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Does long absence from French holiday house invalidate home insurance?

There should not usually be a set requirement by your insurer to spend a certain amount of time at a second home per year 

'If you have stated it is a second home, the insurer will expect that you may be absent for more than 90 days at a time' says Insurance broker Catherine Wirth Pic: Julia Casado / Pixabay

Reader question: I have not been able to go to my French second home this year due to the Covid restrictions. Could my home insurance be affected if I am not there a certain amount of time per year (I am thinking of the new Brexit rules)?

Most second-home owners who live out of France are in the same situation and, as long as you made clear to your insurer that the property is a second home and not your main residence, there will not usually be a set requirement to spend a certain amount of time there per year.

Insurance broker Catherine Wirth, of Wilson & Mark Insurance Brokers in Bordeaux, said that clauses relating to occupancy are usual for main homes only.

“For main homes, you have to occupy them at least six months of the year and be registered there for income tax – second homes, it’s really up to you.

“You could not go at all because you have other things to do, or you could come a lot. If you have stated it is a second home, the insurer will expect that you may be absent for more than 90 days at a time.”

In view of possible long absences, it is also ideal to have good relations with neighbours and leave a key with one who can check on the property occasionally, especially if there has been bad weather, such as storms.

Over winter, you should also empty water pipes and make sure the home is secure.

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