Invasion of the Loft Snatchers

In the dead of night you hear scrabbles and scrapes above the ceiling or in the roof space. Or you're aware that there are a lot of wasps about and, to your alarm, realise they're populating the loft.

So what do you do if you are invaded? Or else you have a leaking pipe? What if the lights go out but there isn't a power cut? Or a storm whips off some of your roof tiles?

Millions of us – yes, millions – will suffer something of this sort during the year. And often it's the middle of the night or on a Sunday afternoon when you suddenly realise that you need help to overcome an emergency – and fast.

You could dive for the Yellow Pages or go online, but then spend ages trying to get hold of someone – never mind persuade them to come out immediately at an unsocial hour.

But help is at hand from what may seem an unlikely source – the AA. One of our new-product team's latest offerings is Home Emergency Response (HER).

Sophie Day, who was involved in the development of HER, points out that less than half of Britain's homes has any kind of emergency cover:* "It tends to be the kind of thing that's at the back of your mind until it's too late," she says. "We're already getting reports of wasp and mouse invasions – it seems that the little creatures are making up for the past hard winter. Sure, they need homes but it's not very pleasant when they decide to adopt yours."

The concept of HER is simple. For a very modest premium – just £4.99 per month for AA Members – you'll be rescued from domestic dramas such as burst pipes, lost keys or broken locks, blocked loos, failed electrics, and even the invasion of pests. And from £11.99 your central heating boiler can be covered too.

"We've built up a network of specialists up and down the country who are on 24-hour call. They are the experts in their particular field and when you say 'jump', they jump," says Sophie.

When your wasp invasion has been overcome, you might have a rather lovely souvenir. Have you ever seen wasp's nest? It is a delicate thing of quite extraordinary beauty – when it's empty of course.

Make a note of Home Emergency Response so that you can be prepared in a home emergency.


* Research by Datamonitor.