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self-catering cottage businessHaving the right insurance cover will help you run your self-catering cottage business with confidence. As a holiday letting insurance specialist we have pulled together a few pointers to consider when insuring your cottage complex:

  • Don’t forget however many bookings you take, you are running a self-catering cottage business

There are a wide range of properties being made available for holiday letting. You may holiday let an annexe of your main home, stable or barn conversions, a gate house, or even shepherd’s huts that you intend to holiday let. If they are within the grounds of your home, be sure to make your home insurers aware, as they often do not like businesses being run from the premises and you risk invalidating your cover. Seeking advice from a holiday letting insurance specialist will help you ensure you get the right cover for both the holiday cottage business and your home.

  • Make sure you have the right liability cover for holiday letting

Inviting paying guests into holiday accommodation will inevitably see the occasional slip, trip or injury. It’s vital that you have sufficient Public Liability cover and if you have a hot tub or swimming pool there is a greater risk of Legionellosis so check you also have cover for this. You may employ gardeners, maintenance and housekeeping staff for changeovers. If you do, it is a legal requirement for you to have Employers Liability insurance. Remember, even if you are directing the work of self-employed contractors or employing friends to work on your property, you’ll still need this cover.

  • Protect your income, not just your assets

Loss of income whilst a cottage is unavailable following a claim is often overlooked. Make sure your policy covers all potential bookings lost, not just pre-booked holidays. Your property may be unavailable for a sustained period in the event of a major loss such as a fire, flood or burst pipe, ensure your self-catering cottage business income is fully protected.

  • Heed guidance if you are providing facilities to your guests

Many owners provide additional facilities to help attract guests and secure increased occupancy levels. This may be outdoor play equipment, a swimming pool, sauna or hot tubs. Equally we see pets’ corners, fishing lakes and wedding venues. To protect yourself and your guests, risk assess your additional facilities, provide instruction leaflets and refer to RoSPA safety guidelines. Remember to inspect equipment regularly. Declare all facilities to your insurers and be aware that your policy may contain conditions that you need to follow.

Get the right insurance advice for your self-catering cottage business

The team here at Boshers devote their time to advising owners across the UK on insurance for their self-catering cottages. We’ve been arranging this specialist type of insurance for 30 years. We understand that each self-catering cottage business is unique. We’ll take time to understand your needs and provide you with insurance advice and the right cover.

For additional tips and information on holiday letting visit boshers.co.uk/blog. If you would like an insurance quote for an individual holiday home or cottage or for your self-catering cottage business, give the team a call on 01237 429444.

Holiday letting tips

Holiday letting tipsAs a holiday home owner there’s so much to think about; from guest safety to website photography and Facebook posts to the internal fixtures and fittings. Or even who’s doing the changeovers and mowing the lawns before those guests roll up the driveway.

The good news is that we’re here to help. We talk with holiday homeowners and letting agents every day giving us an insight into many aspects of holiday letting. As a result we’ve put together some of our most useful articles containing holiday letting tips all in one place.

No matter if you’re looking for ideas on how to cut electricity bills or keep the visiting kids safe in the garden, here are some of our top holiday letting tips when it comes to getting the most out of your holiday home this year….

Keeping your guests safe – checks to make before the peak season

You’ll undoubtedly want your guests to have a great time in your cottage and that means that they’ll also need to have a safe time. There are a number of checks and processes you should have in place and these should always be done prior to the busy summer season.

Here are a few checks that you need to tick off the to-do list as a priority:

How to make your cottages dog friendly

There are nearly nine million dog owners in the UK and almost 40% of visitors now want to take their pet with them on holiday. If you’re looking to make the most of this continually growing market or want to fine-tune your cottage to welcome our furry friends then here are some great pointers…

Engaging with the growing green tourism market

It’s not just a welcoming cottage for our trusted canines that piques potential booking interest, as more and more of us are becoming driven by sourcing eco-friendly accommodation. A whopping 58% of English consumers surveyed by VisitEngland indicated they’d want to stay in green accommodation with awards or environmentally friendly practices. Here’s how to communicate your green credentials and a few ideas to grow them, too…

How to make your cottage a haven for families

If you’re welcoming young children into your cottage this year, you’ll need to answer all of the needs that your paying parents arrive with. Here are just a few ideas on how to make your cottage perfect for each family, no matter what the weather….

