Increase in complaints about home emergency insurance

There has been a big increase in the number of complaints about the sale of home emergency insurance. The Financial Ombudsman Service received nearly 1100 new complaints about the emergency cover in the nine months to the end of last year. The cover insures against such things as burst pipes and broken boilers.

Nearly 75 percent of these complaints ended with the ombudsman stating that the complainant should be compensated because of mis-selling or other wrong doings by the insurance provider. Martyn James, spokesman for the ombudsman, said that there had been a significant rise in such complaints over the last few years.

Because of this the ombudsman has made home emergency cover an important part of its complaints data for the first time. 72 percent of consumers received compensation in cases that the ombudsman investigated. Martyn said that complaints included signing up for a free period and then the policy being renewed automatically and the customer being charged.

One big case that occurred last year was when one of the biggest providers of emergency cover, Homecall, went bust and left householders to pay out for emergency problems themselves, despite them having paid out an average of £200 per year for emergency insurance.

Another common complaint was about the hard sell and sometimes aggressive sales tactics used to sell the products. And on top of this some experts say that the cover isn’t even worth having in some cases. Some household insurance policies include emergency cover and tenants should be protected by their landlords.

Also some policies cost as much as £350 so it is worthwhile for a householder to put that money aside just in case there is a problem, rather than fork out for expensive insurance. If a householder does decide to insure, they should always read the small print very carefully.