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Home emergency cover

When you compare home insurance quotes with us, you can buy home emergency cover as an added extra. It can give you extra protection for a range of unexpected emergencies.

This is the most cost effective way as it’s normally cheaper than a stand alone product. Some policies may also include some level of cover as standard.

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What is home emergency cover?

Home emergency cover pays to fix emergency issues or urgent repairs in your home. Generally, a home emergency is anything that:

  • Is bad for your health
  • Risks damaging your home
  • Compromises your home's security

It can cover the cost of repair for your main utilities, including:

  • Water - such as a burst pipe, or blocked drains
  • Gas - which could include boiler breakdown, loss of heating or hot water
  • Electricity - loss of lighting and power in your home

A home emergency policy covers the cost of needing to call out a tradesperson to fix the issue itself, but not any damage the issue causes.

If anything else is damaged as a result, you have 2 options:

How can I get home emergency cover? 

There's 2 options when buying home emergency cover, generally it's not included automatically on a home insurance policy:

  • Buy it separately - We don’t offer this as a separate product. But you can buy it separately as a standalone service from a company. This is an additional cost alongside your home insurance, and normally works out as a more expensive option.
  • Add it onto your existing policy, or when you renew or get a new quote - When you compare home insurance with us, you'll be able to tick the 'home emergency cover' box before viewing all the prices. Alternatively, after viewing prices, you can select 'edit quote' and you can tick the ‘home emergency cover' box there. We then quickly recalculate your quote with the added cost of home emergency cover.

You will also be able to see which home insurance companies include it as standard and which have it as an extra – and how much that costs.

What does home emergency cover include?

Every policy varies, but you usually get cover for the following:

Boiler and heating

If your boiler breaks down, home emergency cover covers the cost of calling out a tradesperson. There might be some T&Cs around this for your cover to be valid, such as:

  • The boiler needs to be outside its manufacturer warranty
  • You should have the boiler serviced regularly
  • The boiler should be under a certain age – usually less than 7 to 10 years

Some policies offer up to £250 for a new boiler if it’s not fixable.

Plumbing and drainage

This covers you for burst pipes and blocked drains, sinks and toilets. It also covers underground external drainage, but only the pipes you’re legally responsible for. It doesn't cover drainage issues that are outside your property.

Your policy doesn't cover replacement:

  • Pumps
  • Water tanks
  • Radiators
  • Cylinders
  • Water softeners
  • Waste disposal units
  • Parts of your central heating system

Roof damage

If your roof suffers sudden storm damage, home emergency cover helps with quick repairs to the roof to keep your home dry. To be covered for this, you also have to prove that your roof is well maintained.

Electrical failures

If your home’s fuse box blows, or an electric failure leaves you without power, you could claim on your home emergency cover to fix it. It's also unlikely to cover:

  • Temporary electrical wiring
  • Wiring that’s outside your home
  • The electrical supply to your outbuildings and garages

Lost keys

Depending on the policy, you might also be offered replacements for a lost or stolen house key. But you’d have to weigh up whether it was worth claiming over calling a locksmith.

Pest infestations

Your policy could help remove infestations – the usual suspects are:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Wasp nests

Alternative accommodation

Some policies also include alternative accommodation cover. This is useful if the emergency has left your home temporarily uninhabitable. Some might even cover the cost of a kennel or cattery to house your pet for a night.

What’s not included in home emergency cover?

Home emergency cover generally doesn't include:

  • Wear and tear
  • General maintenance
  • Broken boilers that are old – usually 7 or more years, but check with the provider
  • Infestations of protected species - like bats
  • Minor issues such as a dripping tap or a single faulty electrical socket
  • Any damage caused by the original issue
  • Damp and rot

Problems in unoccupied properties - you usually aren't covered if you’ve been away from your home for more than 60 days.

Does using home emergency cover affect my no-claims discount?

This depends on whether you’ve bought the policy as an add on, separately or if it’s included in your home insurance.

If you’ve bought a standalone home emergency policy then a claim on it is unlikely to affect your no-claims discount. You might be able to claim as many times as you need to without penalty. It’s worth checking the T&Cs in case there’s a limit on how many callouts you’re allowed.

The same is true if it’s an add-on. Claiming might not affect your discount, but it’s worth checking your policy document, or speaking to your insurer.

If home emergency cover is included in your policy, then making a claim is likely to affect your no-claims discount.

You may not be able to use your discount on a standalone emergency cover policy. This is because some standalone emergency cover policies don’t have a no-claims discount feature.

Is there a limit on how much I can claim?

It depends on the insurer's policy, but most home emergency cover policies limit the cost of repairs and labour. They can also limit the number of callouts you can claim for each year.

Standard home insurance policies may give you a claim limit, too. For example, a maximum of £2,500 a year, with no more than 3 claims a year.

But more comprehensive policies can give you a bigger claim amount. Their cover may also include:

  • Boilers
  • Central heating
  • Electrics
  • Unlimited call-outs in a year

Compare home insurance with home emergency cover

Is home emergency cover worth it?

It could save you a lot of money and hassle you do experience a home emergency. So it could be worth paying for if it's within your budget. Emergency call out fees for water, gas and electrics can be extremely expensive.

Like with any insurance or bill, you should always compare quotes, and make a decision based on your budget and research. 

What our home insurance expert says

‘’With the increasing costs of home insurance and every household bill, home emergency cover might not be in everyone’s budget.

Before you buy it, remember that some emergencies may already be included on your contents and buildings insurance. Check your policy documents to see if you’re covered. If not then adding it on is cheaper than a stand alone product, if it’s in your budget.  

However you chose to get home emergency cover, make sure you know exactly what’s included. This means you know what's covered if a home emergency happens.’’

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
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