"The main reason for Home Emergency decline is the issue not being deemed an emergency, suggesting that some customers misunderstand what constitutes a ‘home emergency’."
The reality is, however, that the past eighteen months have catalysed some permanent changes to our lives – one of which is an important shift in our relationship with our homes.
Lockdowns forced us to make our home the site of activities that had previously been largely confined to the outside world, such as work, education, and socialising. By becoming increasingly reliant on our homes to help us buffer the strain and challenges of our daily lives, we have also started requiring much more from them in regards to comfort, design, and maintenance.
Towards the end of October, healthcare professionals urged the country to return to remote work to avoid stumbling into a winter of crisis. And with the damages the cooler months can cause to our properties – from unexpected burst pipes to boilers going on the blink – it is imperative that advisers support their customers in taking the appropriate measures to safeguard their finances and avoid major disruptions to not just their home lives but also their working lives.
Offering Home Emergency coverage as an add-on to home insurance can provide homeowners with peace of mind in the run up to a winter that most Britons will likely spend predominantly indoors.
And yet, Paymentshield’s 2021 claim data review indicates that the main reason for Home Emergency decline is the issue not being deemed an emergency, suggesting that some customers misunderstand what constitutes a ‘home emergency’.
What this information highlights is the need to better educate policyholders on the exact content of the Home Emergency add-on, and for advisers to regularly check their clients’ understanding of the product as well as its exclusions.
So how exactly does Home Emergency cover work?
Home Emergency covers customers for a range of events which have left their home unsecure, unsafe or uninhabitable and could cause permanent damage if not put right. Typical claims include boiler breakdowns, damage to plumbing and drainage systems, electrical failures, roof and exterior damages, and pest infestations.
The policy is also designed for “emergencies” such as a total failure of the homeowners’ heating system resulting in no heating or hot water. What wouldn’t be covered however would be a single radiator not working as this wouldn’t be classed as an emergency.
In these situations, the policy would ensure the prompt intervention of an accredited tradesperson to put things right.
Home Emergency usually covers the cost of labour plus parts and materials or alternative accommodation where needed, up to £1000 with no excess to pay, meaning that its main objective is covering the initial bill and providing immediate assistance.
Ensuring customers understand what these products are designed to do (and not do) is not only vital to ensure that unexpected emergencies don’t have a detrimental effect on people’s savings as we emerge from a rocky past eighteen months, but is also advantageous to advisers, who get to boost their incomes and gain a competitive edge.
For life, not just for Christmas
It is important to reflect on the significant changes that this year and a half has instigated. Knowing that we will possibly continue to rely on our homes as the places where we work, study, and socialise means it is crucial to take steps to properly protect them. As such, Home Emergency will be a key piece of protection that advisers can turn to in order to adapt to this shift in consumers’ mindset. Home Emergency is far more than just for the winter months, but must be now seen as a long-term investment.