Having the right insurance policy is essential - be it unoccupied property insurance, buy to let, or one of the various other insurance products available. The issue of having the right policy will be on the minds of many French holiday home owners, returning to France following the winter.

As anyone who has left their property empty for a long period will know, the moment when you enter your flat or house after an absence can be a tense affair. Yet, with temperatures in France having dropped to -17 during the winter, for some property owners, the tension won't end there. Cracked radiators and boilers - not to mention pipes - can cause a great deal of damage, and witnessing it after a long time away can be an unpleasant experience.

For those who need to make a claim on their insurance, there can sometimes be some nasty surprises - particularly if they don't pay out. Many repudiations arise because a given property has been left empty for too long a period.

It's yet another reason to ensure terms and conditions are read thoroughly before a policy is taken out. Pay particular attention to the periods of time that your property can remain vacant for, so you know exactly where you stand as regards your cover.