. Take some simple steps to protect your property from escape of water damage this winter..!

Here are some useful prevention tips as well as some advice on what to do in the event of you or your guests discovering burst and frozen pipes in your furnished holiday let.

Burst Pipe Prevention Tips

As frozen pipes often burst, winter care is crucial. Try the following care tips:

Policy Conditions
Adhere to your holiday home insurance policy unoccupancy conditions including those regarding:

1. Regular inspections
2. Heating | Utilities during the winter

Heating System Maintenance

  • Make sure your heating system is maintained in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations.

Leave your heating on in sub zero temperatures 

  • This means that water in pipes will remain at a constant temperature and should not get cold enough to freeze. Also remember to remove the hatch to your loft so that warm air can circulate. Please note that leaving your heating on frost stat alone may not be sufficient as with most makes of combi boiler this is designed only to protect the boiler itself from freezing.

Condensing boilers / condensate pipes freezing

  • If you have a condensing type boiler and the condensate drain pipe runs to the exterior of your property, ensure that it has been installed in accordance with the boiler manufacturer’s instructions. Such external pipes if not of large enough diameter (normally at least 32mm), properly installed and insulated can freeze up in cold weather causing the boiler to stop working.

Leaving your holiday home unoccupied for an extended period this winter?

  • Drain down your entire water system and turn off the water supply at the main stop cock situated outside of your premises.

  • If you are leaving your holiday home unoccupied – again consider leaving heating on at a constant low level 24 hours a day, this means that water in pipes will remain at a constant temperature and should not get cold enough to freeze. Also remember to remove the hatch to your loft so that warm air can circulate. (This may appear environmentally unfriendly or a little extravagant during these economic conditions, but it might mean the difference between a ruined home or a dry one when you return from your break)

  • Have someone check on your holiday home regularly in between lets, if a problem is spotted early the damage could be much less.

Lots of lagging

One of the main causes of freezing pipes is lack of lagging – so anyone attempting to do a bit of plumbing themselves, should bear in mind that pipes and tanks in the loft, or anywhere else liable to freeze, need to be properly lagged.

Insulate on top of pipes in your loft or attic

  • Insulation should be laid on top of pipes rather than underneath them, as insulation laid below the pipes will prevent rising heat reaching them.

Water tanks in lofts / attics

  • If located on the floor of your loft or attic and are situated directly above a heated room consider insulating up to, around and above the tank but not underneath it, in order to allow the heat from below to rise and keep the water temperature above freezing. However if your water tanks raised above the floor of your loft or attic should also be insulated underneath, as well as on the tops and the sides.

Find the stop cock

  • Before cold weather arrives, find your main stop cock and make sure you can turn it on or off. It’s generally found underneath your kitchen sink. There should also be an access point for a stop cock outside your home (normally near your driveway) so if all else fails you can turn off the supply there. Leave clear instructions on the location of your stop cock for your guests, cleaner and anyone else who may inspect your property in your absence.

Check the taps

  • Repair any dripping taps and don’t forget to insulate outside taps in your garden or garage (or turn off the water supply to them altogether)

Oil / LPG fuel heating systems

  • Do not allow the level of oil or gas in your tank to fall below a level that would put you at risk of running out during a sustained period of severe weather which may hamper deliveries. Take precautions and have an alternative heating source available incase your supply fails. Heating oil itself can freeze in extremely cold weather, speak to your supplier for additional advice.

Night Storage Heaters

  • Unless they are of a combination type which include a temperature controlled secondary instant heat source such as an inbuilt convector heater, do not rely upon night storage heaters alone to to prevent damage in freezing conditions. Consider treating the property as if it were unheated when unoccupied, i.e. turn off and drain the water system.

Your cover …

Damage caused by freezing water and leaking or “escaping” water from tanks, pipes, or heating systems is covered as standard under Boshers Holiday Home Insurance contents and buildings insurance policies.

  • A frozen pipe can cause it to burst causing thawed water to come pouring from the break. Please follow these steps if you discover a frozen pipe
  • If taps aren’t working, showers aren’t running and you have problems with your heating it could be you have frozen pipes and it’s likely you will already know about it!
  • If you’re not sure check all the taps in your home, especially those hidden away outdoors or in the garage, are they running freely? And what about water fountains and features in the garden? It could be they have frozen and you didn’t even know!

Can I help prevent them bursting?

Thawing out …

  • Open the tap nearest to the part of the pipe you think is frozen so the water can flow through when it has melted. Thaw the ice in the pipe with a hot water bottle or hairdryer (taking care to keep it well away from any water), beginning from the tap end and working back toward the cold water tank. Never use a heat gun or blow torch.

What to do if you discover a burst pipe …

A burst pipe can cause serious damage to your home’s structure and electrical wiring. Please follow these steps if you discover a burst pipe …

  • Turn off the water at the main stop cock (it’s generally found underneath your kitchen sink). By turning off the water you will reduce the amount of water which can escape and so reduce the water damage to your home.
  • Switch off central heating and any other water heating installations at the same time to avoid further damage and open all taps to drain the system.
  • If water leaks near your electrics or electrical appliances, switch off the mains immediately. If it is wet, don’t touch them.
  • Call professional tradesmen as soon as possible to make repairs.

To make a claim on your Boshers holiday home insurance policy, call the 24 hour claims line on 0845 603 8381 or call us at Boshers Ltd on 01237 429444 Open 08:30-17:00 Monday -Friday.

These guidelines have been compiled by Boshers Ltd | holiday home insurance specialists for the benefit of our holiday home insurance policyholders. This advice is provided to you as best practice guidance. Please check your policy document for details of any further conditions specific to your policy. This document is an outline of some steps which can be taken to protect your property and is not definitive. No legal responsibility is accepted by Boshers Ltd for any error or omission or misleading statement contained in this document.