Home emergency insurance is the latest to go under the microscope and come out with a less than rosy reputation due to a huge list of exceptions and exclusions that vary widely between companies.Many homeowners and landlords take out the policies to cover winter emergencies, like boiler and heating problems and burst pipes.
What they don’t realise is that in many cases, the cover is merely for a tradesman to come out and switch off the water or gas, leaving the homeowner to foot the bill for more permanent repairs.
Around a third of policies won’t pay out if the heating breaks down or the boiler gives out.
Choosing the right cover is a nightmare in a market with more than 300 policies offered by 163 providers, and firms deliberately make price and feature comparisons too difficult for customers, says independent financial firm Defaqto.
The result is many homeowners waste money on cover that will not pay out to fix their emergency.
Anna-Marie Duthie, insight support analyst at Defaqto, said: “In our opinion there are too many product options in existence, which are more likely to confuse rather than clarify what people need. This means that a consumer may be selecting a product without realising what their range of options are, or where their current cover sits in the market.”
Emergency cover often an extra on most home insurance policies, but homeowners can shop around for standalone cover.
“Although the cost of any insurance is always going to be an important factor, the features and benefits offered by a policy should always be the main consideration. In reality, someone will only ever find out how good their insurance policy is when they need to make a claim,” said Duthie.