Damage deposits are a major factor when considering turning your second home into a holiday let. Damage to properties...
Public liability insurance for holiday lets is an essential part of protecting yourself against financial risk when welcoming paying guests into your holiday home. As the owner you are liable for any accident that occurs in your property, and without the appropriate cover you could find yourself bankrupted by litigation disputes.
From faulty electrics to misused hot tubs, slips and trips to illness, there are multiple circumstances that can occur, causing serious injury to your guests and serious consequences for you as the owner.
That’s where public liability insurance for holiday lets can give you much needed peace of mind. Here’s everything you need to know about public liability insurance for holiday lets.
In short, public liability insurance for holiday lets protects you, the owner, from legal costs and compensation that you may become liable to pay if a guest suffers injury, death, disease or illness during their stay at your property.
If someone can prove that your negligence led to the occurrence of an incident at your property, then you will be held responsible. Public liability insurance for holiday lets is not required by law, but you’ll be taking a huge risk if you don’t have any cover.
Note: Many holiday let management companies will require you to have minimum cover for personal liability as part of the contract. For example, Sykes require all property owners to have at least £2,000,000 of public liability cover as part of our contract and you’ll need to provide evidence of this policy before you welcome your first guests.
Even if you let your property through a property management company, you will still be liable as the owner of the property.
Welcoming your first guests can be a very exciting experience and you’ll want to make sure your customers have a wonderful time, and even though most people are careful and considerate, sadly accidents do occur.
You may be tempted to included extras such as bikes, hot tubs and trampolines to entice more customers to your property, but these extras all come with significant risk factors. If these extras are not fit for purpose or if you fail to have them checked regularly for safety, then you could be held liable if they cause your guests injuries. You also need to consider if there are features of the property that could cause harm, but cannot be altered, such as low ceilings. You need to think about how that will affect your guests and if there is anything you can do to minimalize risk.
Putting up warning signs: If you have uneven pathways or narrow stairs, low ceilings or unusual building features, you could advise guests by putting up a sign to warn them. You might want to consider doing the same for any open fires or hot tubs. Sometimes a gentle warning or some clear instructions can massively reduce risk. Having visual signs to warns guests of any potential danger can be a great, cost effective way to reduce risk. You can also use brightly colored tape or paint to bring attention to any uneven surfaces or ceilings.
Removing certain objects: You might think that having bikes to offer, or kayaks available will entice more guests but they can come with significant risks. It can be very difficult to make sure that each item is fit for purpose between each letting. You need to consider whether certain items are really necessary. If it can be proved that the item is not fit for purpose, you could be liable. You may find that your property is just as popular without these items, and therefore removing them will significantly reduce the risk or accident and injury.
Tip: you can always team up with local companies that can provide the same items for hire. This would be much safer for both you and the customer and a great way to support local business.
Speak to your provider: Knowing what you are covered for is imperative. You can reduce your risks by removing certain things that the insurer does not cover. Don’t make assumptions, you’ll need to check the small print for exclusions, so you don’t get caught out. If there is anything in the property that you are unsure about, you should ask your provider if it will be covered. You can contact Gallaghers insurance for holiday lets for more information.
Children and elderly or disabled guests: If your property has features that could make it dangerous for children or people with disabilities, you should make sure that you have taken every action possible to make it safe for them. This might include providing a stairgate for children, or making sure that there are adequate hand rails in place for people with mobility issues. Check your property access and see if there is anything you can do to reduce risks. You can always mention any possible risks in the description for the property when it is advertised, or let the guests know of any possible risks before they arrive.
Safety checks and certificates: Make sure that all of your safety checks have been completed by professionals from accredited services. You’ll need a fire safety certificate and you’ll need to make sure all of your electric sockets and gas appliances have been serviced. Remember that any incidents involving these areas are your responsibility.
There are some safety checks that you can do yourself to help reduce the risk:
For further information about safety requirements for holiday lets, you can read our full guide to safety here.
Every employer has the responsibility to provide safe working environments to their staff. As a holiday let owner, if you choose to hire a cleaner, you will be legally responsible for the health and safety of your cleaner while they are working in your property.
The same applies if you hire a gardener at your property. If they suffer an accident or illness while they are working at your property, then you will be responsible.
Most specialist holiday home insurers will be able to offer this as an extra, or they may have packages that offer this as standard. Don’t forget to make sure that it is included if you decide to hire staff.
You don’t want to think about your guests deliberately causing damage to your property, but on rare occasions it can happen. Malicious damage is broadly defined as intentional destruction or defacement of property.
For example, if your guests vandalise the property in anyway, such as deliberately breaking windows, it will be considered as malicious damage. The same goes for incidents of fly tipping and trespassing. As mentioned above, these are usually very rare occurrences, but you don’t want to take the risk of being left with large bills or legal expenses if you find yourself starting litigation proceedings against guests for this type of damage.
Most specialist insurance providers for holiday letting will include cover against malicious damage in their policies, but it’s with checking yours to make sure that it is included.
If you own a property that is part of a leisure park or a caravan park, then you may already be covered by the owner of the park if they already have public liability insurance. But you’ll need to check this with them, quite often the cover the park owner provides will only cover guests in communal areas within the park grounds and not within your private property.
It’s worth checking with the park owners regarding their public liability insurance. You don’t want to get caught out if a guest falls ill from the water supply or has an accident on the grounds. As mentioned previously, it’s best not to assume. Find out where you stand by speaking to your both your insurance provider and your holiday park management.
Pet friendly properties are extremely popular, and people love to take their beloved pets on holiday. If you’re considering welcoming pets to your property, you’ll be accessing a wider customer base, but if a pet suffers an accident or falls ill from being in your property, it is not usually covered by personal liability insurance for holiday lets.
You’ll also be increasing the risk of damage to your property. You may want to consider adding additional charges for pets to cover the extra cleaning costs, or perhaps a small deposit that you can return to the guest if the property is undamaged at the end of the stay. You may find that your customers already have third party insurance that provides cover if their furry friends cause any accidental damage.
We hope that we have given you plenty of food for thought when it comes to public liability insurance for holiday lets. Remember to make sure that you are adequately covered and it won’t hurt to take a little time to think about how you can make your property safer for your guests. It could save you a great deal of time, money and hassle in the future. For further details read our full guide to holiday let insurance.
*Based on a 7 bedroom property in the Lake District with bookings between October 2017 to September 2018.
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