An insurance policy for a home that is a main residence is not suitable for a holiday home as there are likely to be clauses in the policy making the insurance null and void if the property is left uninhabited for a period of time, which could be as little as 30 days.
Therefore you will need a special policy that covers your home as a holiday home – although you will still need to have civil liability (responsabilité civile propriétaire) to cover any accidental damage to your neighbours (see more below)
The holiday home insurance policy should also include comprehensive buildings and contents insurance, but should also allow you flexibility of use, from the amount of time it is occupied, to whether it is let short or long term.
Expect to have to make the property secure with burglar alarms, extra locks, bars on windows and other safety procedures the insurance company considers sufficient. These should reduce the premiums you need to pay, although the longer you are away, the higher the premium.
As with insuring your main home, you could ensure you are covered for damage caused by natural disasters as well as burst pipes (the latter is very important if you your home is in an area of France which gets cold winters), plus theft. This should include the cost of repair and replacement as well as rebuilding.
When considering how much to insure your home for, it is not the current market rate that you need to look at but the cost of re-building, from the house itself to outbuildings and extra facilities such as tennis courts and swimming pools.
If you have a mortgage the re-build cost may be included there. Otherwise, you will need to ask a local builder or surveyor.
You must also ensure that the figure is index-linked so it is adjusted yearly so the cost of rebuild keeps up with the cost of materials etc
The same principle applies to contents insurance – you need to work out how much it will cost to replace everything that is in the house, from electricals such as televisions to beds and cutlery.
If you plan to rent it out you should choose a policy that allows for accidental damage to the contents.
Civil Liability Insurance
As mentioned earlier, you mist ensure you are covered for any accidental damage caused to others by something that occurs on your property.
If you are letting out your home – or even going to allow friends to come and stay – you must also ensure that your policy covers you for death, injury or damage to a third party on or near your property.
If you have a swimming pool your liability insurance must also cover accidents around the pool. You will need to comply to French pool safety law.
Loss of Rental Income and Temporary Accommodation
If letting out your home is an important income source you may want to consider a policy that covers for loss of rental income sue to an accident such as flooding.
Finally, as with all insurance policies, make sure you read – and understand – the small print so there will be no confusion if you need to make a claim.