Home emergency insurance provides peace of mind for those afraid of being left high and dry. Yet our research found a range of policies which had a whole host of exclusions. This got me thinking – is it really worth it?
When we surveyed 5,868 Which? members, we found they pay an average of £219 per year for home emergency insurance, but that 30% are dissatisfied with their insurance.
So we took a closer look at 18 home emergency policies and were shocked to find a wide range of exclusions that could prevent people from claiming. Many of the people we asked expressed bewilderment at the weird and wonderful exclusions they found in their home emergency policies – often discovered too late.
Our own research found that very few of the policies actually offered cover that was as full as their advertising appeared to suggest. For example, you’d expect that ‘complete’ cover would include all necessary parts and a 24/7 service, for starters. But when we looked closer, we found this wasn’t always the case.
Some of the plumbing insurance we looked into didn’t include showers, which seems a little bonkers to me. Some heating cover didn’t insure boilers that were over seven years old, which again doesn’t seem quite right considering many people have old boilers. We even found that many of the providers we looked at won’t repair any damage to decorations or surfaces caused by their engineers while accessing the problem!
Dealing with dreaded delays
People also had gripes with the delays the engineers had in reaching them. Many providers list a host of reasons for delays like bad weather, industrial disputes, public transport or unspecified ‘other problems’ that may prevent them from getting to customers quickly. For example, one 70-year-old pensioner told us:
‘I had to wait four days for an engineer. [The provider] said I needed to be aged 80 or over to get fast attention. I could be dead by then.’
Somebody else found that their policy didn’t include repairs at weekends, which could leave you in a seriously sticky situation if you’ve got a home emergency on your hands.
So I’m asking myself if home emergency cover and all its exclusions and limitations are worth £219 a year. You could, if you wanted, put aside some money each month into an ‘emergency fund’ and dip into it as needed. Did you read the small print when you got your home emergency cover, or are these exclusions a surprise to you?