We all know that insurance is a part of life but there often seems to be so many extras on offer that you can end up paying a fortune each month for a different cover. One of the top extra types of insurance offered to homeowners is called home emergency. But what does it cover and do you need it?
What is a home emergency?
The idea of a home emergency cover is that it fills in when your normal home insurance doesn’t help. Let’s say you have a fire, flood or a theft – then your home insurance will cover the damage and losses and replace anything stolen or ruined. These are called insurable perils and are the point of having home insurance.
But there are other situations that home insurance doesn’t cover. For example, if you have a burst pipe or the heating won’t work, your boiler is broken or the toilet won’t flush. This is where a home emergency policy can come into force and help you where your home insurance doesn’t offer cover. The most common elements covered include:
- Breakdown of the boiler
- Heating system not working
- Plumbing and drainage problems in the house
- Damage to the roof
- Lack of electricity supply
How home emergency cover works
While the different providers will have slight differences in their policy, the basic idea of a home emergency policy is that you have a special contact number to ring if there is an emergency. The company will then arrange for an approved tradesman to visit the house as quickly as possible, depending on the nature of the emergency.
You can sometimes use your own tradesmen if you have someone you deal with regularly but you do need to get permission from the home emergency provider or they may not cover the cost of the work under the policy. Again, policies have different limits per claim and usually, there is no excess to pay as there would be an insurance policy claim. Most policies have no limits to the number of claims you can make and there is no ‘no claims bonus’ that you lose by making a claim.
Levels of cover
Different policies have different levels of cover, allowing you to insure as much as you want. Let’s use the British Gas Homecare policy as an example as this is one of the longest running styles of home emergency policy.
Their basic cover includes an annual boiler service and also cover for emergencies for the boiler and its controls, such as thermostats. You use a special British Gas telephone number to contact the company and they arrange someone to come out to deal with the problem. The second tier adds cover for the central heating system while the third tier offers cover for internal plumbing and drains. The final fourth tier also includes the home electrics in the cover.
Doubling your cover
When taking a home emergency policy, you should always check the cover on your home insurance as some policies do offer this type of cover and therefore you would be paying for something you don’t need. However, most home insurance policies don’t offer this kind of cover so an extra home emergency policy can give you reassurance if anything goes wrong with the most important systems in your home.
There’s nothing that says you have to have home emergency cover – you can simply hope that nothing happens and if it does, then pay for the costs involved at the time. But if you would rather pay a little each month for the reassurance that you won’t have a big bill, then the cover may be ideal for you.