Wednesday, 13 February 2013

So how do you increase your chance of going home happy after a wonderful break in a holiday cottage?

 Book early!  See previous post

Ask an expert. Individual cottage owners can only talk about their own place, but a local agency will work with you to find the best property for you. Work out what is most important, and ask them to give you three cottages to look at that are, for example, quiet and secluded, but walking distance from a nice pub.

Asking questions is generally a very good idea before you book. Asking questions on the phone is not. You want answers that mean you have evidence if you are disappointed, which means answers in writing. So email the questions.

More to follow!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Win a night off from the cooking!

Self-catering holidays are great for giving you the freedom of choosing what, where and when you eat; a meal in the local pub, fish and chips by the sea or cooking some local produce in your cosy cottage, but how about a night off from having to think about what you eat, and let a celebrity chef cook for you?  That’s the prize Marsdens are offering on Cottage World.  If you book a Devon holiday in one their cottages before December 31st 2012, you will be entered into their prize draw with the chance of winning a meal cooked in your cottage by celebrity chef, Martin Dorey, consisting of the best locally sourced foods from North Devon.  In addition, 100 luxury hampers of local Devon and Cornish produce are also up for grabs to be delivered during your 2013 cottage holiday.  Sounds good to me.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Book early for 2013?

There is no reward for delaying your booking. Unlike foreign holidays, there are virtually no discounts for late booking. Owners of cottages tend to not let them rather than offer them for less than the normal price. And the best cottages tend to have repeat customers who snap up the weeks they want. Which means the ones that are available nearer the holiday dates will tend to be the ones other people didn't want!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Try a cottage rental before you buy a house

Are you thinking of moving any time soon? Work, or the end of work, can often prompt a long distance house move. With the internet and online estate agents, it's easy to feel able to get a handle on a new area, but there really is no substitute for checking it out in person.

Now we are moving out of peak season pricing, a small investment in renting a cottage for a few days might save you from making an expensive unhappy move. With stamp duty now costing many thousands of pounds, you really don't want to regret a house move. With CottageWorld's vast choice of locations, you can find somewhere nice to stay in your chosen area, tour around, talk to the locals etc. Not so much a holiday, although let's hope you enjoy it, more an insurance against making a mistake.

Just put the area you want to visit into the search box, and away you go.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Holiday Home Insurance – it's a Risky Business!

Have you ever been tempted to buy a holiday home and let it out? Or have you ever wondered what costs are involved in owning a holiday home? We asked a leading insurance broker to spell out some of the issues owners face in giving strangers a key to their property.

12 things to consider when insuring your holiday home


Letting a holiday home commercially has many benefits: however, there are also risks - such as not having the right insurance cover to protect your valuable investment. Holiday Home Insurance specialist, Boshers Ltd gives its top 12 things to consider that will make for a winning formula when insuring your holiday home. 

1.    Take advice – Your holiday home is likely to be one of your most valuable assets. Our top tip is take advice from a holiday home insurance broker who specialises in the furnished holiday letting market. They should take the time to understand your needs, importantly they will understand the risks involved in holiday letting and will have negotiated a package of covers to protect your financial interest in the property.

2.    Legislation – you may not think of furnished holiday letting as a business, however   by allowing paying guests stay in your property that is what it becomes. You have a duty of care to your guests, visitors and employees to ensure that you abide by all relevant legislation which covers areas such as health and safety, planning, building regulations, fire safety, gas safety and discrimination. 

3.    Disclosure – be open and honest with your insurer, it is your responsibility to provide complete and accurate information to your insurers when you take out the policy and throughout the life of your policy. Failure to disclose or giving false information in order to obtain insurance may deem your contract invalid and therefore be costly in the event of a loss. 

4.    Policy conditions – A specialist broker will make you aware of the benefits as well as point out clearly any conditions or warranties that may apply. Make sure that you fully understand the implications if you don’t comply. Excesses should also be considered.

5.    Employers Liability – cover to indemnify you against your legal liability to pay damages and legal costs arising out of bodily injury to an employed person such as a cleaner or gardener employed in connection with your holiday let business. 

6.    Public and Products Liability – cover to indemnify you against your legal liability to pay damages arising out of accidental injury to guests and other visitors to your holiday let and accidental damage to a third parties property caused in connection with your holiday let. This should extend to include liabilities arising from the maintenance of your property and premises and the provision of fire and security services maintained for the protection of your holiday let and the supply of goods sold or supplied by you, in connection with your holiday let business.

