If you’re going on holiday, getting someone to ‘house sit’ can be a good idea. Whether they’re actually staying at a property, or just popping in now and again, it gives that extra peace of mind to allow you to enjoy your break. However, latest research shows that thousands of Brits are potentially invalidating their insurance by doing something which, on the fact of it, is extremely sensible.
House sitters are very common
Figures from the insurer Policy Expert indicate that almost half UK adults (45%) arrange a house sitter when they go away. And the chances are that the sitter is most likely to be a family member (68%), a neighbour (20%) or a friend (15%). Of these, almost one-in- seven (15%) stay at the property, while 17% pop in occasionally to check on things and another 8% make sure that family pets are looked after and fed. A few householders rely on cleaners, or even rent out their property using Airbnb to ensure the home looks occupied.
The majority don’t have anyone in their homes while on holiday, however, and rely on other tried and trusted methods. Almost two-in- three leave lights on timers and one-in- two leave a car in the driveway. Nearly half (45%) get the neighbours to pick up the post and one-in- four (26%) have someone close and open curtains.
Home insurance could be at risk
The problem for those that do get in a sitter is that if insurance companies aren’t told, their home cover could be invalidated. And as Policy Expert’s research shows that 4% of people have had to make a claim for something that happened while they were away, the potential for costly error is relatively high.
Name the sitter
When home insurance is taken out, insurers ask for the names of those who live at a property. If a sitter isn’t one of those named, and something goes wrong while they’re ‘in charge’, a subsequent claim may be rejected. In the case of burglary, for example, or something being damaged within the home, the insurer may very well argue that giving non-named individuals easy access to a home increases risk to a degree a policy isn’t designed cover. So if you do arrange to have someone look after your home while you’re on away, always pick up the phone to discuss it with your home insurance provider first.
If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.
Published 16 January 2017