Standard home insurance usually covers certain kinds of damage to a home, but it may not cover everything. In order to be covered for repairs to a home boiler, a central heating system, the electrical system, or home drains, additional insurance is typically needed. These kinds of problems could be covered by home emergency insurance.
Home Emergency Insurance Fills the Gaps in Standard Home Plan
Some standard home insurance plans could provide limited coverage for home emergencies, but with several restrictions. When home emergencies are covered by standard home insurance, there’s usually a low claim limit and lots of exclusions that restrict how useful the insurance really is. And very few homeowner policies usually cover boilers, which tend to experience problems at a higher frequency than electrical and drainage systems. These gaps in coverage often could mean that homeowners are left to look for cheap boiler insurance, central heating insurance, and other types of coverage to help them take care of problems with these home systems.
What does Home Emergency Insurance Cover?
Home emergency policies tend to differ in what they cover, so it could be important to check what’s covered before purchasing a policy. In general, the more comprehensive a policy is, the more expensive it could be. A comprehensive policy might cover all of the following emergencies, while a basic policy might cover only some of them:
Boiler breakdown (some comprehensive policies may also cover boiler servicing), Central heating breakdown, Electrical failure, Gas supply interruptions, Water supply interruptions, Drainage problems, Frozen pipes, Pest infestation, Roof leaks.
For boiler coverage, it could also be important to note that many insurance companies define “emergency” differently from how a homeowner might. For many insurers, a boiler breakdown is considered an emergency only in the winter months. This means that if your boiler breaks down at any other time of year it may not be covered by the insurance. When someone purchases this kind of insurance it may be important to check whether there’s any seasonal coverage applied to the boiler or any other home system. Depending on the policy, a homeowner might need to purchase additional insurance to cover their boiler for the entire year.
Common Home Emergency Insurance Exclusions
Even a home emergency policy may not cover everything. Most could exclude at least some of the following:
Older boilers, for instance those over 10 years old, might be excluded. This varies from company to company so it’s important to check the fine print to ensure a specific boiler is included. Boiler coverage may require that a boiler is serviced annually. Some policies may also require annual servicing for electrical and central heating systems, and for drains. Depending on the company, they might require a homeowner to sign up for their own in-house boiler service plan, or have their boiler serviced by an approved company. Not all policies may include call-out charges and the cost of any parts and materials used in repairs. If the home has two or more toilets, the insurer may not consider a single non-functioning toilet to be an emergency.
It may also be important for a homeowner to look closely at what the insurer defines as an emergency. Problems caused by wear and tear are generally not considered an emergency. And intermittent faults—things that occur from time to time—could often be excluded too.
What Other Benefits does Home Emergency Insurance Provide?
In addition to boiler insurance and general home emergency cover, this kind of insurance could provide homeowners with another major benefit. Most home emergency insurance plans offer a 24-hour support service, including an emergency helpline or email service, that provides a source of advice when problems arise with a boiler, central heating system, or other insured system. And when needed, the insurance company may also send a tradesperson out to perform any repairs that are required. So, for their premium payments, a homeowner might be covered for most kind of damage, and could also easily arrange for repairs when they’re needed. There may be some drawbacks to this arrangement. For instance, a homeowner may not usually choose who comes to the house to fix any particular problem, as the tradespeople are generally chosen by the insurance company. And, an insurer might also send a claims assessor to the home to check that the claim is covered, and that the work is done correctly.
Comparing Home Emergency Cover
To compare home emergency insurance policies from different providers, a homeowner could look at the cost of each policy as well as what they cover, keeping in mind their specific requirements and the types of problems they’re likely to experience. When making comparisons, it might be good to look at what each policy includes as standard, and what’s available in terms of optional extras. Also note that most policies will set a maximum limit that a homeowner could claim for any given emergency, and may also set a total annual limit or a limit that covers the term of the policy. And, don’t forget to consider the excess. This is generally the amount that a homeowner must pay before insurance may cover a claim. For instance, if the excess is £100, the policy holder must pay the first 100 on any claim they make, and the insurance company tends to cover the rest. The lower the excess on any given policy, the higher the premiums will be is generally the case, so a homeowner may want to carefully consider whether they want cheap home emergency cover with a higher excess, or pay more for a lower one.
Some comprehensive home emergency policies could waive the excess on emergency claims, on the basis that the agreed excess for a policy is often more than the charges a homeowner may pay for certain types of emergency repairs. However, policies that waive the excess are typically the more expensive ones.