Keeping children safe on outdoor play equipment

If you’re welcoming children to your cottage then it’s certainly not uncommon to have an outdoor play area for them to enjoy. Ever wondered what you need to do in order to keep them as safe as possible whilst playing on your outdoor equipment? Here’s our guide on everything you should be doing in order to minimise the risks of an accident…

How to make a first impression

Your guests will only ever walk into your home for the first time once. It’s therefore vital you achieve that wow factor which will leave a positive lasting impression. Hampers are an easy and popular welcome gift for guests and, if used well, can start someone’s holiday off on the right foot. Here’s how to get the content right whilst also catering for those with allergies and those who like a tipple!

How to get your property photography right

A photo speaks a thousand words, so getting them right is definitely a priority! Here’s our guide to make sure your images are immaculate. Also included are some elements you might not have thought of until your photographer has made his way home!

Increase bookings by promoting your cottage as a destination

Visitors spend 80% of their time outside of your cottage, yet the average cottage website has 80% of its content focussed on what’s inside. Here’s how to promote your destination and experience in order to grab people’s attention and bookings…

Become more energy efficient

Energy bills across the UK risen considerably; by up to 10% this year and for some by more than 30% in the past 30 months. Being energy efficient is becoming increasingly important, not only to prove your eco credentials but also to keep costs down. Here’s a few ideas on how to do just that…

Electric vehicle charging points

The UK is going electric when it comes to cars and the growth continues to be exponential.  In 2012 there were just 2,254 electric cars sold in England. Fast forward to 2015 and that figure was hitting 30,000. Last year? Near 60,000 electric plugin cars were sold. If you want to welcome this growing trend of traveller then here’s all you need to know about your electric hook-up point….

Getting your insurance right

We’ve been working with holiday home owners for more than 30 years and we’re specialists in making sure that cottages across the UK have the insurance in place that they need. For more information on insuring your holiday home or cottage complex please give our experienced team a call on 01237 429 444.

Leasehold apartment holiday let

Leasehold apartment holiday letAre you considering purchasing a leasehold apartment to holiday let? Although it’s quick and easy to make a listing on the ever-growing list of rental websites; in reality there are a number of steps you should take before buying an apartment and opening your doors to paying guests. Whether you intend to let for a limited number of weeks to help with costs or to provide a more regular income you should ensure that you can comply with the terms of your lease. Have an appropriate mortgage and suitable insurance for holiday letting.

Does your lease allow you to let your property?

From insurance to your lease and mortgage agreements, we take a look at what you’ll need to be considering and the action you should be taking before letting your property…

The implications for leasehold properties

It’s estimated there are tens of thousands of leasehold properties currently listed on AirBnB and similar holiday rental sites. However, an extremely common clause in any lease is that the property must be for “private residence” possibly prohibiting the subletting of the property for short periods.

So what does that mean? In essence if you were to holiday let the apartment and your lease included this or a similar clause, you’re in breach of your lease. As a result you could face the consequences should your freeholder choose to take issue with it. These could include and extend to your landlord asking you to cease holiday letting and potential legal action.

A recent ruling in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), which is the highest property court in the land, has supported this stance. In this particular case one resident in a block of London flats fell out with fellow neighbours by letting her property on AirBnB and a range of other similar sites. When others in the block became disgruntled by her actions they asked the landlord to take action, with the case subsequently going to court.

Take legal advice to ensure the apartment is suitable for holiday letting

With a legal precedent now set, if you own a leasehold apartment and are wanting to holiday let it you should first check your lease. For those considering purchasing a leasehold apartment to holiday let it’s vital you check the terms of your lease before committing to buy. Seek advice from your solicitor and be upfront with them and the estate agent regarding your intentions to holiday let. In many popular holiday areas across the UK apartments are springing up. Some new build apartment blocks are intended for use as second homes and holiday lets. Those that are should have appropriate leasehold wordings to allow holiday letting. However do double check and seek advice.

The implications for second homes purchased with a mortgage

So does the above leasehold scenario extend to a property purchased with a mortgage?

The answer really lays in the agreement that you have with the lender. If you’re intending to let your second home to paying guests it’s important you have the right mortgage. Either:

  • secure a mortgage that allows this type of letting from the outset, or alternatively
  • consult with your existing agreement to ensure that it’s not prohibited.

