Do you need home cover?
When it comes to owning a home, it’s always best to prepare for potential disasters. We’re talking a broken down boiler in the middle of winter, a burst pipe that floods your flooring and dodgy electrics that leave you in the dark. Although you can’t always prevent these kinds of problems from happening, you can protect your property (and your bank balance) by taking out home emergency cover.
Define cover - is it home insurance?
Yes, by home cover, we mean insurance for your property. It’s worth noting that there is a difference between home insurance for your property and contents and home cover for things like central heating, plumbing and gas pipes.
It’s likely that you already have home insurance that covers your property and it’s contents. However, it probably won’t cover you for things like repairs to your boiler if it breaks down or unblocking a clogged drain. For these kinds of problems, you will need to take out home emergency cover.
What is home emergency cover?
Home emergency cover tends to include insurance for the utilities and services in your home, which wouldn’t already be covered in standard building or contents insurance. Essentially, its purpose is to help you deal with and pay for repairs to your home when disaster strikes.
A typical home emergency cover package will include:
- Boiler breakdown and repairs
- Central heating failure and loss of hot water
- Plumbing and water supply problems
- Drain cover for home (blocked drains within your property boundaries)
- Electrical failure
Some home emergency cover packages may also include the following:
- Roof damage and repairs
- Lost keys
- Security issues (e.g. broken windows)
- Pest infestations
The cover you receive will vary from one company to the next. Usually, the more you’re willing to pay, the greater the extent of cover you will receive.
Most home cover providers will give you access to a 24/7 telephone helpline and be able to fulfil requests for emergency call-outs within a few hours. Here at Hometree, we also offer additional benefits, such as convenient evening and weekend call-outs, annual boiler servicing and discounts on new boiler installations, as part of our home cover package.
Benefits of taking out home cover
Trying to decide whether you can justify the extra cost of home insurance emergency cover? Let’s take a look at some of the ways it can benefit you…
1. It will give you peace of mind
One of the best things about having home cover is that you can go about your day worry-free. You won’t have to panic about what you’ll do if your boiler breaks down in winter or how you’ll cope without hot water. You’ll know you can always ring up your insurance provider and an expert will be at your property, within a few hours, to fix it for you.
2. It will save you money
Another benefit of taking out home cover is that it can save you a significant amount of money. Boiler and central heating repairs can be expensive, not to mention the cost of emergency call-outs for relatively simple tasks like unclogging a blocked drain. By taking out home cover, you can pay a set fee, monthly or annually, and know that you won’t have to dig into your savings to pay for emergency repairs.
3. Quick repairs
There’s nothing worse than facing an emergency, like a burst pipe, only to ring up a plumber and find they can’t get out to you until the next day. One of the great things about having a home emergency cover policy is that you will get the help you need much quicker. Not only are you likely to have access to a 24/7 helpline but the company should guarantee that a professional plumber, electrician or gas engineer (depending on the problem) will be out to you within ‘X’ number of hours.
4. Access to qualified, reputable tradespeople
If those three benefits aren’t enough, how about the fact you’ll gain access to qualified tradespeople. You won’t have to worry about cowboys ripping you off or spending ages looking for reviews online. Choose a trusted home cover provider and you can have the peace of mind that only fully vetted, reputable tradespeople will be attending your property.
Some providers offer insured plans to look after your Boiler and Heating and other home services like plumbing, drains and electrics, whereas other providers offer non-insured plans. An insured plan will be underwritten by an insurer and also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Non-insured plans are not backed by an insurer and are not regulated by the FCA. Often non-insured or maintenance plans include an annual service of the equipment covered, whereas these may or may not be included in insured plans.
Hometree offers a range of non-insured maintenance "care" plans all of which include an annual service visit.
Tips for choosing a home emergency cover
Does a home emergency cover policy sound a little more appealing now? Here are a few tips to help you choose the right package.
1. Check existing policies - Before taking out home emergency cover, we suggest looking at any existing home cover policies you already have. Check to see what you are covered for. There’d be nothing worse than paying twice for the same thing.
2. Shop around for a good deal - It’s also worth bearing in mind that you don’t have to stick with the same home cover provider. If you can get better cover elsewhere and your renewal date is coming up, then switch! Shop around to see who can give you the best deal and use comparison sites to make the process even quicker.
3. Read policies carefully – Make sure you’re completely clued up on the policy before agreeing to it. Have you checked if there are any excess or call out fees to pay when you make a claim? Is there a limit on the number of claims you can make? What aren’t you covered for? Always read the small print and if in doubt, ask for clarification.
There will be certain things that home emergency cover does not include. For example, home insurance boiler breakdown cover doesn’t usually include the removal of sludge, limescale or the damage it has caused. Similarly, you’re unlikely to find home insurance blocked drain cover that includes faults caused by someone else you’ve previously used for repairs.
Look out for attractive deals
Some providers will lure you in with an attractive ‘first-year’ price but be wary of price hiking on renewal because it may come as quite a shock. Here at Hometree, we offer all of our customers a fair price and providing no claims are made, it will remain the same year-on-year (barring increases in inflation, which unfortunately no one can escape!)
There are of course some attractive deals you should buy into. For example, many providers will offer additional benefits on top of their home emergency cover, like free annual boiler servicing or a discount on a new boiler, if they cannot repair your existing one.
Another thing to consider when choosing home emergency cover is how you will pay for your policy. Choose a company that offers flexibility, so you can either choose to pay monthly or annually. Some providers will also let you pay more upfront so that you don’t have to pay call out fees or excess.
Enjoy total peace of mind with home emergency cover
Home emergency cover may not seem like an essential for some, though you have to consider how you would cope if something was to happen to your property that you couldn’t fix yourself. If you’d struggle to unblock a drain without expert help or can’t afford expensive boiler repairs outright, then home emergency cover is a worthwhile expense.
We hope this has given you the information you need to make an informed choice regarding home emergency cover. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts.