Long gone are the days when you had to pop into the insurance broker’s shop on your local high street to renew your annual car or home insurance… probably a good thing in these times of coronavirus! The internet has made insurance much easier to arrange and, in real terms, has reduced the cost of many types of insurance, with savings on staff and shop rents compared to the old high street brokers.
However, there are still some areas where specialist insurance brokers are better than mass-market internet insurance providers.
This is true when it comes to park homes and holiday caravans/lodges. There are many specialist brokers that serve this market and, while most of these have a good online presence as well, you can normally call them to have a chat and arrange the best insurance for you, in a way that’s often not possible on the large internet-only insurance sites.
Because these companies provide insurance that is tailor-made for park homes or holiday homes, their policies are often even cheaper than more generic mass-market home insurance policies. This is because they recognise the lower risk that park home communities represent, when it comes to things such as burglaries.
Compared to traditional brick-built homes, park homes and holiday homes come with their own unique advantages as well as some unique risks, where traditional home insurance may not be up to the job of offering the best cover. In addition, because park homes and holiday homes are classified as non-standard-construction properties by most traditional house insurers, then some of these companies won’t even offer cover for park homes or holiday homes.
Specialist insurers will take into account both the advantages and disadvantages, park and holiday homes when creating their policies. Looking at one of the major advantages, park homes and holiday homes are usually located in secure communities, with very little crime. Specialist insurers are well aware of this and can offer cheaper cover as a result. Park homes in particular are often occupied by older people are well used to looking after a home, with less chance of damage inside the home from misuse, especially by children.
Other unique benefits also include the timber construction of park homes, meaning they can be relatively cheap to repair in the event of any minor damage which is covered by insurance. The cost of totally replacing a home that has been destroyed by something like fire may also be cheaper and easier with a park home than with a traditional brick-built home, with the ability to just order a new home from a manufacturer.
On the riskier side, this timber construction can, of course, be more of an issue when it comes to fire damage, a factor which specialist insurers will also take into account.
Another risk can be the location of the site, particularly with holiday homes. That nice seaside or riverside spot might make for a perfect holiday, but there can sometimes be a greater risk of flooding and, again, specialist park and holiday home insurers are well aware of this and can offer advice as well as special cover. They have maps showing which locations are at more risk of flooding than others.
So, to sum up, a specialist insurer will be much more aware of both the problems and benefits when it comes to park or holiday home living. As a result they can offer you tailor made cover so that you are properly insured. The other advantage is that specialist insurers are often much smaller operations than the large companies that insure traditional homes, so when you contact the company you are more likely to get a friendly welcome, as well as speaking to someone who is a real expert rather than just an inexperienced call centre operative.
The expert view
To get a professional view of why using a specialist insurance broker can be the best option, we spoke to Paul Baker, who has worked in the industry for decades and now runs his own specialist insurance company called Paul Baker Insurance Services. He explained, “The park home insurance market is relatively small, around 80,000 homes, which tends to restrict the appetite of many insurers and on-line insurance providers. Never the less, this is a very competitive market place, with specialist providers offering a good choice of policy cover and benefits, and in some cases an in-house claims handling service too. The advantage of using a specialist intermediary is that they should be offering you a product which meets your needs, and they should also have a good knowledge of park homes, their construction, the ownership model, the law and the particular risks to which this type of home is exposed.”
What type of cover is best for me?
There are a number of aspects to consider when insuring your park or holiday home and your specialist broker will be able to talk you through all the options of their own policies. For instance, do you want to pay for ‘new-for-old’ cover, where your home and/or its contents are replaced by brand new items in the event of total damage?
Also you may need to decide if you want just the structure of the home covered, or all its contents as well. Then, you may also find that some policies give you the option to list any really expensive items, to make sure they are properly covered.
It’s also worth looking at the financial fact on the insurance. How much is the ‘sum insured’ for instance, which should be high enough to cover the total rebuild or replacement of you home in the event of a total loss due to fire/flowing etc.
Also, have a check to see if items such as sanitary ware are included in the policy. If you accidentally drop a hammer into the toilet bowl and smash it, then this cover will get you a replacement toilet fitted.
A specialist insurer will talk you through all the options on their policy and you should find that all eventualities that could befall a park or leisure home are already included in the policy, making for the sort of peace of mind that won’t be there if you just go for non-specialist insurance on a comparison website. The other thing to mention is that specialist insurance can actually work out cheaper than ‘cheap’ insurance sold on the net, so you can save money as well as benefitting from greater peace of mind.
We hope our A-Z guide will help you to find the best insurer for your park home or holiday home. It’s also a good idea to get more than one quote, so that you can compare both the level of cover offered and the cost, remembering that the cheapest policy may, or may not, be the best: you need to check exactly what is covered by each.
Find the A-Z Insurance Directory in the December 2020 issue of Park Home & Holiday Caravan