What is home emergency cover?

Home emergency cover is an optional insurance product that’s there to give you peace of mind and financial assistance when things such as plumbing and central heating go wrong.
Home emergency policies typically cover you for boiler/heating system breakdownblocked drainselectrical faults and household security - for example, a broken window. Some insurance providers offer additional cover for problems such as pest infestations or roof damage.
Note that home emergency policies vary, depending on the insurance provider. Be sure to read your policy documents carefully, so you know exactly what’s covered and what’s not.

Will my home insurance cover emergencies?

Your standard home insurance policy covers you for events such as fire, flood, theft and vandalism. It won’t usually protect you if your boiler breaks down due to a mechanical or electrical fault.
You might expect your boiler to be covered by your contents insurance but again, most insurance providers exclude damage due to mechanical or electrical breakdown. That means unless your boiler catches fire or is damaged due to a water leak, it’s unlikely you’d be able to claim for any damage.
If you want to be protected for unexpected emergencies, you’ll need extra cover.

What repairs does home emergency insurance cover?

Exactly what your policy covers will depend on how much you pay and which insurance provider you choose. As a rough guide, you can expect your emergency home insurance to protect you from the following:

  • broken boiler or central heating (during the winter)
  • burst pipes
  • blocked drains
  • broken front doors or windows
  • lost keys

If the damage makes your home uninhabitable, some policies may also cover you for alternative accommodation.
Remember, home emergency cover is there to help alleviate an emergency situation, such as your home being unsafe or unsecure, there being a risk to your health and safety or that of your family, or there’s a risk of further damage to your property. Policies often have specific times of the year when your boiler would be covered as an emergency if it breaks down – so it’s worth checking the policy terms and conditions. 

Do I need home emergency cover?

It’s not a legal requirement, but when you consider the potential cost of dealing with household emergencies, home emergency cover could be worth the outlay.  

boiler repair can cost anything from £100 to £500, but if a part needs replacing, you could be looking at a much bigger bill. A brand-new boiler could cost anything from £600 up to several thousand pounds. You’ve also got call-out fees and installation costs to consider.

A burst pipe, on the other hand, could cost anything from £100 to thousands if there’s a lot of damage.

What isn’t covered by home emergency cover?

Your home emergency cover won’t include every eventuality and exclusions will vary. Very few – if any – policies cover general wear and tear, so it’s important to maintain your central heating system. Most insurance providers will insist you have your boiler serviced annually. If you don’t, it could invalidate your policy. 

How can I buy home emergency cover?

You can add home emergency cover as an optional extra to your home insurance. 

Where can I find home emergency cover?

Compare the Market doesn’t currently compare standalone home emergency cover. But it’s available as an optional extra when you compare home insurance quotes with us. It’s quick and easy to get a home insurance quote – just give us a few details about yourself and your home, and we’ll give you a list of quotes from a range of trusted UK providers, in minutes.

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Frequently asked questions

How can I cut the cost of home emergency cover?

There are a few ways you can make sure you’re not overpaying for your home emergency cover:

  • Check that you’re not already covered for home emergencies elsewhere.
  • Pay annually, rather than monthly – this is usually cheaper.
  • Always compare insurance providers to make sure you’re getting the best home emergency cover deal for you, check for any claims limits as well as any limitations on the amount of claims you might be able to make within a year.

Will home emergency cover include my boiler?

Your home emergency cover should include your boiler, but that may depend on its age and condition. You’ll need to check the policy details. Alternatively, you may want to look into buying separate boiler insurance.

What is considered an emergency?

This may vary between insurance providers, so it’s important to know exactly what your insurance provider considers an emergency.
Most insurance providers define a household emergency as something that:

  • could cause permanent damage to your home
  • may make your home unsafe
  • poses a risk to health.

Do I need home emergency cover if I rent?

No. Boiler repairs and other maintenance costs are your landlord’s responsibility, so it’s down to them to make sure they have cover.

How fast will I get a response?

Your policy will stipulate how quickly you can expect a response from your insurance provider. Many have 24-hour helplines, so you should be able to reach someone no matter what time of day.

How much does home emergency cover cost?

Providers typically charge a flat fee for adding home emergency cover to your home insurance. Different providers will charge different amounts based on several factors, including the overall amount of cover included in their product – for example, how much you can claim or the maximum number of claims you can make in a year. Also taken into account is the type of cover offered – for example, does it include your boiler and heating system or only your boiler.

Chris King

Home insurance expert

What our expert says

“While not an essential, home emergency cover could be a real boon if your boiler packs up in the dead of winter. Likewise, it can be reassuring to know you have protection in place if your electrics fail or your front door lock breaks.”