Seek advice from your mortgage adviser who’ll be able to guide you through your options. They’ll provide advice to ensure you comply with the lenders requirements and source a loan to match your needs. Taking the right advice should be both cost effective and tax efficient.

Getting your holiday letting insurance right

When people visit and stay in your home they bring with them a unique range of insurance requirements. These far outreach the standard household buildings and contents policy cover you’d usually have for your home. For example:

  • what if one of your guests has an accident in your property?
  • What if you’re unable to let your property for any period of time as a result of an incident?
  • Would you be able to pay the legal fees should there be a claim made against you?
  • Does the freeholder’s block policy for the buildings insurance include cover for your fixtures and fittings?

These are all areas that could cause distress and expense were you not to have the correct insurance cover.

When holiday letting your second home to paying guests it’s essential to take advice on suitable insurance. Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday letting owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday letting apartment? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.

 

holiday letting public liability

holiday letting public liability

As a holiday homeowner you’re sure to take pride and care in the service you give to each guest. You’ll want them to have a great time and to return home safely with some magical memories. However, sometimes accidents or incidents completely outside of your control can happen. This is the time at which your holiday home insurance intermediary and insurer are here to help you. Boshers are committed to continually review and expand the cover we offer to our holiday homeowners. We’re pleased to announce we have increased our Holiday Letting Public Liability cover from £5m to a market-leading £10m.

Let’s explain why we’ve taken this step and what’s covered.

What is Holiday Letting Public Liability cover?

Holiday cottages across the country welcome millions of guests throughout the year. Public Liability Insurance covers the holiday homeowner if those visitors were to suffer injury, death, disease or illness during their stay, the cause of which is in someway attributed to the property owner.

Whether there’s been a slip that’s resulted in a bumped head, or a far worse accident, this cover will ensure you are protected from the legal costs and any compensation that may be due.

Levels of cover

Unlike Employers Liability, there is no legal requirement for a holiday homeowner to have Public Liability cover. However, if you welcome paying guests into your cottage you could be left heavily out of pocket if any of those staying with you were to suffer an accident. It should therefore be a case of how much cover do you need, rather than if you need it or not.

It’s previously been recommended that cover of £3 million for small properties (sleeping up to two guests) and £5 million for larger properties, would be sufficient. By offering our holiday homeowners up to £10 million we’re giving complete peace of mind that should anything happen, our policy will provide you with an unrivalled level of support.

Why have we increased our cover?

We specialise in holiday home insurance; it’s what we do day-in, day-out. With that in mind we’re constantly monitoring the marketplace, speaking with cottage owners and other industry experts. This means that we’re able to keep our finger on the pulse of what holiday homeowners need. We are able to respond accordingly by improving our holiday home insurance cover to meet industy demands and market changes.

We want our insurance to be the complete package for holiday let owners. Increasing our holiday letting public liability cover to £10m is another step towards this. Our clients can rest assured that they and their holiday home or cottage complex is getting the protection required.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Would you like an insurance quote for your holiday letting property? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

Dog friendly holiday home insurance

Dog friendly holiday home insuranceDog friendly holiday home insurance is well worth considering if you offer pet friendly self-catering accommodation. The dog-friendly tourism market is one that’s grown exponentially over the past decade. This isn’t surprising considering that a staggering one in four UK households has a dog to call their own.

With more and more of us taking our dogs and other pets on holiday with us, have you asked yourself whether your holiday home insurance is as dog friendly as your accommodation?

Some insurance policies (even those with accidental damage cover included) exclude damage caused by pets. Therefore if a guests golden retriever unwittingly knocked the television off its stand you’d not be able to claim.

When it comes to our own holiday home insurance we’re striving to offer owners an unrivalled range of cover. So we of course include your guest’s pet causing an accident too. However there are a few things for you to consider before welcoming dogs into your holiday home.

Things to consider with your insurance when welcoming dogs

What’s covered?

When you welcome dogs into your holiday home this will inevitably lead to a heavier level of wear and tear over time. This won’t be covered within an insurance policy, which is why some holiday homeowners will make an additional charge for those bringing dogs with them to cover the costs of the additional time it may take to clean and remove dog hairs.

Your insurance is there for a one-off identifiable event; if for example a dog were to knock some items off of a shelf causing them to fall and shatter, this would be covered under our policy, but not if your insurer excluded damage by pets from theirs.

