Home Swapping Information
Homeowners Insurance Swapping. Until fairly recently, the term home swapping tended to relate to local authority tenants who wanted to swap their home for one in another area. In these more austere times, though, home swapping has taken on a whole new meaning with many cash strapped Brits investigating the possibility of swapping homes with another family to have a cheap UK holiday. Well in essence, this seems like a good idea, the practice has been around for a while and owners of homes in some areas (Wimbledon is a good example) have often given up their homes to cash in on a properties rental attraction at certain times of the year. Home swapping takes this a stage further, with straight swap between families and there are a number of agencies set up to help facilitate the exchange.
The problem comes when you try to effect home insurance, or notify your existing home insurance company of what you are intending to do. The vast majority of home insurance polices will only cover the policyholder, if the property is owner occupied, once it is “swapped” (even for a very short period) during the period where the policyholder is not in residence, it is likely that cover will not be in force. This brings up a whole raft of problems, for one thing if the building is not insured then you will almost certainly be in breech of mortgage conditions and if you are unlucky enough to suffer a loss whilst the property is “ swapped” you could find yourself in a financially devastating position if you do not have adequate insurance in force. As well as the building you will also have to consider the potential damage or loss to your own contents and belongings.
Initially, it’s probably best to contact your current home insurance provider and broach the subject with them, there is just a small chance that if the period of swapping is small, they may agree to continue cover on your behalf. However, this is unlikely which puts you in the position of either having no insurance for the period of the loan, or perhaps more sensibly, trying to source insurance from a company that are prepared to give you the correct form of cover.
A home insurance policy should be sought that will give you cover for your own belongings whilst in residence, but can be extended to take in to account that at certain times of the year the property is used by other families and the correct form of cover including liability insurance is included. This not an easy task and most insurance companies will be unhappy with valuables being left in a property that to all extents and purposes, is rented to a tenant Swapping your home is not something that should be considered lightly, unlike a buy to let property which is in effect a building purchased for commercial purposes and there is an emotional detachment there are many issues related to home swapping (not just insurance related) which should be considered before you take the sep of allowing strangers in to what is for the main part of the year is your home