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Do you need a home emergency insurance policy?

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

Do you need a home emergency cover?

Do you need a home emergency insurance policy?

Home emergency cover provides insurance cover when things go wrong in your house. Read on to find out how to find the best home emergency insurance policy for you.

Do I need home emergency insurance cover?

If you are thinking of buying home emergency insurance cover, be sure to check your existing home insurance policy to see if you are already getting the protection you need. 

Many home insurance policies include some level of emergency cover, which might include broken or damaged locks or burst pipes. However, some insurers offer this as an add-on for additional cover, rather than including it as standard within a home contents insurance policy.

So if you have an existing home contents insurance policy, or you have a combined home contents and building insurance policy, check the wording to see if you are already covered.

If you are shopping around for home emergency cover you can see what the different insurers offer by using our comparison tool.

Find out about home insurance with our guide What is home insurance?

Over the past winter the boiler in our house broke down. It was out of warranty, and I didn’t have insurance. It cost me £1,000.

Having been through this, one thing I’ve learned is to make sure you have home and contents insurance. It’s always the things you take for granted that cause you the most stress when they break down. 

The other thing I’ve learned to become more financially literate. It seems there are many ways that we can save money that many of us don’t know about simply because we haven’t looked or assumed that it’s too complicated.

- Charles Emerson, Uswitch Customer

Do I need home emergency cover if I am renting?

Read our guide to learn more about the peace of mind home emergency cover can offer and find out if it is 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.

Find out more about buildings and contents insurance with our guide.

You are mostly paying for peace of mind when you take out a home emergency insurance cover policy. 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.

You can compare home emergency policies by visiting money.co.uk.

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.

So what does home emergency cover include? And how much would you be expected to pay for having home emergency insurance? 

Read our guide to the costs of home insurance

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. 

As a general rule, it pays out if you have problems with vital services in your home, such as plumbing and drainage, heating and water, or electricity.

Your home emergency cover should provide you with a trades person to come round and fix an issue with your water or heating. If the problem is really bad and you cannot stay in your home, some policies cover the cost of finding temporary alternative accommodation while the issue is fixed.

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 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 for all of these categories. 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.

Compare home contents insurance with Uswitch

What is excluded from home emergency cover?

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 some common household emergencies.

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. If you do not feel your current policy covers for all that you might need, compare home emergency cover to make sure you are fully covered.

Read our guide to Home insurance claims

Home insurance policy details 

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.

Check what the home emergency insurance provider considers to be an emergency in its terms and conditions. For example, you may not be entitled to an immediate repair, or the excess may be significant.

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.

What is classed as an emergency?

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 an alternative way to sort out the problem.

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 home emergency 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 before you can make a claim.

Compare buildings insurance with Uswitch

How to save on home emergency insurance?

If your home insurance policy already includes home emergency cover then you may not need an additional policy. Some packaged current accounts might include home emergency cover.

Another option is to put the money you would have spent on insurance premiums into a savings account and let the funds accumulate into a lump sum which you could use in an emergency. 

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 cost in total.

Home emergency cover is perhaps best if you just want 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.

Find out how to avoid paying too much for your home insurance renewal

Find out more about home insurance for the over 50s

Compare home insurance quotes

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