Plumbing and drainage cover

Protect your plumbing system with home emergency cover

  • We don't offer standalone plumbing and drainage insurance
  • However, you can get cover as part of a home emergency cover policy
Distracted man burning his food


Plumbing and drainage insurance, also known as home emergency cover, is an optional extra that you can add to your home insurance policy.

It helps you quickly get help for sudden plumbing issues at home - like a burst pipe or a blocked drain.

By calling the home emergency cover helpline, you can get immediate advice and your insurer can quickly arrange for a registered tradesperson to come and fix the problem.

You’ll be covered for the cost of any repairs and parts needed, usually up to a set maximum limit.

Senior couple enjoying a hot drink in their kitchen


If you’re a homeowner, plumbing and drainage cover can give you extra peace of mind if you find yourself with a problem that needs fixing quickly.

With standard home insurance, your buildings insurance can cover the cost of water damage to the structure of your home. And your contents insurance could pay out if your belongings are damaged by an unexpected leak.

But unless your policy includes plumbing and drainage cover or you buy it as a policy add-on, it’ll be your responsibility to organise and pay for a qualified professional to fix the problem.

So if you want to be protected against unexpected repair bills and have problems dealt with fast, adding home emergency cover to your policy is worth considering.


Typically, this insurance will cover the cost of emergency call-out fees, labour and replacement parts for urgent plumbing and drainage repairs that can include:

  • Blocked or leaking drains
  • Leaking or burst pipes
  • Leaking radiators
  • Blocked sinks or toilets
  • Water supply pipe leaks or blockages
  • Repairs to gas boilers or central heating

Insurers may offer different levels of home emergency cover that can also include an annual boiler service and urgent repairs to your home’s electrical system.

Some offer unlimited cover whereas others cap the amount they’ll pay out or will limit the number of emergency call-outs you can make per policy term - so it’s best to compare policies.


Plumbing and drainage cover can come into its own if you’ve got an urgent plumbing issue on your hands, but not every situation is covered so always check the policy exclusions.

Things that typically won’t be covered include:

  • Regular maintenance and problems due to wear and tear
  • Shared drains and pipes you’re not legally responsible for
  • Boilers more than 10 years old
  • Breakdown of electric showers
  • Rainwater guttering and down pipes
  • Problems caused by poor workmanship
  • Non-urgent issues
  • Any costs that are more than the maximum limit stated in your policy

What details do I need to get a quote?

To compare plumbing and drainage insurance, you’ll need to get a quote for home emergency cover.

It’s easy to get a quote, simply:

  1. Tell us about you and your home

    We’ll need information like your name, address and type of home

  2. Let us know about your boiler

    We’ll ask you about the make, age and condition of your boiler

  3. Select your cover

    You’ll need to add central heating cover, and then add plumbing and home electrics

  4. Say when you’d like your cover to start

    We can find you quotes for up to 30 days in advance

Get home emergency cover


Burst pipes

This is one of the most common causes of water damage to homes. To help prevent this from happening, protect your pipes. Make sure pipes and water tanks are insulated and heating is kept on low when you’re away for long periods in the winter.

Blocked drains

Having a blocked drain can be a real pain. What you do and don’t put down your sink can make a real difference. Avoid putting any oils or grease down them that can go hard and form fat blocks which clog up the pipes and block drains.

Blocked toilets

No one wants to have this issue, especially if you have a family at home and only one loo. To minimise the chance of this happening be careful what you flush down the toilet, many ‘flushable’ wipes can actually block toilets.

Cracked or displaced pipes

Using pipes to hang bags, clothes, or even plants off can end up causing big problems. Putting any additional weight on pipes can cause them to warp or crack and leak.

Tree roots affecting the pipe

This can cause a pipe to collapse or even block them entirely. Often tree root intrusion will be covered by your home insurance but policies vary. To avoid any damage, check your drains regularly and keep an eye on nearby trees and shrubs.