Minimising the potential for problems

If you welcome dogs to your holiday home, you’ll want to be sure that their owners know and understand their obligations before they arrive.

Consider outlining a few ground rules at booking such as:

  • Setting a maximum number of dogs allowed per booking.
  • Indicating that dogs can’t be left alone or unsupervised in the holiday accommodation.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the bedrooms or on furniture.
  • That dogs are up to date with vaccinations, worming and flea treatments.
  • That dogs are in good health.

You may also want to communicate this in your welcome pack to ensure everyone is clear on where the dog can and can’t go within your holiday home.

Advice for pet friendly accommodation

If you’ve been welcoming pets for some time you’ll have no doubt found the best way to accommodate them.  If you’re currently considering it then here’re a few tips. They’ll help ensure wear and tear is kept to a minimum and you’re ready to greet a man’s best friend.

  1. Consider having tiled or wooden flooring on the ground floor of your property; it’ll be far easier to clean up hairs and mud than that beautifully laid carpet!
  2. Stair gates aren’t just for children; they can also be used to stop pets making their way upstairs!
  3. Some dogs like life on two paws as much as they do on four; ensure that furnishings, ornaments and vases are kept in places they can’t be knocked down or seized upon for a good chew!
  4. Fix flat screen televisions to the wall rather than placing on consoles; a broken television is one of the most common household claims in the UK.
  5. Use a vacuum cleaner with a “HEPA” (High Efficiency Particulate Air) rated filter to reduce allergens which can affect people who are susceptible to allergies or asthma.

Welcoming guests with assistance dogs to your holiday home

To help you understand the rights of guests with assistance dogs, The Equality and Human Rights Commission and VisitEngland have produced an informative publication mentioned in our previous article, link below:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For information on how our dog friendly holiday home insurance can help protect your holiday letting property, call us on 01237 429444.

 

Holiday home insurance cost

Holiday home insurance costA question that all holiday homeowners will have asked themselves, or perhaps wonder when their insurance is up for renewal. How much should I be paying and is it value for money? So how much should your holiday home insurance cost?

When it comes to insurance, the true cost is the price you would pay should the worst happen. Especially if you find you’re not fully covered. What would you do, if for example your holiday home were to become uninhabitable? This could be due to a fire or the severe flooding we’ve seen across the UK in recent years.

In this case having the wrong insurance in place at a lower premium would be a false economy. Thus a proportion or at worst all the cost of restoring your cottage potentially falling at your feet.

For that reason, we’ve taken a look at some of the key areas you need to focus on when arranging holiday home insurance.

Is your insurer aware that you let your holiday home to paying guests?

Most conventional home insurance policies exlude cover for letting to paying guests. Therefore relying on a home insurance policy to cover your second home for holiday letting is false economy. In the event of a claim the policy may not provide you with the cover you need.

How much would it cost to rebuild your holiday home?

Understanding the cost of rebuilding your holiday home, rather than its current market value is very important. The cost of rebuilding your holiday home is central to ensuring you have the correct buildings insurance in place. This is the maximum amount that your insurer will need to pay out should the worst happen, and therefore the amount you should be insured up to. Under declaring the cost of rebuilding your holiday home to save premium could mean you are underinsured. The effect of this is that you may have to meet a proportion of the cost of a claim yourself. The amount would depend on the degree of underinsurance but far outweigh any saving made on your holiday home insurance cost.

If your holiday home falls within a range of standard house types the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have a useful rebuilding cost calculator to aid you in getting the right figure. You can read more about how to get your holiday home insurance buildings sums insured right here:

How high is your Public Liability cover?

With so many guests visiting holiday homes across the UK each year, not having an adequate level of Public Liability insurance is a potential risk. Whether there’s been a slip that resulted in cuts and bruises, or a far worse accident, this area of cover will keep your holiday cottage protected against the legal costs and any compensation that may occur.

Our own policy covers our holiday homeowners for up to £10 million, so it’s worth checking your own Policy to review your current level of cover.

Loss of rental income

Holiday homes come with specialist circumstances and therefore need specialist insurance.  A key component of this is loss of rental income, which steps in to support you if your holiday home were ever to become uninhabitable due to fire, flood or storm damage.

