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How To Choose The Best Home Emergency Provider For Your Rental Property In 2023

as a landlord, it is your legal obligation to take care of necessary repairs. However, you should also be aware that tenants can become dissatisfied with your response to repair needs if they are not satisfied. A survey by Rental Market in 2020 found that as many as 25% of tenants were either “definitely not happy” or “not really happy” with their landlords’ responses to the need for repairs- and unhappy tenants are unlikely to make long-term reliable or especially responsible tenants.

Landlord Emergency Assistance Insurance

If the way you handle routine repairs is vital to a good relationship with your tenants, imagine how much more important it will be in an emergency situation. When a tenant phones you at 3 AM to report water streaming out of a burst pipe or no heat from their central heating boiler, what do you do? There are two possible scenarios:

01. You rush over and try to fix the problem yourself without properly assessing the damage or checking for other issues that may have led up to the issue. This could lead to further problems down the line as you fail to address underlying causes.

02. You call someone else who can provide proper repair services while also addressing any potential safety risks involved such as gas leaks or flooding

So you can either put on your clothes in the middle of the night and rush over to the property, or from the comfort of your own bed you can simply call your insurance provider and let them handle the issue swiftly and safely.

What Is Home Emergency Cover

Home emergency cover is a type of insurance that covers the cost of calling in an expert to resolve a sudden issue, such as your boiler breaking down or water pipes bursting. This coverage can be purchased separately from standard home insurance policies.

If a valid claim is filed with the insurer, an approved engineer or contractor will be sent to your home as soon as possible to find and fix the problem. In addition, up to a maximum cost of money (labour costs, parts and materials), accommodation for you and any accompanying family members (overnight stay) may also be covered.

A “call-out” insurance policy is different from a standard home insurance policy in that it covers the cost of emergency repairs, rather than replacing items or covering damages caused by an incident. If your rented property were to experience a flooding incident, emergency cover would activate and provide you with temporary relief from the broken pipes etc. If further repairs are needed after the emergency fix (such as replacing ruined furniture or flooring), then coverage for such an event would be included in your standard homeowner insurance policy.

What Does Emergency Cover Include?

When you contact your home emergency cover provider to submit a claim, they will send out an engineer or electrician, covering the cost of their work. It’s worth remembering however that standalone insurance in general offers broader protection than the home emergency cover included with home insurance policies, and prices can vary significantly too.

However, most policies will cover the necessary repairs for at least some of the following:

  • Boiler breakdown
  • Central heating failure
  • Loss of hot water
  • Plumbing problems
  • Burst pipes
  • Blocked drains
  • Electrical failure
  • Roof damage caused by extreme weather
  • Security issues such as broken doors and windows
  • Lost keys
  • Pest infections

What Does Emergency Cover Not Include

Home emergency policies limit the cost of repair and labour, or specify a certain number of call-outs per year. Depending on your policy, you may also be required to pay a fee for each claim.

Other common exclusions include:

  • Claims made during the first 14 days (or more) of taking out a policy
  • Issues resulting from sludge in the boiler, pipe work, or radiators
  • Emergencies arising after a property has been left unoccupied for 30 days or more
  • Repairs to boilers not serviced in the past 12 months
  • Other issues caused by poor maintenance or wear and tear

If you opt for a standalone policy, it can offer increased coverage compared to an add-on to your home insurance. However, this likely means a higher cost. Be sure to review the fine details of each policy before you buy; what is covered and the maximum limits for any claim may differ.

What Is Considered ‘An Emergency’?

An emergency is a sudden and unforeseen incident that needs to be fixed as soon as possible because:

  • You’ve lost essential services, such as mains drainage, heating, lighting, or water
  • Your property has become permanently damaged, dangerous or uninhabitable
  • Your health and wellbeing could be at risk

It’s important to remember that your insurer may not consider the same things an emergency as you do. For instance, if you have two toilets that are both operating normally, a clogged one would not be classed as urgent. If, however, your heating system fails then this would definitely count as a plumbing emergency. Conversely, leaking fixtures or having lowered water pressure can be troublesome but they don’t meet the criteria for an emergency call-out.

It’s important to remember that home emergency cover only pays for call-out charges, labour and essential repair parts. You won’t be covered for any damage to your property or possessions – in this case, you would need buildings insurance or contents insurance.

Is It Worth It?

Although it’s not mandatory, home emergency cover may provide solace that you are shielded from sudden expenses that can be taxing to fix both in time and financial outlay. Tenants don’t need to take out this cover as the landlord is responsible for handling any emergencies and getting the necessary insurance.

If you’re a landlord, having access to an extensive pool of tradespeople is highly useful. But if you’re the proprietor of multiple properties, then emergency cover may go a long way towards relieving financial stress and keeping your tenants safe when something goes awry, particularly in situations where immediate on-site attention is required.

Choosing The Best Home Emergency Provider

Find Reviewed & Approved Rental Market Providers, Suppliers & Services, including reviews for all major Home Emergency Providers right here on RentalMarket.org – the biggest forum for rental market reviews in the UK.

How To Prevent An Emergency

Avoiding home emergencies is a great way to save money in the long run. Regular maintenance and servicing of your appliances and electronics will decrease the likelihood of malfunction or breakdown.

Although not mandatory, home emergency cover affords landlords and homeowners alike a sense of assurance. It also ensures swift resolution, reducing the amount of disruption experienced by any parties involved.