Some plumbing and drainage policies limit how much you can claim for, and others don’t include major work, like opening up the wall to access a damaged pipe. If the problem has also caused damage to your home – for example, water damaged floors – you’ll need to claim on your home insurance for that instead."
Ceri McMillan - Home insurance expert

Frequently asked questions

This largely depends on your policy and the cause of the plumbing or drainage issue, so it’s worth checking your policy documents.

Home insurance usually covers sudden and unexpected water damage to your home and contents. but it won’t normally cover the cost of repairing internal plumbing problems - like a burst pipe or an overflowing toilet. For this, you’ll need home emergency cover.

Some comprehensive home insurance policies may cover damage to underground water pipes and the cost of tracing and detecting the source of a leak.

But unless you have home emergency cover, either as part of your policy or as an add-on, you’ll need to cover the cost of fixing any sudden plumbing and drainage problems yourself.

Home insurance will typically cover the cost of damage from an unexpected plumbing or drainage issue, but it won’t cover the cost of fixing the problem itself.

This is where plumbing and drainage cover comes in. Your insurer can arrange and pay for an approved tradesperson to fix the problem.

As well as helping to sort out urgent plumbing issues, adding home emergency cover can also help with other issues in your home.

For example, if your central heating suddenly stops working or your electrics cut out. These are things you wouldn’t be able to claim for on your home insurance.

The good news is that if you’ve bought a home emergency add-on, most insurers will let you claim on this without it affecting your no-claims bonus.

However, if you’ve got a comprehensive home insurance policy that includes home emergency cover as standard and you make a claim for a plumbing or drainage issue - it will usually count against your no-claims discount.

No, if you’re a tenant, your landlord’s responsible for making sure the plumbing and drainage are working properly, and for taking out buildings insurance.

But as a tenant, it’s important that you have contents insurance. This will make sure your belongings are covered for any damage from a leak or flood. It’ll also protect them from damage, loss or theft from other unexpected situations, like a fire or burglary.

The best thing to do is to practise good waste disposal habits and stay on top of your home maintenance to keep everything in good working order.

To avoid blockages in the bathroom, only human waste and toilet paper should go in the loo – nappies and wipes should always be put in the bin.

In the kitchen, don’t pour leftover cooking oil and fat into the sink, instead leave it to cool and put it in the bin so it doesn’t form fat blocks in your pipes and drains.

Most burst water pipes are caused by the water inside freezing and expanding. To help prevent this, fix any dripping taps, keep the central heating on low if you go away during the winter months, and insulate pipes in the loft or any that are likely to freeze.

Finally, check your water pressure. High pressure or big changes in water pressure can put a strain on your pipes and cause leaks, so consider installing pressure-reducing valves.

Certain problems, like blocked sinks or toilets, can sometimes be easily fixed by using a plunger or pouring in unblocking products to get things moving again. But for more difficult or serious problems, it’s best to get the help of a professional.

If you make the situation worse by trying to fix the problem yourself, or by not using a registered tradesperson, you won’t be able to claim on your home insurance policy and you could even invalidate your cover.

It’s best to act quickly to limit any damage. If you’ve got a leak, turn off the water at the mains - the stopcock can often be found under the kitchen or bathroom sink.

If you have home emergency cover, contact the helpline to arrange for an emergency plumber. Otherwise, you’ll need to organise and pay for this yourself. If your belongings are affected by water damage, you may be able to claim on your contents insurance.

For drainage problems, you could try clearing the blockage yourself by hand or by using drainage rods and a pressure hose.

But for more complex or harder to reach problems you’ll need to contact a professional, your water company, or the council if the blocked drain is outside your property’s boundary.

The plumbing and drainage cover you get as part of a home emergency add-on will start and finish on the same date as your home insurance policy – usually 12 months.

Page last reviewed: 18/05/2023

Page reviewed by Jasmine Hembury