Home emergency insurance

What’s covered by home emergency insurance? What’s not? And do you need it if you already have buildings cover? Read on for the answers.

Home emergency insurance. What is home emergency insurance?

Home emergency insurance protects you against unexpected events. That’s things like a blocked drain, a burst pipe or your boiler breaking down.

If you have a household emergency your insurer will send an expert round to fix it. So you won’t have to search for an electrician or a heating engineer, for example. It’s all taken care of – and paid for – by your insurance company.

What’s included and what are common limits and exclusions

You can tailor your home emergency cover policy to meet the needs of your home, and your budget.

What’s included

Here are just some of the things you can protect against:

  • Boiler breakdown
  • Central heating breakdown
  • Loss of hot water
  • Plumbing problems
  • Burst pipes
  • Blocked drains
  • No electricity

Some policies also cover alternative accommodation if you can’t stay in your home.

Some common limits

Limits on what your cover will pay for is listed on your policy.

  • The cost of repairs per call out
  • The total cost of repairs per year
  • The number of call outs per year

Common exclusions

Exclusions on what your cover will pay for is listed on your policy.

  • Claims in the first 14 days
  • Sludge in your heating system
  • Properties left empty for 30+ days
  • Boilers that aren’t annually serviced
  • Results of poor maintenance
  • General wear and tear

What counts as an emergency?

Check your policy carefully before you buy. Because what you think is ‘an emergency’ might not be covered.

Some problems aren’t emergencies

A total loss of heating or hot water is an emergency. Low water pressure or boiler control issues aren’t. And you might find general maintenance isn’t covered either.

Most home cover policies say it’s an emergency if it:

  • makes your home uninhabitable e.g. a blocked drain floods your kitchen
  • causes permanent damage to your home e.g. a burst pipe that threatens a ceiling
  • causes a risk to your health e.g. a carbon monoxide leak
  • makes your home unsafe e.g. an electrical issue that’s a fire risk

How soon will someone come round to fix the problem?

Your policy should say how quickly your insurance company will respond to an emergency. Most have a 24-hour helpline.

But this doesn’t mean they’ll always send a technician in the middle of the night. You might need to wait till the next day.

Is a broken boiler covered by home emergency insurance?

A boiler breakdown isn’t covered by all emergency home cover policies. So check carefully before you buy.

Regular services matter

Your boiler could also be excluded if it hasn’t been regularly serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Or if it’s over a certain age.

Looking after your boiler

To keep your boiler in tip top condition, take a look at our Boiler Guides. You’ll find great advice on how to improve your boiler’s efficiency and when it’s boiler replacement time.

Isn’t home emergency cover included in my home insurance policy?

Your buildings insurance is there to cover the cost of things like flood, fire or storm damage. But it won’t usually pay for someone to fix your boiler or sort out a power failure.

More costly cover might include it

Some more expensive home insurance policies do include home emergency cover. So it’s worth checking to make sure you’re not paying for the same service twice.

Emergency cover saves you time

With home emergency insurance, you don’t have to ring round trying to find a plumber or a heating engineer. It’s all taken care of for you – and the response time is guaranteed by your policy.

Is home emergency cover worth it?

In summer, it’s easy to wonder whether you really need home emergency cover. But you’d probably feel differently in winter after several days spent shivering in a cold home. And you might struggle to find a heating engineer who’s reliable, affordable – and available.

So it’s worth thinking about what impact a boiler breakdown, burst water pipe or electrical failure would have on your household.

Could you fix it yourself?

If you’re pretty handy – or you know someone who is – you might decide to deal with any issues as they occur. But if spanners frighten you, it’s probably time to look at your home emergency insurance options.

The lowest price isn’t always the best

Home emergency cover varies from policy to policy – and so does the cost. So make sure you choose a company with a solid reputation for reliability and service. It’s no good getting a ‘great deal’ and then finding that you’re not actually covered when it matters.

Leave your boiler to a Gas Safe engineer

Remember, there are some jobs where it’s vital to use a Gas Safe registered engineer – like fixing a broken boiler. If you try it yourself and get it wrong, you could cause a carbon monoxide leak. So it might be worth looking at boiler-only home emergency insurance. Especially if your boiler’s not under warranty anymore.

How to make a claim on your home emergency cover

Most home emergency insurance providers have a 24/7 emergency telephone helpline. And many offer online and app options too. Get in touch the minute you notice a problem and they’ll guide you through the process.

Home emergency insurance for landlords

Doing maintenance and repairs can feel like a full-time job if you’re a landlord. If you’ve got lots of rental properties you’ll probably have a team of qualified people working with you to handle emergencies.

But if you only have one or two buy-to-let investments, home emergency insurance might be worth checking out.

Make sure you don’t pay extra

You shouldn’t have to pay more for emergency home insurance on a rental property than you do on your own home. So make sure you’re not being charged an extra fee for the same kind of cover.

Get insurance quote

Gas Safety Certificates are the law

As a landlord, you have extra legal obligations. Like a Gas Safety Certificate for every gas appliance in your rental properties – every year.

Book a gas safety check

Some helpful advice for landlords

If you’re starting out as a landlord, or even if you already have a large property portfolio, take a look at our advice for landlords.

Advice for landlords

Additional information

  1. Terms and Conditions apply. Home Insurance is arranged and administered by British Gas and is underwritten by a carefully selected insurer. Your policy documents will show who your insurer is. British Gas is a trading name of British Gas Services Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England & Wales (Registered No.03141243). Registered office: Millstream, Maidenhead Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 5GD.