It's cover for sudden and urgent issues with the services that supply your home - gas, electricity and water.
It'll cover issues like blocked drains, boiler breakdowns, burst pipes or electrical failure.
Home emergency cover can pay for the cost of call-out fees and repairs but won’t cover the cost of repairing damages caused by the emergency.
You’ll need buildings insurance or contents insurance for that, depending on what's been damaged.
Generally, the more you pay, the more cover you get. Stand-alone cover tends to be more extensive - and expensive - than the cover you can get as an add-on to your home insurance.
For when your boiler or central heating system fails, or there’s a leak, leaving you with no hot water. You'll need to have your boiler serviced regularly for your cover to be valid, but some home emergency plans include an annual service. If your boiler's under warranty, you’ll be expected to get it fixed by the manufacturer instead. Some insurers won't be able to cover older boilers, usually anywhere from seven to 10 years.
Cover for leaking or burst pipes. Plus, blocked sinks, toilets and drains.
It’s rare to have cover for trace and access. Any pipes outside of your home, for example ones that are the responsibility of local authorities, won’t be covered either.
For power loss because of electrical failures, for example, your fuse box going. Power cuts caused by the grid, or problems with wiring outside of your home, won’t be covered.
Things like broken windows, doors and locks that leave your home insecure. Some insurers cover lost or stolen keys and getting back in to your home too.
For bad weather damage mainly, and urgent repairs to make your home temporarily safe and dry again. General wear and tear over time is excluded.
Cover to remove infestations from your home. Usually mice, rats or wasp nests. Any infestations that need specialist removal, like bees or moths, are usually excluded.
If it’s not safe for you to stay in your home, some insurers will put you and your family up in a hotel while repairs are carried out.
It’s up to you really. It’s optional and depends on whether you want the cover for the unexpected. It’s sometimes packaged up with your bank account, or as an add-on with your home insurance, so check before you take out stand-alone cover.
Tenants don’t need it. It’s your landlord’s responsibility to look out for you if there’s a home emergency. Just like with home insurance, landlords can add it to their cover or buy a specialist policy. But they might choose to keep a network of reliable tradesman on call instead, and manage the cost for themselves.
Not necessarily. Your home insurance will usually cover the damage caused by an emergency, but it might not cover the repair of the actual incident.
For example, you could claim on your home emergency policy to cover the cost of urgent repairs to a burst pipe. But if the burst pipe caused water damage, you’d need to claim on your home insurance policy for that.
Your home emergency insurance policy will likely have exclusions. You should find out what they are before selecting a policy. Some common exclusions are:
Stand-alone home emergency insurance will only cover immediate fixes and not the repair work needed afterwards. For example, it would cover the cost to repair a burst pipe, but not the cost of water-damaged wood flooring. Your home insurance might cover you for this though.
If any more work is needed after the immediate repairs - for example, to improve a heating system and avoid future problems - you'll have to cover the cost yourself.
Most insurers put a price cap on each claim. So, you’ll want enough for call-out charges, parts and labour costs, plus any VAT.
Claim caps vary a lot between insurers, so it’s worth checking you’ve got enough cover for typical eventualities. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying the rest yourself.
Sometimes, there’s a limit to the number of call-outs and claims you can make during the course of your policy.
Some insurers won't let you claim during the cooling-off period. Check policy docs to see if this is the case.
It varies, but if you leave your home unoccupied for 30 days or more, expect any home emergencies to be excluded – it might void your home insurance too. If you're planning to leave your home vacant for any long period of time, consider unoccupied property insurance instead.
You’ll need to keep your home in a good state of repair and make sure you carry out routine maintenance - your home emergency policy could refuse to pay out if an issue is caused by your negligence.
There are two main ways to buy home emergency cover: with your home insurance, or as a stand-alone policy.
You usually need to pay extra to include home emergency cover on your home insurance and it isn’t available on all policies.
It might work out cheaper to do that than to buy a stand-alone policy. Adding home emergency cover to your home insurance costs an extra £47 on average.
It’ll also mean you’ll only need to deal with one company if you need to claim for the emergency and subsequent repairs.
Dedicated home emergency cover can cost more than adding it on to your home insurance, but you’ll be able to get the exact cover you need.
You could choose to get cover just for your boiler, or a policy that includes your boiler, heating, electrics and pipes. Some policies even include an annual boiler service, which could offer good value.
A home emergency is an event that’s sudden or unexpected which could cause the following if not dealt with quickly:
Some home emergency policies offer overnight or short-term alternative accommodation cover. But if lasting damage has been done to your home, leaving it uninhabitable for a longer period, your home insurance might be able to offer you alternative accommodation, as most insurers cover it.
We cannot currently provide a quote for a second home unless you rent this out, in which case you would need a landlord's policy.
Call the emergency helpline as soon as you notice the problem.
Depending on how serious the problem is, a tradesperson should be with you within a few hours – no more than 24.
If you also have home insurance, someone from your insurance provider might come out to assess the damage too if you’re making a claim.
Don’t try to sort out repairs for yourself if you want to make a claim on your home emergency policy - if you get a local tradesperson to come out to you directly instead, you won’t be covered.
That depends on the insurer, but there’ll usually be a limit. For example, £500 per claim, with an annual claim limit of a maximum of £2,500. Boiler replacements may have a limited contribution of up to £500.
There might also be a limit on the number of emergency incidents you can claim for in a year.
Some policies will include clauses that protect your no-claims bonus in the event of a claim.
Not all insurers will offer this clause as standard so it's important to compare insurers to find the level of cover you need.
It depends on your policy. Check when you take it out if there’s an excess and that you can afford to pay it.
Last checked 18 May 2021
In March 2021, the average price paid for home insurance policies that include home emergency cover was £200.63. The average price paid for home insurance policies that don't include home emergency cover was £153.63.