This cover ensures you’ll not lose out on the rental income you’d otherwise have gained during that period, which could be catastrophic, particularly if your holiday cottage were to be out of action during the peak summer months.

We encourage all holiday homeowners to check that they have this cover in place, and that they have an adequate level to cover their current rental income.

Our own policy offers our holiday homeowners £75,000 of loss of rental income over two years as standard. Is your rental income higher? We can extend your cover to reflect that.

Accidental damage and theft even whilst occupied by guests

We’ve covered off some of the larger and key areas of cover that make up your policy, but there can be some added extras that support you and really add value to the premiums you pay each year when you need to call upon them.

Guests bring with them plenty to think of when it comes to insurance; what happens if they break something? Stain that new carpet or rip those beautiful curtains? How about if something were to be stolen whilst your guests are staying?

As specialists in holiday home insurance for over 25 years, we understand the day to day running of holiday cottages. Our holiday home insurance policy reflects that in the broad range of cover we provide. Whether it’s accidental damage, covering you for that theft or getting you back on your feet after a significant event, we’re here to support you.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

 

buying a holiday cottage

buying a holiday cottageThe tourism industry is now worth more than £137 billion to the UK economy and with the latest Census figures showing that more than 1.6 million people in England now own a second home, could you be ready to join the queue of people buying a holiday cottage and welcoming guests through their doors?

We take a look at six areas to consider when buying a holiday cottage to let…

Location – an important consideration when buying a holiday cottage to let

If you’re deliberating over buying a holiday cottage to let, the likelihood is that it’s going to be away from your current place of residence. This comes with some added considerations; areas popular with tourism often carry with them a premium price, and also require a local knowledge to ensure you’re in the right place.

In some locations the difference a mile can make in potential rental value you can expect to gain, and the price you’ll have to pay can be massive.

Ensure you do your research; speak with a number of local agents, and also visit a range of properties in the locality to allow you a greater understanding of the market. You want to make sure what it is you’re buying is going to give you an adequate return.

Size matters

Who is going to want to stay in your property, and does the size therefore make it suitable?  If your holiday cottage is likely to be full of young families from spring to summer then it’s vital you have the space in which to accommodate them. You may also want to consider the space outside of your holiday home; does it have a large garden in which children can play? Or where romantic couples can watch the sun set?

Also bear in mind that the larger your holiday home is, the more maintenance and cleaning it will require. Who will be doing that for you? Are you factoring this into your on going running costs?

Local amenities

What is it that brings people to a certain location? Whilst getting the right sized property in the right spot will significantly increase your chances of bookings, it’s important to remember that guests will actually spend the majority of their time outside of your holiday home!

Tourist attractions, restaurants and pubs, walks and beaches; all these things will make great selling points when it comes to marketing your holiday cottage and it’s vital that as an industry we all work together in order to promote the destinations in which we live and work.

Taxes

The type of property you buy and where, will ultimately boil down to how much you have to spend, but there are a few extra costs you need to take into account.

Additional taxes apply to any second home, the biggest of which is Stamp Duty. Last November the Government announced a new 3% surcharge will apply to each stamp duty band on any additional properties costing more than £40,000. These changes come into effect from April.

So if you’re looking at buying a holiday home for £250,000 bear in mind you’ll need an extra 8% (£20,000) on top. Click here for full details about Stamp Duty changes.

Registering as a Furnished Holiday Letting (FHL) will also affect your income tax, so do your research into how to qualify. More information on how to qualify can be found here:

Legislation

Knowing UK holiday letting laws before you buy a holiday home is hugely important when it comes to understanding your rights and responsibilities.

From health and safety regulations to maintenance guidelines, ensure you you’re fully clued up before making that investment. Take a look at our health and safety guidance section for more information.

Specialist Holiday Letting Insurance

Once you’ve found your perfect property, you’ll need specialist holiday home insurance to protect you from incurring financial loss if your property suffers an insured peril.

Working with a specialist means they understand the risks you’re facing, and can provide you with the cover that you really need. Whether it’s Loss of Rent cover that ensures you don’t lose out should your holiday home become uninhabitable due to issues such as storm damage, or Accidental Damage making sure you don’t end up out of pocket if a guest damages your property, our team will speak with people just like you every day and will be able to help.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support you if you’re buying a holiday cottage to let, please give us a call on 01237 429444.