Why have a home emergency policy in place?
Home emergency insurance is there to help you quickly fix the sort of things that sometimes go wrong in your home with as little disruption as possible, such as a boiler breakdown.
‘Add on’ or stand-alone cover?
You can often get home emergency insurance as an ‘add on’ to your home policy, but the terms can be fairly restrictive and the excess you have to pay on each claim relatively high.
However, stand-alone home emergency insurance policies are also available. They might cost more, but as long as you choose the right policy it can be the better option if you want greater level of protection with a lower excess.
What does home emergency cover get you?
The best policies should mean the insurer can immediately arrange to put right vital services and unforeseeable mishaps, such as the following:
- Boiler breakdown
- Central heating failure
- Plumbing disasters
- Water supply failure
- Electricity supply failure
- Gas supply failure
- Pest infestation
- Frozen pipes
- Roof collapse and storm damage
- Drainage problems
- Burst pipes
- Lost keys/being locked out
Any repair work carried out should be guaranteed and the cover often includes an annual boiler service.
Cheaper policies and the small print
Cheaper policies might not cover you for boiler breakdown, for example, or frozen external pipes, and plenty of policies only do so in the winter, and not summer, months.
The small print might include terms such as that repairs are only carried out up to a certain value, such as £500.
Advantages of stand-alone policies over ‘add ons’
- The excess, which the policy holder pays for the first part of any claim, is often much less compared to the ‘add on’ option. The difference can be hundreds of pounds.
- The range of things you’re covered for is greater and the speed of response better.
- The range of expert tradesman available at short notice is usually better too.
- A higher number of claims per year are often allowed for.
- If you claim, it won’t count against any no claims discount you might have built up on your general home insurance policy.
What to look out for
You need to look out for the following when considering stand-alone home emergency cover:
- Check the small print – big differences may exist over what emergencies you can and can’t claim for between insurers.
- Cost jumping in year two – As with other types of insurance, the cost of a home emergency policy can jump considerably in the second year. Always shop around at renewal time.
- Boiler service – Policies which include an annual boiler service can be much more expensive. It’s often much more economical to find a local tradesman to do it.
- Guarantees – Not all policies offer guarantees for any emergency repair work carried out.
- Claim limits – Some policies offer decent maximum claim limits, often up to £5,000. Others offer claim limits that might be unacceptably low to a consumer.
- Claiming – You need to pay close attention to claim procedures. The best policies will arrange and pay for tradesman and repairs. Others might insist you pay first and claim later.
- Call outs – Again, only a certain number of emergency call outs are usually permitted each year. This might be as low as only one, which may not be acceptable.
- Initial exclusion periods – It might be that a policy doesn’t allow claims to be made in the first two to four weeks of cover being taken out.
- Renters – If you rent your home, it’s the landlords responsibility to sort out emergencies such as those outlined above.
If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare home insurance quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.
Published 24th May 2018