Home Emergency Cover
Home emergency cover is a form of insurance that helps you to cope when things go wrong in your home. In addition to financial aid the cover provider also arranges for a professional tradesperson to come and fix the problem. Issues that usually arise can range from plumbing and electrics to boiler and heating matters among others. The policy with cover the cost of the callout, labour and any necessary materials to put things right.
Most home emergency cover providers have a 24/7 helpline and will ensure a tradesperson will attend within 24 hours of the matter being reported, if not sooner.
What Home Emergency Cover Includes
The following are examples of situations that home emergency cover will class as an emergency:
- Anything that makes your home unsafe and/or uninhabitable;
- Something that will result in permanent damage to your home if it is not repaired quickly;
- Where there is a risk to your health or wellbeing.
The risk to health and wellbeing can be further broken down into the following:
- Boiler and heating systems – if your central heating system breaks down, you have no hot water and if your boiler breaks down;
- Problems with plumbing – if you have blocked drains, burst pipes, a broken toilet or shower;
- Electrical matters – where the main electrical supply to your home fails, leaving the house uninhabitable. This does not include loss of electricity because of a power cut, although if there is serious damage as a result of a power cut then that will have to be taken care of quickly.
- Home security – covers broken or damaged locks, broken windows or doors and sometimes, depending on the provider, it can also cover the loss of keys.
What Else Does it Cover?
Some comprehensive policies may also cover roof damage due to bad weather or pest infestations. In the event of an infestation, your provider will arrange for an exterminator to rid your property of the pests.
If you suspect a gas leak, or can smell gas you need to leave the property and call the National Gas Emergency number 0800 111 999. The National Grid who operates the number will put you through to their emergency team who work 24/7 to resolve such issues.
What Home Emergency Over Doesn’t Include
Like all insurance policies, there will be a list of exclusions where they will not cover certain events or damage. The exclusions will vary from provider to provider, so it is important to read the policy details before buying it.
Are Boilers Covered?
One common exclusion in policies is boiler cover. Before committing to a policy ensure boiler cover is included as standard if it is something you are looking to have covered.
Home emergency cover is there for when things break down unexpectedly therefore it will not cover situations that result from wear and tear. If something vital breaks down because you have not maintained it, the insurer will not cover it. You will have to sort it out yourself. For example if you do not get your boiler checked and serviced annually and it breaks down, your policy will not cover the cost of repairs.
There are some common exclusions across the insurance industry. One such exclusion is they will not cover any home emergency claims within the first 14 days of the policy starting. The reason insurance companies do this, is to prevent people making claims for pre-existing problems.
Houses that are unoccupied are also not covered by home emergency cover. In this situation unoccupied means left empty for 30 days or more.
Home emergency cover does not extend to consequential damage. An example is if a pipe burst in your home and water damaged your carpet, the insurance will cover the pipe repair but not the carpet damage. For that you will have to make a claim on your home contents insurance.
The above are examples of outright exclusions. Many home emergency policies often have limits in place. These can include:
- The amount of call-outs in a year;
- Limiting the cost of repairs for one call-out;
- Limiting how much the repairs cost in total for one year.
Home Emergency Cover and No Claims
In some situations, making a claim on your home emergency cover can affect your home insurance no claims. This is not always the case, so check before buying the cover.
Some providers make it clear that any claims will not affect your home insurance no claims as they are considered to be separate but not all providers do this. Always ask the provider directly about this before buying a policy if you are not sure where they stand on this.