If you’re thinking of buying home emergency insurance cover, be sure to check your existing home insurance policy to see if you’re already getting the protection you need. Read our guide to learn more about the peace of mind home emergency cover can offer and find out if it’s worth the extra cost
Home emergency cover is a type of home insurance that is often separate from a standard buildings or home contents insurance policy. Some household insurance policies will include some aspects of home emergency insurance cover so if you are thinking of buying separate home emergency insurance, check your existing home insurance policy to see if you need it.
You are mostly paying for peace of mind when you take out a home emergency insurance cover policy. Most home emergency cover provides, as the name suggests, emergency cover when things go wrong in your house. If you rent your home then your landlord has the responsibility of responding to an emergency, so you would only need home emergency cover if you own your home.
So what does home emergency cover include? And how much would you be expected to pay for having home emergency insurance? This guide will help you decide whether or not you need home emergency cover and give you some tips on how to save on paying for emergencies in the home.
What is home emergency insurance cover?
Depending on how much you pay and the level of home emergency insurance cover you require, home emergency cover can widely vary. However, it is essentially protection for vital services in your home such as heating, water and electricity. If services such as these or the ones you have specified in your policy fail your home emergency cover should provide you with a tradesperson to come round and fix it or, if the problem is really bad, temporary alternative accommodation.
Generally you can take out home emergency cover for all or some of the following issues:
- Broken or damaged locks and windows (if it poses an immediate security risk)
- Burst pipes and other emergency plumbing problems
- Issues with the drainage
- Electrical failure and other emergency electricity issues
- Complete loss of hot water
- Complete loss of heating
- Boiler no longer working
- Damage caused by extreme weather
- Vital appliances not working
- Lost keys
- Pest infestations such as rats or ants
Home emergency cover providers may not provide insurance on all of the above and with all of these issues each home emergency cover provider will have their own conditions on insuring you for each issue, so be sure to check the fine print before agreeing to take out a policy. Read on to learn more about home emergency insurance cover exclusions so you know what to look out for when you compare home emergency cover policies.
Home emergency cover exclusions
Checking for exclusions is one of the most important aspects of comparing home emergency insurance cover. If you already have home emergency cover with your household insurance, double check the exclusions because you might find that you are not covered for the things you actually need insurance on.
Perhaps the most significant potential limitation on home emergency cover is the limit placed on the total cost of repairs each time you make a claim.
For example, you might need to make a claim in the middle of a cold night because your central heating has completely broken down. Even if your home emergency cover insures against such issues, you will need to make sure that the total limit for the price of repairs can handle the situation.
Check the policy to make sure that the price of repairs valued by the insurer includes call-out charges, as many repair companies will charge extra for working outside of regular office hours. Also make sure it includes the cost of parts and labour. If the total limit is too low to handle a genuine home emergency then you may want to look for alternatives.
Secondly, you will want to check what the home emergency insurance provider considers to be an emergency. For example, in the same scenario described above, the insurer may suggest that you could simply get an electric heater for the time being instead of paying for a repair on the spot.
Even if they cover against it, the insurer might still be fussy about paying for a locksmith when you’ve lost your keys if you have a friend or relative nearby with a spare.
Home emergency cover providers know that it will cost much more to fix the issue on the spot than if you managed to resolve it yourself, so they will usually try to find a way for you not to use their services where possible.
You might see a blocked toilet as an emergency issue, but if you have a second toilet, they might simply tell you to use that and repair the other yourself. So when you compare emergency home cover check what the company classes as an emergency and how much they are willing to pay to fix it.
Some insurers may also ask for an excess, although this is unlikely as your premiums are there to cover an emergency, so just double check this in the fine print. However, you may not be able to make an emergency claim so soon after taking out the cover – many home emergency insurance companies do this to avoid paying out on issues that existed prior to you taking out a policy. The terms and conditions will tell you how long you need to be a customer for before your cover kicks in.
Saving on home emergency cover
If your home insurance policy already includes home emergency cover then you may find that the areas and issues it covers suffice. Some packaged current accounts might include home emergency cover so if you had it with your bank or were thinking of switching bank accounts you could save money.
If that’s not the case, but you still want to be covered, some people put away the same amount they might pay for home emergency cover premiums into a savings account and only use it for a rainy day.
Home emergency cover is just for emergencies so if you have your own emergency fund it could work out cheaper. The downside is that you would have to do all the work in finding the relevant tradesperson to make the repairs or fix the issue, and you do not always know what the damage could be.
Home emergency cover is perhaps best if you just want the peace of mind, so when comparing policies make sure it includes a high enough limit to deal with potential emergencies and assurance that the insurance company will take care of getting someone to your home to fix it.
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