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If your boiler stops working or a pipe bursts, these are nuisances you don’t want to deal with if you can help it. Plus, trying to find someone to make repairs can be rather expensive. However, home emergencies can happen at any time.

It would benefit you to prepare yourself for any worst-case scenarios. That’s why home emergency cover is an option you can purchase on your homeowner’s insurance or as a standalone policy.

To help you decide whether additional coverage is worth it, here’s a guide that will answer your questions.


What Is Home Emergency Cover?

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Home emergency cover is an option for additional coverage you can add to your existing home insurance policy. This insurance is beneficial for situations like an electrical failure or if your roof gets damaged in a storm.

Once you make a proper claim, the insurance agency sends it over to a contractor for an immediate temporary fix. The policy will cover expenses to make the repairs up to a certain amount of money. It can also cover any additional fees for you and your family if you need to arrange to stay elsewhere.

However, emergency insurance can only cover costs to repair the damages caused by the emergency alone. For example, if a pipe bursts and the water damages your flooring, an emergency cover would temporarily fix the line. As for the damaged flooring, you would need to make a separate claim on your home insurance policy.

For a home emergency cover, most policies assert that your home needs to be in a good state of repair for the coverage to be valid.


What Home Emergency Cover Includes?

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Coverage can vary depending on the type of policy you purchase. Some policies can be expensive and incorporate more significant levels of protection. Other plans can offer economical prices, but most of them cover a list of these basics:

  • Roof: In case of a bad storm that causes damage to your roof, coverage exists. Be aware of specific policies. Some will only cover the damage to your roof if it also causes destruction inside your home.
  • Plumbing and drainage: This can cover burst pipes and blocked drains, sinks, toilets, and showers. However, this insurance will not cover any drainage issues that exist outside of your home. Also, coverage may not apply to you if your property shares pipes with another property owner.
  • Boiler and central heating: Coverage will take care of your boiler if it stops working and you have no heat or hot water. If your boiler is over the age of 7-10 years or has a manufacturer’s warranty, coverage may not apply.
  • Electric: If you have no power due to an electrical failure, your home emergency cover will fix this. Still, this does not cover electrical outages when the power is down in your area due to bad weather.
  • Security: When your home security is compromised, your insurance will cover it. Security issues can include broken windows, doors, and locks. Some more comprehensive policies will also cover lost or stolen keys.
  • Pest infestation: Your policy will cover your home should it have an infestation of insects, mice, rats, and any other unwelcome house guests.

Will My Home Emergency Cover Include House Fires?

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In most cases, your homeowner’s insurance will cover damages if a fire were to occur. However, you should note that some insurers do not offer coverage in the event of a wildfire. Some insurers will also only include perils, a specific risk or cause of loss covered in a policy. Coverage will only take effect on hazards noted explicitly in the policy.

Homeowner’s insurance will cover:

  • Dwellings
  • Other structural damage, e.g. garage, storage facilities, fences
  • Personal property
  • Uninhabitable home
  • Liability

In case of a fire, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover your home’s contents. In a disaster, a home emergency cover is a standard purchase you may want to make for additional protection.

What Should I Do in Case of a House Fire?

There are several steps you can take in the event of a fire. One of the first steps involves getting in contact with your insurance company. Your agent can walk you through the process of filing a claim and assist you with sending a professional contractor for repairs.


What My Home Emergency Cover Does Not Include?

Some insurance policies will not cover every emergency. Here are some instances home emergency cover excludes:

  • Lack of maintenance: As mentioned previously, your coverage will not apply if your home maintenance is in poor condition. If your insurer notices general wear and tear or lack of care is the cause of an emergency, they may not offer a payout.
  • Maximized costs and claims: Some policies have a cap on fees that reach the max claim amount. Consider choosing a policy that covers callout charges, parts, and labor, including VAT. There can also be a maximum number of claims you make during the policy’s period. However, some guidelines exist to cover unlimited claims.
  • Claims within a period: If an emergency happens during the first 14 days of your policy, most insurers will not cover it. This policy is to prevent homeowners from buying a policy for an emergency that already exists.
  • Properties left unoccupied: Under normal circumstances, a property left vacant for more than 30 days does not have coverage.
  • Specific times of the year: Some insurers consider certain times of the year as a non-emergency. For example, coverage may not be available if your boiler breaks down during the colder months.


What Classifies as an Emergency?

Emergencies can vary depending on the type of insurance you have, but here are the general classifications:

  • Risks to your health and safety
  • Permanent damage caused to your property
  • Home is uninhabitable and unsafe

Depending on your insurer, there may not be a contractor available to make any repairs immediately. Usually, 24 hours is the expected timeframe, but it can rely on the extent of the damage.


Is Home Emergency Cover Necessary?

