New research has shown that many homes may not have adequate insurance policies to cover emergencies during the winter months. Emergencies not covered can even include burst pipes and or the boiler breaking down.
That’s pretty scary when you consider that these are common problems in the colder months of the year.
How does your insurance stack up? According to Defaqto, a financial rating service, almost three in four homes’ insurance coverage, including home building and contents policies, don’t include protection for home emergencies as a standard. Wow.
As a result, Defaqto is urging all households to review their home insurance policies to see if they’re protected, so they won’t have to worry about not having enough coverage on their homes this winter.
Does Your Home Insurance Protect Against Everything?
Defaqto found that of 390 home contents insurance policies offered on the market, only about 20% include coverage for home emergencies. They found the same with buildings insurance (which protects your property’s structure). Only about ¼ of the 271 policies available on the market offered home emergency protection as standard.
With this being the case, it’s an excellent time to check your home insurance policies to see if they offer emergency coverage or not.
What is Home Emergency Coverage?
Home emergency coverage is insurance that’s supposed to protect you from various types of emergencies that could suddenly affect your home, requiring that you take immediate action.
These policies generally protect you against the following, though some plans may not cover each and every emergency on this list:
- Loss of hot water
- Burst pipes
- Plumbing issues
- Blocked drains
- Central heating breakdown
- Boiler breakdown
- Security issues (like windows and doors that are broken)
- Lost keys
- Pest infestations
- Electrical failure
- Roof damage caused by extreme weather
Some home insurance policies pay for emergency accommodations if you’re not able to live in your home while it’s being repaired. Various policies also pay for home repairs that have been caused by one or more of the emergencies listed above.
This type of coverage is not cheap; in fact, adding a home emergency protection to your home insurance coverage could have the unwanted effect of raising your annual premium by about £30.
What About Boiler Breakdown Insurance—Is it Worth the Cost?
That’s a difficult question to answer, unless you know some details about what’s included or not in the coverage. For instance, of 52 boiler breakdown insurance policies on the market, only 11 of them cover the cost of replacing your boiler, according to the Defaqto survey.
The survey also found that a majority of insurance providers, around 28, offer £500 toward the cost of a new boiler. However, in most cases, this is not enough to cover the cost of replacing your boiler if it breaks.
Also, with these types of policies, you’ll have to watch out for exclusions that could cause you a major headache. Some policies will not cover your boiler because of how old it is, or its power output, etc.
Home emergency policies tend to be more comprehensive and cover a wider range of issues that could severely damage your home.
Protect Your Home This Winter
Along with checking what your home insurance policy does and does not cover, there are some things you can do to protect your home this winter. Let’s take a look:
1). Check your pipes: in preparation for the coldest temperatures this winter, it’s a good idea to disconnect and drain any hoses, your sprinkler system and other water features. This will keep water from sitting inside pipes and freezing, which could lead to your home flooding and other types of damage to your property.
2). Get insulation: do you have exposed pipes that could freeze inside or outside your home? Now’s the time to check. Look in the attic, the loft, in the cellar, kitchen and remember to check outside, too. Make sure all pipes are properly insulated to avoid freezing and bursting. Another option is to apply heating tape to keep pipes from freezing.
3). Check the thermostat: keep your thermostat set to the minimum required temperature as specified by your home insurance coverage during winter cold. If you fail to do this, then any damage to your home from burst pipes, etc. could end up with your claim rejected by the insurance provider.
4). Locate your stopcock: this is a valve that controls the flow of water coming into your home. In the event of a burst pipe, knowing where the valve is will help you get the water turned off as soon as possible, preventing a flood in your home. The stopcock is usually found under the sink. Find it and remember where it is so you can shut if off quickly in the event of an emergency.
5). Home insurance details—have them ready: make sure you know the insurance company’s contact details and have them ready in case of an emergency in your home. Many insurance providers have emergency helplines. Gather all the contact details and keep them where you can get to them in a hurry, in order to alert your insurance provider of any emergency involving your home.
Find the Best Home Insurance Policy
Just how should you go about finding the right home insurance policy? If this is your first home insurance policy, or your policy is up and it’s time to renew, these tips will help you find the best deal on a home insurance policy that fits your budget and circumstances.
First, you’ll need to have an idea of how much your insurance will cost. To determine this, use a valuation calculator, which will help you calculate how much protection you’ll need for your belongings. Be sure to accurately calculate the value of your possessions in order to have the right amount of insurance protection, rather than too little if you happen to undervalue.
Next, you’re ready to use a price comparison website. These sites provide a fast, easy way to compare quotes from many insurance providers and find the best deal on your home insurance policy. These sites can help you find the right policy at the right price, saving you a lot of money by finding the best policy for your budget and circumstances.
Remember, cheap doesn’t mean the policy is good. So, don’t just automatically jump at the lowest price you find. Instead, read through the policies, along with their terms and conditions. This way, you’ll find the right coverage at the right price. You want to make sure you have the right amount of protection to cover your home and belongings.
When reading through the entire terms and conditions, watch for anything that’s excluded. And make sure you understand what the policy is saying. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call the company and talk to an agent for more information on the policy. You want to make sure to completely understand what the home insurance policy covers, etc.
Remember, once you’ve signed on the dotted line, the agreement is final. You won’t be able to make changes until it’s time to renew the policy. That means, if there are exclusions you didn’t read and/or understand before signing, it’s too late. Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions before signing the contract.
We hope these tips will help keep your home warm and protected from issues and emergencies this winter. And we hope that our tips on finding the right policy will guide you to the best home insurance policy—one that covers everything possible to fit your circumstances.