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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.

hot tub legionella

hot tub legionellaWith longer evenings and the busy peak season fast approaching can there be anything better than the thought of relaxing in a hot tub, taking in the fresh air and watching the sunset over a beautiful coast or countryside view?

Holiday homes with a hot tub are proven to secure more bookings. However they do bring additional risks including those associated with Legionella. As the owner it’s your responsibility to ensure that your guests enjoy a healthy and safe environment. This includes being free of diseases caused by the Legionella bacteria.

It’s the less glamorous side of having a hot tub at your holiday let; with water comes Legionella bacteria which can be extremely serious and even deadly. Whilst most of us will have heard of Legionnaires disease many don’t understand the risks. However, with a death associated with a holiday lodge resort in England and another outbreak in a UK-based holiday chalet it must be taken seriously.

What is Legionnaires disease? 

Legionella pneumophila is bacterium which is very common in natural water sources such as rivers and reservoirs. It can also be found in water coolers, ice machines, hot and cold water systems, shower heads and hot tubs. Legionellosis is the collective name for the diseases caused by the bacterium including Legionnaires disease which is a pneumonia type illness.  You can catch it by breathing in tiny droplets of water containing the bacteria that cause the infection. This makes your hot tub a potentially perfect breeding ground for the bacteria if it’s not properly managed.

How do you control the risks associated with Legionella?

So what procedures and processes should you have in place for your hot tub to ensure that the risk of infection is minimised and your guests are able to enjoy their relaxing evening soak?

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Guidance

The HSE has produced a very thorough document on the controls and procedures you should have in place as a hot tub owner. We’ve included a link to this document below. If you’re not already, it’s worth familiarising yourself with all of the processes mentioned in order to ensure your hot tub is kept in a clean and sterile condition throughout the summer and beyond.

  • HSE advice on the control of legionella in your hot tub – to download click here.

Some key points in maintaining your hot tub

  • Conducting a risk assessment

Although these can seem like even more paperwork for your holiday cottage they’re vitally important. They help you understand how to address the risks. When it comes to your hot tub risk assessments should be undertaken by a competent person. This can be you as the owner, so long as you fully understand the system, associated risks and legislation.

It’s important to highlight that even if you don’t undertake the assessment yourself, you’re still responsible for it as the holiday homeowner, so it’s essential that it’s thorough and detailed.

  • Regular monitoring

The risk assessment is only ever the first step in the process; it’s important that you put in place processes that minimise the risks faced by your guests, and that these are then regularly reviewed by a competent person in order to ensure they’re effective.

As with your risk assessment, you’re ultimately responsible for these ongoing measures, so even if you do live a good distance from your home it is worth having a regular check yourself to make sure that your instructions are being delivered and implemented to the standard they need to be.

  • Effective training

To reduce the risk of Legionnaires disease and other infections it’s important that everyone sings from the same hymn sheet. Do you outsource the cleaning and maintenance of your holiday home and hot tub? Then you’ll need to ensure that the cleaner or company you’re using are: familiar with the procedures that you have in place, the installers guidance on cleaning and maintaining your hot tub, along with any other information they need to reduce risks effectively.

Inadequate management, communication or instruction are often the source of problems when it comes to delegating tasks like this, so make sure there’s clear and written guidance on what needs to be completed, with reviews taken on a regular basis and increased in frequency if a new cleaner or individual is made responsible for these tasks.

Our holiday home insurance includes cover for Legionellosis 

We believe in giving our holiday homeowners the broadest level of cover possible. This is why we include cover against accidental bodily injury caused by Legionellosis. We recently increased the public liability extension for Legionellosis liability to provide £1m of cover. This applies to any one period of insurance and includes associated legal fees.

For more information about our specialist holiday home insurance please give our experienced team a call on 01237 429444.

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.