Insurance for house swaps: Key things to consider. - Pikl

Insurance for house swaps: Key things to consider.

Estimated Read: 5 minutes

If you have read our guide about how to do a house swap holiday or have been house swapping for a while, it is important to check you are covered by your home insurer before you exchange. What you might not realise if that the cover provided by many insurers is inadequate, meaning that you might not have the cover you may usually expect from your home insurer if you needed to make a claim.

What insurers say about house swaps.

In a survey of the UK’s top insurers, we found that the overwhelming majority of them would not provide adequate cover for policyholders that did house swaps.

88% of insurers we surveyed said they would not provide any cover for people that did house swaps. Even if your insurer does not cancel your policy, you might not have cover in your own home for things like:

Malicious damage. Even if you have built a good relationship with your fellow house swapper, you do not always know who you are letting into your property. If your relationship turns sour and your house is maliciously damaged, you may end up paying for the repairs yourself.

You can limit the risk of theft in your property by locking valuables away. However, this is not always practical and you may want this covered by your insurance. However, most home insurers do not cover theft unless there has been forced entry (e.g. a burglar breaking into the property), which would not apply to house swappers that you let into your home.

Accidental damage could easily occur. Given that this is the most likely thing that could happen, it is another thing you may want to check with your insurer to see if you have cover for this as this type of damage by a guest is often excluded.

If your guest is injured and holds you liable, you may need liability cover. A serious injury could cost thousands of pounds if you don’t have cover for this. The same could apply if the guest damages another property or injures a 3rd party such as a neighbour.

Why most insurers don’t provide comprehensive cover for house swaps.

The insurer will not know who is staying at your property and may find it safer to exclude cover for this. If your fellow house swapper normally lives overseas then this may complicate things further and may be unappealing to many home insurers as recovering any damages may be difficult. Here are some tips to make sure you get the right insurance.

1 . Speak to your insurer.

Speak to your insurer first unless your policy documentation is crystal clear. If you wait until you need to make a claim, you might not be covered and the insurer may cancel your policy.

2 . Tell then you are considering a home swap holiday.

Give them as much information as possible so that everything is recorded in case you need to make a claim.

3 . Ask them if they exclude any specific features of cover.

Will the cover you currently get be different when a house swapping guest stays at your property? If your insurer says that you have cover, be specific and make sure that nothing has been excluded.

4 . Get confirmation in writing.

If your insurer confirms that you are covered, get them to send you a letter or an email if it is not spelt out in your policy documentation.

5 . Consider specialist insurance if your cover is not adequate.

We have already established that many home insurers do not provide adequate cover for house swaps. However, the cover provided by individual insurers can vary. Consider talking to a specialist provider such as Pikl if you struggle to get the cover you need.

What cover do you offer?

Through our ‘Top-Up’ insurance policy, you can get cover for house swap claims including:

  • Public liability cover for guest accidents involving bodily injury.
  • Legal cover to defend or pursue legal claims against guests.
  • Accidental, malicious damage and theft cover if caused by a guest.
  • Alternative accommodation for you or your guest if your property is being fixed as the result of a guest related claim.
  • Fire and escape of water damage caused by a guest.
  • Loss of keys and replacement locks cover if renting out your entire property.

You will need to let your home insurer know that you intend to take out cover with us. Alternatively, you can also get a quote with us for your main home insurance as well as our Top-Up cover.