Taking an extended holiday? Make sure your home is insured while you’re away

By Olivia Gee ·

As Christmas approaches after a stressful 2020, an extended break from work could be on the cards. Perhaps you’ll be road tripping around your state, staying with family or heading to a holiday home.

If this is your summer outlook, then don’t forget to pack a plan for your home insurance.

It might not sound like a holiday essential but if you’re a homeowner thinking about travelling away from your residence for a longer period, your home and contents insurance could be impacted. 

So, let’s explore what this means and how to make sure your home is still insured while you're on holiday.

How can going on holiday affect my home insurance?

Most home insurance policies include a condition that if the insured address is unoccupied for a certain number of days your insurance may be voided, you might have to pay an additional premium for that period or pay a higher excess if you make a claim during that time.

While timeframes differ, 60 days is the typical limit for leaving your home unoccupied. You’re likely to lose cover if you fail to inform your provider that you’ll be away for longer, so it’s super important to let them know before you head off on a lengthy excursion.

Why do insurers have the unoccupied home rule? A home which looks empty – perhaps with unmowed lawns, uncollected mail at the door or no lights on at night – is a prime target for crime and vandalism. The rule is also in place if you’re not at home to address emergency issues like flooding or storm damage, repair costs can increase.

This means you could be more likely to make a claim on your home insurance and the claim could be more costly to the insurer. So, your level of risk as an insurance customer is reassessed as higher. A provider may not agree to cover you at all, or may adjust your policy accordingly.

Can you get cover for an unoccupied home?

Yes, you may be able to maintain your cover while you’re on holiday but every provider can set  different requirements to do so. As mentioned, it may involve increasing your premium or excess level during this time, or it could be more specific. 

Some insurers may require you to install security cameras and locks to reduce the likelihood of a break-in. Others could stipulate the need for a house sitter or someone to occupy the property once the limit is reached

What’s considered an ‘occupied’ home if you’re not there? This can vary between insurers, but some will consider it occupied if you have someone minding the property. There may be specific requirements about how much time they spend at your house and whether you’ve declared the situation with your insurer or not.

If you’re thinking about renting out the place while you’re away, make sure you check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for any exclusions related to this. If there are no specifics about using your home as an AirBnB or short-stay holiday rental, then talk to your provider before booking any guests.

Will my home insurance claim be denied if I’m on holiday?

It is a possibility. As mentioned, if you don’t inform your insurer of your extended holiday plans and don’t follow their requirements for coverage, then a claim you make based on events which happen while the property is unoccupied may be denied. 

This may only be in relation to certain circumstances or it could be all insurable events previously covered in your policy. So, make sure to investigate the options offered by your provider and communicate your plans clearly.

Should I tell my landlord about my holiday if I’m a renter?

Home insurance isn’t your responsibility as a renter. Your landlord may have landlord insurance, which is similar to building insurance, so it’d be wise to let them know if you’re going away for a long period as it could potentially impact their cover.

While you may not have a physical building to insure, you might have cover for the contents of your home as a renter. If you do, check your PDS to see how an extended trip may affect this. 

Also see if portable contents cover is factored into your policy. This is cover for items you take with you off your property (perhaps a phone or laptop), so could be useful if you are heading out on a long trip. Look for any unspecified coverage limits or if you’ve chosen a list of items with a coverage value for each.

Before you head off, make sure you’re getting the best kind of home and contents coverage to suit your needs by comparing the options below.

Compare home and contents insurance policies - last updated November 28, 2020

Search promoted home insurance below. Advertiser disclosure.

  • Home & Contents Insurance

    Main events covered
    •  Image of fire
      Fire
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      Theft
    •  Image of storm
      Storm
    •  Image of flood
      Flood
      Optional Extra
    Monthly payments
    cost extra
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    Yes
    Underinsurance protection
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    Optional ExtraUp To 25% Of Building Sum Insured
    New for old
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  • Premier Care Residential

    Main events covered
    •  Image of fire
      Fire
    •  Image of theft
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      Storm
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      Flood
    Monthly payments
    cost extra
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    No
    Underinsurance protection
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    YesUp To 30% Of Building Sum Insured
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    Details
  • Home & Contents Insurance

    Main events covered
    •  Image of fire
      Fire
    •  Image of theft
      Theft
    •  Image of storm
      Storm
    •  Image of flood
      Flood
    Monthly payments
    cost extra
    Calendar icon
    No
    Underinsurance protection
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    Up To 10% Sum Insured
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  • Essential Care Residential

    Main events covered
    •  Image of fire
      Fire
    •  Image of theft
      Theft
    •  Image of storm
      Storm
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      Flood
    Monthly payments
    cost extra
    Calendar icon
    No
    Underinsurance protection
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    YesUp To 10% Of Sum Insured
    New for old
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    Details

*Any information provided on this page should be considered a summary and general advice only. All information should be verified before purchase via the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

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Olivia Gee
Money writer

As one of Mozo’s money writers, Olivia Gee shares her research and insights across banking, insurance and property to help readers save. She loves getting stuck into a story, unveiling all the facts, breaking down stats and drawing on personal experiences - this is what drives her as a journalist. She has a double degree from the University of Wollongong, with a BA in Journalism as well as Media and Communications.