Home emergencies have a habit of happening at the wrong time. Boilers are notorious for breaking down in the winter when you need them most. Storm damage to a roof is common in autumn when the weather is wet. If utility failures occur, they can prevent you from cooking or heating your home.
For this reason, many homeowners and landlords opt for home emergency cover. This is designed to cover the cost of emergency repairs and assist you in finding a suitably qualified tradesperson to fix the problem. However, it’s worth knowing what this cover includes and what does – and doesn’t – count as an emergency. In this article, we delve into what home emergency cover gives you and why it’s a helpful addition to your insurance portfolio.
- What is home emergency cover?
- What does home emergency cover include?
- What does home emergency not cover?
- Is home emergency cover worth buying?
Home emergency cover is designed to help you in an emergency. You can buy a policy as a landlord or as a homeowner. Typical emergencies covered include breakdown of the heating or hot water supply, failure of the electricity or gas supply, or storm damage.
Do I need home emergency cover in the UK?
No, there’s no legal requirement to have home emergency cover in the UK. However, many people opt for this cover to give them peace of mind. In an emergency, your insurer will arrange for suitably qualified engineers or tradespeople to fix the problem. This saves you from having to find and pay for someone competent to solve the issue at short notice in a stressful time.
What does home emergency cover do?
Home emergency cover does exactly what its name suggests – it covers you in the event of certain emergencies. However, it’s worth remembering that it’s exclusively for domestic emergencies and is not a maintenance contract for items like boilers or heaters. Nor does it cover normal wear and tear to home contents.
Is emergency home insurance included on a home insurance policy?
If you have home insurance or landlord building insurance, you can add emergency cover to your policy for a very modest cost. It’s a good way to better fulfil your landlord responsibilities and is one of the home insurance extras many wouldn’t be without.
Is home emergency cover worth it if you are a landlord?
Yes, it’s wise to have landlord emergency cover. For example, if there’s a major leak in the plumbing system, your cover will act to stop further damage to the property by making a temporary repair, giving you time to arrange a permanent fix. You’ll also have access to an emergency helpline 365 days per year, including Christmas Day. So, if something goes wrong at a busy time or when it’s hard to find suitable tradespeople, you won’t have the hassle of trying to find someone to make the repair.
This will depend on the policy you buy so it’s best to check the terms. Home emergency cover from Alan Boswell Group can be used for emergency issues with:
- Heating. Protecting you in the event of the breakdown or failure of the hot water supply or heating.
- Plumbing. You’re covered if there’s a sudden failure or damage to the property’s plumbing or drainage system.
- Utilities. This kicks in if there’s a sudden and complete failure or breakdown of the gas or the electricity supply.
- Storm damage. If your roof is damaged by a storm or fallen trees or branches, your home emergency cover would make a temporary repair (excluding flat roofs). Your buildings insurance would provide a permanent repair.
- Security. Your property would be made secure if there is damage to external locks, windows or doors. This may be a temporary repair, for example, a broken window may be boarded up and you will then need to organise a replacement.
- Infestation. If the property becomes infested with vermin, this will cover emergency pest control. Policies will only cover a specific list of vermin, so it’s best to check the terms of your policy.
- Alternative accommodation. If the house is uninhabitable because of one of the above issues, you can claim up to £250 for alternative accommodation for either you or your tenants.
All home emergency cover policies have exemptions. This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the most common are:
- Certain boiler systems. Boilers over 15 years old or with an output of more than 60 kilowatts are normally not covered.
- Central heating pump or room thermostat. Any costs involved in repairing or replacing these.
- Improperly maintained systems. Boilers and heaters will only be covered if they have been inspected, serviced, or maintained by a suitably qualified person during the preceding 12 months.
- Uninhabited properties. Cover will not be valid if the property has been unoccupied for over 30 days. If your property is likely to be uninhabited for a greater length of time, you should consider unoccupied property insurance.
- Early claims. You’ll normally not be able to claim within 14 days of taking out the policy.
- Costs over a certain amount. For example, the limit on a home emergency policy from Alan Boswell Group is £500 (including labour, parts and materials).
Yes, whether you’re a homeowner or a landlord, home emergency cover is a smart investment. In an emergency, your insurer should give you quick and easy access to qualified tradespeople who can fix the problem. This can save you money. For example, a policy from Alan Boswell Group can be as little as £135 per property for landlords and £65 per property for homeowners, allowing you to make unlimited claims of up to £500 each, with no excess payable.
Is home emergency cover the same as boiler cover?
No, boiler cover usually includes regular servicing and repairs, which is not included in home emergency cover. However, as long as your boiler is serviced annually and meets any age and output conditions, home emergency cover will protect you against boiler failure.
Does home emergency cover pest control?
Yes, it will cover emergency pest control (of certain pests) inside your home. However, it would not cover pest control if the infestation existed before you took out the policy or if the property had been unoccupied for a specified amount of time. You may not be covered if you have not taken measures to prevent pest infestation. Policies won’t cover infestation by any protected species, such as bats or bees. If you rent out property, you may find this article on landlord’s responsibilities for pest control useful.
Do you pay excess on home emergency cover?
No, you don’t pay an excess on home emergency cover. With a policy from Alan Boswell Group, you also have unlimited claims each year, with a maximum of £500 per claim.
Does claiming on home emergency cover affect insurance?
No, claiming on home emergency cover doesn’t affect your other insurance, such as home or landlord insurance. However, if you claim under those policies for damage caused by an emergency (such as water damage), it will likely affect your future premiums.
Is a broken shower considered an emergency?
If the shower is simply not working properly, then this doesn’t count as an emergency. However, if it developed an uncontainable leak damaging your property, that would be an emergency.
As we’ve seen, home emergency cover is a practical and cost-effective way to protect yourself when certain things go wrong. From broken boilers and storm damage to major plumbing issues and pest infestation, this cover helps you get the problem fixed quickly. It can even help cover the cost of emergency accommodation if your property becomes uninhabitable. If you have a lot of properties in particular, emergency cover can help you reduce the costs of being a landlord.
If you’d like to know how to add emergency home cover to your existing home insurance or landlord building insurance policies, get in touch with a member of our team today on 01603 649650.