Is home emergency cover worth it?

A picture of a man repairing a boiler valve
Tony was an absolute maestro with his tool
"If you're considering buying home emergency insurance, the first thing that you should do is to check your existing household insurance policy" Ben Wilson, GoCompare
  • | by Emily Bater

Whether it's a burst pipe or a burglary, when home emergencies happen they're a nuisance at best. At worst, they can force you out of your home. 

Some calamities are more common in the winter, such as burst pipes or boiler breakdown, but others can crop up all year round, as anyone who's suffered a squirrel infestation or smashed window can attest.

But does your home insurance cover you for these unforeseeable mishaps? Should you buy standalone home emergency cover, or simply add it on to your existing policy?



GoCompare looked at 449 home contents insurance policies listed by independent financial researcher Defaqto on 16 January, 2018, and found that just 18% included home emergency cover as standard, while 49% offered it as an optional extra.

The home emergency maximum limit ranged from £500 to £4,000, and 340 policies included a 24-hour claims notification helpline as standard.

The level of cover differed between policies – seven policies only covered four or fewer types of household emergencies while 124 policies covered between five and seven types.

In January, 2015, where the policy could be bought as an add-on, there was a wide variation in the cover and cost.

The cost of the additional cover ranged from £12 to £265, but most policies offered cover for around £35. And, the most commonly covered household perils were plumbing and drainage problems (69%), home security (broken doors or windows - 69%), domestic power supply failure (67%), central heating failure (67%), vermin infestation (55%) and removal of wasp and hornet nests (55%).

Always check your terms and conditions to see which home emergencies are covered.

What is home emergency insurance?

Designed to cover misfortunes like burst pipes or boiler breakdown, home emergency cover offers householders access to a 24-hour emergency helpline, meaning they should be able to get hold of approved tradesmen quickly and easily.

Policies will cover the cost of call-out, labour and materials for repairs, and may also offer cover for alternative accommodation if you have to stay elsewhere while repairs are being made.

Do I really need it?

"If you're considering buying home emergency insurance, the first thing that you should do is to check your existing household insurance policy, which may already provide the cover you need," said GoCompare's Ben Wilson. 

"Like most insurance policies, the level of cover you'll receive – and its price – varies from policy to policy."

It's important to remember, too, that emergency cover could exclude equipment which hasn't been installed or maintained properly, like boilers.

"The failure of boilers or heating systems is usually only covered when they have been inspected or serviced by a qualified person within the preceding 12 months," said Wilson.

Fancy shopping around to find the right home insurance? Step this way and compare quotes today

What is home emergency insurance?

Designed to cover misfortunes like burst pipes or boiler breakdown, home emergency cover offers householders access to a 24-hour emergency helpline, meaning they should be able to get hold of approved tradesmen quickly and easily.

Policies will cover the cost of call-out, labour and materials for repairs, and may also offer cover for alternative accommodation if you have to stay elsewhere while repairs are being made.

Do I really need it?

"If you're considering buying home emergency insurance, the first thing that you should do is to check your existing household insurance policy, which may already provide the cover you need," said Gocompare.com's Ben Wilson. 

"Like most insurance policies, the level of cover you'll receive – and its price – varies from policy to policy."

It's important to remember, too, that emergency cover could exclude equipment which hasn't been installed or maintained properly, like boilers.

"The failure of boilers or heating systems is usually only covered when they have been inspected or serviced by a qualified person within the preceding 12 months," said Wilson.