7.    Buildings – as well as covering you for standard perils such as fire, flood and theft, you may want to consider cover for accidental damage. Ensure that the buildings definition of your holiday home insurance policy includes all relevant items such as statues, fountains and hot tubs, swimming pools, tennis courts, paths, drives terraces, patios, walls, fences, hedges and gates, fixed aerials, satellite dishes, wind turbines, solar panels, yards, car parks, roads and storage tanks all on the same site.  Remember it is important that you insure for the full replacement costs of all of the above including the cost of architect fees and meeting relevant building regulations.   

8.    Contents – as well as covering you for standard perils such as fire, flood and theft, you may want to consider cover for accidental damage. Remember that contents includes all household goods, furniture and  furnishings  contained within your holiday let buildings and they should be insured for their full replacement value. 

Apartment owners may want to check their block buildings policy to ensure that it extends to cover fixtures and fittings within their apartment such as fitted, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom furniture. If not choose a holiday home insurance provider whose Contents definition will extend to include fixtures and fittings and a low for this when calculating your sums insured. 

It is also worth checking that the contents cover does not have any unreasonable exclusions such as excluding accidental damage when occupied by paying guests or theft exclusions unless by forceful and violent entry to the property.

9.    Underinsurance – saving money by under-stating your sums insured is a false economy. In the event of a large loss resulting in a claim a loss adjuster may be appointed. One of their first tasks will be to ensure that your sums insured are correct. In the event of underinsurance a deduction for `average’ will be made when settling claims. This means the amount that is paid out for any claim will be reduced in proportion to the degree of underinsurance, leaving you to fund the remaining.

10.    Loss of rental income – Cover for loss of your rental income should your holiday let be destroyed or damaged by an insured event which interrupts the letting of it. Ensure that the cover provided is sufficient to cover the typical annual revenue generated by your holiday let. In the event of a large loss, rebuilding can often take up to two years so ensure that the indemnity period is sufficient.  Be careful of policies that only offer cover for loss of income as a result of confirmed pre-bookings.

11.    Legal Expenses – To ensure an expert service this cover, if included in your holiday home insurance policy will often be arranged in conjunction with a specialist legal expenses insurance company.  Cover may be provided to indemnify the insured person in respect of an insured event in connection with your holiday let business.  You should look for cover which extends to employment disputes, legal defence where it is alleged that the insured has committed a criminal offence in connection with the running of their holiday let. In addition, debt recovery, taxation and vat disputes, the eviction of anyone from the property if they do not have the right to be there.  

12.    Loss of keys – The reasonable cost necessarily incurred in replacing door or window locks at your holiday let including locks to safes and alarms following theft or loss of keys.

Additional guidance and holiday home insurance quotes are available from the Boshers Holiday Home Insurance Team on 01237 429444 or visit Holiday home owners may also visit for further informative articles.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Cottage for Autumn?

Are you starting to think ahead to the autumn? (I know there is no sign of summer arriving yet).
One popular feature of holiday cottages once the nights drawn in is an open fire. They are not very efficient, but they do have a certain magic, so ideal for a short-term experience.

CottageWorld currently has 189 properties that come up when you search for "open fire". One of them could be perfect for you.

Cottages with an open fire

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Newspapers and Cottage Rental

A friend was describing yesterday how he always booked his holiday cottage through the Guardian cottages web site. He felt that way the owner would share his left-leaning, liberal world view, and be the kind of person he could relate to.

Perhaps I could have been more gentle in explaining to him that Guardian cottages and Telegraph cottages are exactly the same, as it seemed to come as a shock to his system. Newspapers haven't started acting as holiday cottage agents, but they have become more creative in ways of generating money. So instead of just selling advertising, they may also promote a cottage brand under their own name, and take a cut of every booking made.

It's perfectly logical commercial behaviour, but Paul thought he was dealing with something rather less commercial. A sensitive soul, he is now worrying that the cottage he has booked for this September may belong to a reactionary Telegraph reader. My argument that as long is it is clean and as described on the web site, who cares about the owner's politics, didn't seem to reassure him. He mentioned thinking about cancelling.

Don't do anything until you check the booking conditions, I counselled. And we found the relevant section:
Where the reason for cancellation does not fall within one of the qualifications for a refund as set out above, eg: dis-inclination to travel, leave cancelled by employer (other than HM Forces or the Police) etc, a cancellation charge will be payable,  . . .  if you have not paid your total accommodation cost including, where purchased, the premiums for any insurances, by the time of your cancellation, you may be required to make a further payment by way of cancellation charge.

My highlighting.  Paul has resolved to check the small print in future when booking a cottage. Here at CottageWorld, we think that's a very good idea.