It is an insurance policy that can give you immediate assistance if you have an emergency in your home.
The insurer will arrange for a registered trades person to come to your home and fix your emergency as quickly as possible.
What counts as an emergency?
Most insurers define an emergency as something that:
Makes your home unsafe or vulnerable to thieves
Will cause permanent damage to your home
Causes a risk to your health and wellbeing
You will not be able to use home emergency cover for any situation that does not match the insurer's definition of an emergency.
Do you need it?
Check your home insurance policy carefully before you buy home emergency cover because you may already have protection.
Some home insurers include home emergency as part of their standard cover, or let you add it as an optional extra.
If you do, check the cover you are getting because you may be able to get a better deal with a standalone home emergency policy.
If you rent your property it is up to the landlord to arrange home emergency cover. You should contact them or your letting agent in the event of an emergency.
What does it cover?
A home emergency policy can protect you in the event of several potential problems:
Boiler and heating system
If your boiler stops working you could be left without heating and hot water, so you need to get the problem sorted as soon as possible, especially when it is cold.
Home emergency can cover boiler breakdowns and other things like faulty radiators, but you could get better protection through a boiler insurance policy.
Some home emergency policies limit how much you can claim for boiler repair costs, for example £250 for each claim. Here is what cover a boiler insurance policy can give you.
Plumbing and drainage
Home emergency can cover any issues you have involving your plumbing and drainage, like a burst pipe.
Most policies can also cover your:
Toilet if it is broken and you do not have another in your home
Shower if it develops a serious leak
Stopcock, as long as it is within the property boundaries
If you live in a flat or apartment you may not get cover for your plumbing, because you share pipes with other properties.
Check with your management company if your building is covered if you live in a block of flats.
You will be covered if you suffer an electrical failure that means your home is uninhabitable.
This could include the wiring to your lighting or boilers failing, or if the permanent electrical supply to your home fails.
Most policies will not cover any wiring outside your home, or any temporary electrical wiring.
You can call on emergency assistance if the security of your home is compromised, for example:
The locks on your external doors are broken
A window is broken
Most policies will only cover you if there is an immediate security risk to your property.
You will not be covered for replacement locks if you lose your keys.
Roof and exterior
Some policies will cover you if bad weather causes damage to your roof.
You may only be able to claim if the damage to your roof leads to the interior of your home being damaged too. For example, if tiles come off your roof and exposes the inside of your house to bad weather.
Home emergency cover may not repair the damage, but will make it safe so your home is no longer at risk.
You may be covered if your home has an infestation of pests, including:
Mice or rats
Your insurer can arrange for an exterminator to come to your property and get rid of the pests, and you can also claim the cost of accommodation if they need to fumigate your home.
Not all home emergency cover policies protect against pet infestations, so read the policy carefully if you want this cover.
How to get home emergency cover
It is often offered as an optional add on to your home insurance policy, but make sure you look at standalone home emergency policies too because they could offer better protection.
Adding home emergency to your home insurance could be the cheapest option, but it may not offer the best cover. Before you compare deals think about:
What level of cover you need: Some home emergency policies offer unlimited cover, but others only pay up to a set amount or limit the number of call outs you can make.
What you want covered: Most policies cover boilers and burst pipes, but you may have to pay extra for things like electrical or pest cover.
Once you know what cover you want you should compare policies to find one that gives you the protection you need at the best price.