Home emergency cover may be necessary if you’re a homeowner who wants to prepare for the times following an emergency. However, it is ultimately your decision, but it can reassure you if you’re not able to afford repair costs.

Before you make a final decision, look over your current home insurance policy to see what it includes. Some policies may already have a basic level of coverage in case of emergencies. Just be sure the claims cap is enough to cover the estimate of expenses.

If you currently rent, a home emergency cover does not apply to you. Your landlord is responsible for keeping your home insured and dealing with cases of emergency. However, you should have renter’s insurance, which can cover certain disasters and protect your belongings.

It’s important renters protect themselves with the right policie, even more so to help getting your deposit back for your property


Do Any Alternatives Exist to Home Emergency Cover?

There are many other alternatives to home emergency cover.

If you’d like to cover a specific item in your home, like a boiler, this is an option. Or if you’d like to protect both the boiler and heating system, you have this option as well. More specified policies like these two examples generally work out to be more cost-effective.

Another alternative is to place some money aside each month in case an emergency does happen. The best thing about this option is you’ll have your savings to help you through a crisis. However, the only thing you’ll have to do yourself is to find a contractor willing to make repairs on short notice.

Other types of coverage you could consider includes:

  • Content Replacement Cost: This coverage pays the total replacement cost of items lost. There is no deduction for depreciation, but the price is subject to policy limits and deductibles.
  • Additional Insurance Replacement: This is in addition to your insurance for limitations on costs. If the coverage is too low, this will add additional funds needed to rebuild your home.
  • Valuables Coverage: Ensures protection of items with value like technology, jewelry, and fine art.
  • Green Home Coverage: To rebuild, you typically get funds to cover standard materials. Although, if you already have green materials you want to replace, this will offer protection.


Should I Get Home Emergency Cover as a Standalone or Add It to My Homeowner’s Insurance?

The answer all depends on what your current insurance includes and the costs you’re willing to pay.

Standalone policies can offer additional coverage with more personalization compared to an add-on. Plus, the callout and claims caps are usually higher in standalone coverage.

The downside to standalone is that it’s more expensive. You also have to deal with two different insurance agencies when claiming property damage and its contents.


Does My Home Emergency Cover Affect No-claims Discounts?

The type of home emergency cover and insurer you have will depend on the effects of your NCD (no-claims discount). The only way to be sure is to go through your policy and review the documents that come with it.

A claim should not affect your homeowner’s NCD if you have a standalone emergency cover policy, since the two policies are separate. A home emergency cover included in your homeowner’s insurance policy, and not added as an extra, may affect your NCD if you make a claim. However, if your home emergency cover is an add-on to your homeowner’s insurance, it may not affect your NCD.

Bear in mind that policies will vary when making a claim.


How to Prevent the Risk of a Home Emergency?

An emergency could happen at any point in time, and you can’t guarantee any complete avoidance. However, you can take precautions when it comes to keeping your home intact. With the act of routine maintenance on your home, you can significantly reduce the risks of damage.

Ensure your agency will offer you a payout when claiming by taking these steps:

  • During the wintertime, double-check your pipes to make sure they don’t freeze. Frozen pipes can expand and build up pressure over time, which is what causes pipes to burst. To prevent this issue, check for any drips and ensure lagging in pipes and tanks are secure. If your home is empty during the colder months, be sure to leave the central heating on for at least an hour each day.
  • Take precautions with your drainage, especially the kitchen sink. Avoid placing food, oil, fat, and coffee grounds down the drain, as this can lead to blockages. If there are any minor blockages, take time to clear them out before it gets backed up.
  • Avoid flushing cotton pads, paper towels, clumps of hair, and other items that do not dissolve down the toilet. These objects can cause buildup and blockage over time.
  • In the summer months, carry out a regular service checkup on your boiler with a certified engineer. Routine maintenance in the summer gives you time to ensure it’s working before winter appears. You can also repressurise your boiler whenever it’s necessary.
  • Clean your house regularly to prevent critters from entering your home. Rodents will infest your home if you avoid taking preventive measures. Ensure you seal off your food inside cupboards and any spills are wiped clean promptly.
  • If lights are flickering, the fuse box makes noises, or switches trip, these are telltale signs of electrical issues. Have a certified electrician check these problems and look out for any signs of worn-out cables and discolored sockets.
  • Maintain your gutters to prevent clogging. Clogged gutters can lead to water leakage inside your home. This issue can also put pressure on your roof and the foundations of your home. You should also maintain regular inspections of your roof for any signs of loose shingles or deterioration.


Peace of Mind Around the Home

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Emergencies can put you at risk, but you can protect your home and loved ones with home emergency cover. Just remember that you must take care of your home for home emergency cover to be effective. Once you make a claim on your insurance, you can rest assured that your insurer will take care of you. What steps will you take to ensure your home is safe?

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