Don’t get hit by the emergency plumber premium

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

Call-out rates for plumbers more than double if you need someone urgently to fix an emergency leak

Plumbers charging an emergency call-out rate increase their usual hourly rate by an average of 117%, according to Direct Line Home Insurance.

Its latest research also revealed that 42% of plumbers have a minimum charge for a call out, which can be up to 500% higher than the quoted hourly rate, with some plumbers quoting up to £300+VAT an hour to tackle an emergency situation.

This is just the cost for the labour; householders would find their bill even higher when parts and materials are included. Escape of water requires a quick response, as a burst pipe can result in 30 gallons of water escaping in as little as two minutes.

Check costs

It is vital that householders, even in an emergency situation, check a plumbers’ pricing plan before booking them in for repairs. For example, almost half (48%) of plumbers increase their hourly rate for tackling problems during unsociable hours. If you call a plumber to tackle a problem with a sink, pipe or cistern outside office hours you may find yourself paying the plumber an average premium of 112% on their usual hourly rate.

Morgan Simpson, Direct Line home emergency response manager, said: “Escaping water can cause huge damage to a home and neighbouring properties extremely quickly. A burst pipe or leaking water tank can cause thousands of pounds of damage in a short space of time.

“Escape of water is the highest claimed peril by value that insurers cover, which gives an indication of the extent of damage it can cause. If you don’t have emergency cover with your insurer there is the temptation to call the first plumber you can find, but you may discover even if the hourly rate quoted is low they have an expensive minimum call out rate or emergency call out surcharge.”