What is Home Emergency Cover?
Home emergency cover can cause confusion when it comes to sorting out your home insurance as some policies include it, others don’t.
Home emergency cover offers protection against incidents such as burst pipes, roof damage and boiler breakdown. It’s like the home insurance version of getting breakdown cover for the car.
While your home insurance will pick up the bill for a fire or flood damage, it probably won’t get your heating back working if your boiler has broken down. But if you have home emergency insurance, you can deal with the problem very quickly with assistance.
If you have home emergency cover in place, you will be given a helpline number to call if something goes wrong and needs fixing straight away, like a burst pipe for example. Your insurer will find a tradesperson who can come to your home and help fix the situation. But make sure you use someone who has been approved by the insurer, as you won’t be covered if you don’t.
Home emergency cover is one of the most common home insurance extras you can buy with a policy, but some insurers also offer it as standard.
What does it cover?
This will depend on the individual policy and how much you want to pay but a home emergency policy will typically cover:
Plumbing issues like burst water pipes
Central heating failure
Loss of hot wate
Security issues (especially broken windows and doors)
Some policies may even cover things like lost keys, appliance breakdown and infestation of pests. You may also be able offered alternative accommodation in the event of a major problem at home.
Do I need it?
Before you decide, find out exactly what is covered in your home insurance policy. If it doesn’t cover you for lots of the emergencies listed, it could well be a good consideration.
When deciding, bear in mind the age of your boiler, the quality of your plumbing and heating and how reliable they are. If you don’t think they are, it could well be worth your while investing in the extra emergency cover.
If you do decide to invest in an emergency home cover policy, find out whether there's a maximum price placed on the value of repairs and find out whether call-out charges, parts and labour are included. Home emergency insurance will usually pay for call out costs, parts, labour and VAT up to a fixed limit.
If cover is bought alongside home insurance, check whether an incident would affect your no-claims discount. If it does, it will affect the policy when you come to renew which is worth thinking about.
It is also worth checking what is classed as an ‘emergency’ – a blocked toilet would be seen as an emergency but if you have more than one in the house, the insurers might see it differently.
Most insurers define an emergency as something that makes the home unsafe or vulnerable to thieves, will cause permanent damage to your home or causes a risk to your health and wellbeing.