Home emergencies and how to tackle them

When you’re faced with a household horror, things can snowball pretty quickly. Not only are you faced with an invariably nasty problem, it always seems to happen in the evening or at the weekend. What can you do? And, if you don’t have a regular plumber, electrician or roofer, who do you choose to call?

It’s quite daunting deciding which of the many traders and companies to contact and wondering how long you’ll have to wait – not a pleasant thought when there’s water pouring through your ceiling or a drain refusing to clear! That’s why knowing a reliable and trusted trader or having a home emergency service as a separate policy, or one added to your home insurance, can be invaluable. In fact, over 200,000 of Saga’s home insurance customers have the backup of Saga Home Emergency added to their policy.

With a home assistance service, there’s simply one number to call, no matter whether you need a plumber, electrician, locksmith, glazier or someone to whisk away a wasps’ nest. There’s a professional workforce on standby, and the right person can be on their way to you 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

Quick action can make a difference

Services such as Saga Home Emergency are for urgent problems that need immediate attention to stop things getting worse, rather than general repairs. Sometimes anything you can do to minimise damage before help arrives can be useful. Water can be the cause of a lot of trouble, so make sure your stopcock is as easy as possible to get to – and that you can remember where it actually is! It’s always a good idea to know where the little hatch is for the water mains going to your property from the road or path as there is an outside mains stopcock too. This may need a special ‘key’ (often just a long T-bar) to turn the tap so you don’t end up lying flat on the ground up to your armpit doing it by hand!

Be winter-ready

Weather can be the cause of many a domestic disaster – wind, rain and frost can all make their mark. Winter brings all three of these, so making sure your home is ready for the season ahead is one of the best things you can do. The standard advice you’ll no doubt have heard still holds today – make sure your pipes are insulated, keep your heating at a minimum of 15C even if you are away to prevent freezing and turn off the water supply to any outside taps and leave them on so they are not full of water and freeze. And don’t ignore any leaves, twigs or moss building up around outside drains – they suddenly seem to form a plug that traps further debris, creating a very effective dam at the next downpour!

Here are our top three home emergency tips…

TOP TIP 1

If your plumbing is fairly modern, you may have isolating valves leading to cisterns and taps that need to be turned off with a flat-head screwdriver. If so, get a few spare screwdrivers from a pound shop and hang them from the pipe, in a boiler cupboard or under the sink so you can swiftly make a temporary fix.

TOP TIP 2

If you’ve got home emergency cover, do you know where the telephone helpline number is? Put the number in your mobile phone contacts or landline menu so you can ring it at the touch of a button. Otherwise, pop a Post-It in the front of your address book or write the number on some masking tape and stick to the inside of meter cupboard doors, by the stopcock, on your toolbox and, if it’s part of your cover plan, on the boiler.

TOP TIP 3 

The slow drain on a flushed loo can result in rising dread! Before you do anything else that could make it overflow or make things worse, go and grab some washing-up liquid. The magical qualities of washing-up liquid can loosen sticky hinges, and the same properties can get things moving freely through the pipes. Put a good squirt down the loo and top up with hot water. Leave it for 20-30 minutes. If the water level’s gone down but not returned to normal, top it up with some more hot water. This should sort out most minor inconveniences.

Saga Home Emergency – swift rescue from domestic disasters

With Saga Home Emergency, we don’t just get an expert to you any time of the day or night. The call-out charge, parts and labour are covered up to £2,000 for each emergency – and you get unlimited call outs too. It’s easy to add Saga Home Emergency to your existing Saga Home Insurance, even if you’re midway through your policy year. Just call us on 0800 068 3410.

If you’re interested in getting Saga Home Insurance and want to add Saga Home Emergency too, you’ll be pleased to know you can get 15% cashback at the moment with our exclusive offer for current Saga insurance customers. Find out more.

Saga Home Emergency is underwritten by Inter Partner Assist.

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