Coming home to an emergency such as water pouring from the ceiling or a broken down boiler can be distressing.
Having good home emergency cover can mean the difference between resolving a problem quickly or facing a lengthy disruption and hefty repair bills.
In a modern home there are many things which can go wrong. As well as plumbing and heating system failures, serious issues can occur through damaged roofs, faulty locks, or even vermin infestations.
Having home emergency cover makes sense, but different policies can vary greatly in price and levels of protection.
9 things to consider
Some insurers won’t insure your boiler if it’s over 15 years old, while others will insist you have an annual boiler maintenance contract in place. If you own an older boiler, or one which uses oil or LPG fuels then ensure it’s covered before signing on the dotted line.
Water leaks can cause lots of damage so identifying and fixing any problem quickly is important. Pipes inside the home can burst while drains can become blocked, and both situations have the potential to cause significant damage. Be aware of what any insurance policy does and doesn’t cover in these circumstances.
If you are unfortunate to become a victim of an attempted or actual break-in, or if the locks on your windows or doors simply break, your home may be left insecure. Check that your insurance cover responds as an emergency so that your home can be quickly secured.
A damaged toilet doesn’t bear thinking about – not only do you have the problems which leaking water can create but there is the added worry of waste escaping into your home. Good home emergency insurance should cover you if your toilet is smashed, blocked, won’t flush, or if the waste pipe leaks or breaks.
It’s only when you lose your power supply that you fully appreciate how much we rely on it. Without power in your home you may have no lighting, heating, washing or cooking facilities, and you won’t be able to use any mains-powered devices.
Home emergency cover should help you if wires or gas pipes are accidentally damaged, or if your electricity supply is interrupted as a result of a fault inside your home.
The roof over your head protects you and your property from the elements – damage to the roof could put your home possessions in jeopardy. This is why swift action is required to repair a roof which has been damaged as a result of a sudden unexpected event such as severe weather.
Rural dwellers are particularly, although not exclusively, vulnerable to infestations from the likes of rats, mice, bees, wasps etc. If you’re not thrilled about the idea of sharing your home with uninvited insects and rodents then check if your insurance covers you for their immediate removal.
If you’ve suffered an emergency such as those described above and your home is unsafe, unsecure or uncomfortable to stay in, then home emergency cover should pay for your alternative accommodation costs. Again, check how much your insurance will pay for per night and for how long.
Making a claim
Some insurance companies can charge an excess for claims. A financial sting in the tail is perhaps the last thing you want during an emergency.
Another common limitation imposed by some companies will stop customers from claiming until 14 days after purchasing the insurance. Ask if you’re covered from the moment you sign up.
And if you do have to make a claim, you will want to know in advance if it will affect your no claims bonus, so check what the insurer’s policy is.