Last Updated on October 24, 2014 by Mark Lavington

New addition to our specialist holiday home insurance policy – Legionellosis Liability Cover

iStock_000026201276MediumWe are pleased to announce that when our holiday homeowners next renew their specialist holiday home insurance policy they’ll be benefiting from even more cover. We will now be providing public and products liability cover as standard, which will indemnify owners against accidental bodily injury caused by Legionellosis starting at £250,000 in any one period of insurance. Legionellosis cover is a welcome addition to our already comprehensive holiday home insurance policy.

As specialists in holiday home insurance we understand the industry and the unique insurance requirements of your business. We’re committed to providing holiday let homeowners across the country with a range of cover that meets your needs.

If you’re not familiar with Legionelllosis and how it can affect your guests here’s some more information for you… 

What is Legionellosis and how do you get it?

Legionellosis is the collective term for a group of diseases caused by legionella bacteria. The best known and most serious of these is Legionnaires’ disease, which is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia. Whilst any of your guests could contract Legionnaires’ disease, certain groups of people visiting your holiday home will have increased levels of vulnerability.

These include:

  • People over the age of 45 years.
  • Smokers, heavy drinkers or those with impaired immune systems.
  • Individuals suffering from diabetes, heart, lung disease or other respiratory issues. 

The disease can not be passed from guest to guest as it is contracted by inhaling small water droplets suspended in the air, known as aerosols.  

Where will you find Legionella? 

Legionella bacteria are commonly found at low levels in natural water sources such as rivers, ponds and reservoirs, although it is unlikely someone will contract the disease in these conditions.

The risks of contraction are increased when the water is maintained at a temperature to encourage growth in the number of bacteria and where water may remain stored for a period of time.

In holiday homes the prime areas susceptible to infection will be hot and cold water systems, along with spa and hot tubs, where water may remain at a warm level and be present for a long period of time.

How do you prevent it? 

As a holiday homeowner you have a legal duty to ensure all water systems in your premises are properly operated and maintained to prevent Legionnaires’ disease or any other type of water-borne infection.  

The two most important factors for preventing an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease are:

  • Temperature – cold water should be stored and distributed below 20ºC (68ºF) and hot water heated to above 60ºC (140ºF), distributed at 50ºC (122ºF) or higher. If there is a risk of scalding such as with bath or shower taps then a thermostatic mixer tap should be fitted.
  • Hygiene – the water should be kept free of any impurities and never allowed to stagnate (which is when water loses its freshness by lack of movement). Good housekeeping will reduce the risks, such as flushing out infrequently used shower heads and taps at least weekly and cleaning and de-scaling shower heads and hoses at least quarterly.

A qualified and competent professional should carry out all water works within your holiday home. You should keep documentation of when your system was last checked, along with schedules for regular maintenance and review. 

If your holiday home includes a swimming pool, spa pool or hot tub system we’ve written these more in-depth post on controlling risks such as Legionellosis:

The Health and Safety Executive have produced useful guidance on Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease.   

  • To read the Health and Safety Executives best practice advice on Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease click here

If you have any questions or queries regarding the insurance cover you have in place or if you require a quotation from a specialist for your holiday home insurance please give one of our experienced team a call on 01237 429444.

This article has been created as generic guidance for holiday home, cottage and holiday cottage complex owners and does not constitute legal or insurance advice. If you have any questions relating to health and safety management and the prevention of legionellosis at your holiday cottages you should take advice. 

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