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What is Home Emergency Cover?

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Home Emergency Cover provides protection against events that like a burst pipe or a boiler breakdown. In addition to helping to cover the costs of a call out and any necessary emergency repairs, Home Emergency cover also gives you access to a 24-hour emergency helpline and a network of tradesmen. So you won't be scrambling trying to find help when you really need it.

picture of tradesman fixing a burst pipe

How to Buy Home Emergency Cover

There are two options for obtaining home emergency cover: as an "add on" to your existing home insurance policy or as a separate standalone product. It's probably worth first calling your existing home insurer to get a quote for adding home emergency onto your buildings cover, then comparing this quote to standalone home emergency plans. You may find you can get a cheaper or better product elsewhere. If not, it may be easier to just add it to your existing home cover. (Or if you have purchased a premium policy from one of the best home insurance companies you may discover that you already have home emergency covered by your policy.)

What Does Home Emergency Insurance Cover?

Depending on the type of plan you take out, there is a wide range of home emergency cover available. The simplest (and cheapest) plans may only cover emergencies with your boiler (e.g., loss of hot water and/or heating). More comprehensive plans may include emergencies related to your electrics (e.g., total loss of electricity in your home), plumbing (e.g., a burst pipe), pest control (e.g., removing a wasp infestation), home security (e.g., securing a broken window or door), etc. Some plans also include an annual boiler check, which could save you around £80 a year.

Home Emergency Cover Can Protect Against Emergencies Related to...

  • Boiler
  • Central Heating
  • Plumbing
  • Home Electrics
  • Home Security
  • Pest Control
  • Roof Tiles
  • Accommodation
  • Hot Water
  • (Internal) Gas Supply
  • Glazing and Windows
  • Taps & Toilets
  • Internal Drains
  • External Drains
  • Boiler Replacement

Policies cover the cost of a call out, labour and materials for repairs. Home Emergency cover won't help pay for maintenance or non emergency repairs. (The slight exception to this is some plans offer an annual boiler check, worth around £80.) Some plans also reimburse you (up to a limit) for alternative accommodation should you need to stay elsewhere while repairs are being carried out.

Home Emergency Excess

The excess on Home Emergency policies typically falls in the range of £0 up to £95. Like other insurance products, the excess is the amount you pay towards a new claim. If there's one issue (e.g., a burst pipe) that requires multiple call outs, you should only need to pay the excess once for the initial claim.

Home Emergency Limits

Typically, a Home Emergency policy will pay up to £250 to £1,000 per claim. In addition to "per-claim" limits, some plans also have an annual limit. You may find that plans with cheaper premiums tend to have lower cover limits—you get what you pay for. The table below illustrates claim limits for a number of popular UK Home Emergency providers.

ProviderClaim Limit (including VAT)
247There is no claims value limit as long as not Beyond Economical Repair (BER)
A+£500
AA£500
Aviva£1,000
British Gas
  • Up to £1,000 for getting access and making good for each repair
  • Up to £500 for alternative accommodation and travel if your home is unfit to live in as a result of your gas appliance catching fire or exploding
Corgi HomePlan
  • Central Heating Boiler and Central Heating System – A combined limit of £2000 per claim (£300 in the first three months)
  • Plumbing and electrics, External drains, Taps and Toilets, Water Supply Pipes, Gas Supply pipes - £2000 per claim
  • Internal Drains - £1000 per claim
  • Boiler Replacement Cover - At the Initial Policy Start Date if boiler is less than 7 years old, up to £2500 for boiler replacement until the boiler is 10 years old
  • At the Initial Policy Start Date if boiler is more than 7 years but less than 10 years old up to £400 for boiler replacement until the boiler is over 10 years old, then the Boiler Replacement cover stops
Direct Line£500
Frank Pickles£1,000
More Than£1,000 total cover
Reactive£500 or £1,000
Row£1,000
Surewise£250, £500 or £750
Swinton£500
Tesco£1,000 per claim, £2,500 total

Surprising Exclusions

There's nothing worse than paying for insurance only to find, it you ever need to claim, that you're not covered due to the exclusions. In terms of Home Emergency plans, we found a number of surprising exclusions as we combed through various policies. Here are a few that stood out to us:

  • Roof tiles: Plans will only pay for the installation of a tarpaulin to protect the property if roofing tiles are blown off during bad weather (not actually fixing the roof)
  • Windows: Plans will cover boarding up of broken glazing to make a property secure (not actually fixing the glazing)
  • Underfloor Heating: Often excluded
  • Related damage: Cover will pay to address an immediate emergency (e.g., a burst pipe) but not any damage caused by the emergency (e.g., ruined floor boards)
  • Failing Boilers: Boilers that are still working, but you suspect may be about to break down (e.g., where a noise has developed) are usually not covered

Should You Buy Home Emergency Cover?

If the cost and/or stress of dealing with a home emergency on your own would put you in a difficult position, then buying Home Emergency cover may provide peace of mind for you. With the average cost of Home Emergency cover coming in around £150 per year (£12.50 per month) for standalone policies, and the average Home Emergency claim coming in at £163 according to FCA data, you would only recoup the cost of your home emergency insurance premium with a single claim, each year.

Cheap Home Insurance in Your Area

Quickly compare over 3 dozen UK insurance providers. Only one form to fill out.

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