Home emergency insurance isn’t to be confused with home insurance because, as many homeowners have found out, they are not the same and are usually sold separately. However, although some home insurance policies cover emergencies, just to be on the safe side it’s worth checking you have coverage as part of your home emergency plan.
Home insurance and home emergency insurance policies are sold as fixed period contracts which mean they need to be kept up to date to be considered valid, and the payments the homeowner makes to keep his/her contract valid are called premiums.
Some insurance companies, though not all, charge homeowners lower premiums if there’s evidence that there’s less likelihood of a home becoming damaged, for example fire alarms and/or sprinklers have been installed. Security systems are another prominent example, though this would affect home insurance policies, not home emergency insurance policies – bear in mind that there is a difference.
Is my home covered for emergencies?
That is something that you will have to find out, either by scrutinising your insurance contract and paying careful attention to the fine print or by calling your insurer to check. To be on the safe side it would pay to do both, after all, you don’t want to find out after an emergency has taken place that you aren’t covered.
Many major UK insurers provide emergency cover as part of their standard home insurance policies; however, it is important to check the level of emergency cover. Although they might provide emergency cover for broken boilers, blocked drains and electrical failure, the level of cover is often quite low and homeowners will therefore need to make up the difference themselves.
For example, Legal & General provides just £150, Tesco’s goes up to £500 and John Lewis provides up to £1,500 of cover, so take note of this when shopping around for a new home insurance policy. This means that you might not need to take out a separate home emergency policy to complement your standard home insurance policy, though standalone emergency boiler cover is widely seen as a wise investment. This is because many insurers’ policies are invalid from May to August – only boiler breakdowns in winter are deemed emergencies.
Some policies only provide low cover levels, as little as £150 as mentioned above, plus the age of your boiler is also a significant issue to take note of because although the standard cut off age for boiler cover is fifteen years, many insurers draw the line at eight. Furthermore, it is also worth taking note of the fact that most policies only cover boilers that are professionally serviced and this also extends to standalone policies.
Exclusions and limits – What your home emergency insurance policy doesn’t cover
It isn’t only what your home emergency insurance policy covers but also what it doesn’t cover that is important. While most cover the services relating to drainage, electricity, heating and water, some will also provide more comprehensive coverage and these are the policies that you should be on the lookout for when sourcing a new home emergency insurance policy to cover your home.
Some policies cover pest infestation and roof damage caused by violent storms, and some will even cover broken doors, windows and locks, that although don’t pose a direct threat, still constitute a threat to home security. Moreover, some insurers will even cover the cost of temporary accommodation if an emergency at home renders your home uninhabitable until the problem is fixed.
Seeing that storms and violent weather are responsible for much of the damage caused to homes in the UK, it is imperative that you ensure your home is covered for storm damage, especially taking into account the cost of repairing your roof or replacing your windows in the aftermath of a violent storm, the likes of which UK homeowners see each and every year.
The importance of insuring your home in case of emergencies is not something that you can afford to overlook, so check with your insurer to assess the level of coverage you currently enjoy.