Do you really need boiler cover?
It’s a cold winter’s night, you’ve got no heating or hot water and you’re struggling to find a heating engineer to help. To many, boiler cover is deemed an unnecessary expense but when stuck in the situation above, it’s likely a necessity you’ll wish you’d paid for.
According to price comparison site uSwitch, one in five homes in the UK suffered a boiler breakdown between 2017 and 2018. With the average repair cost (not including call out fees) costing £245 and boiler replacement running into the thousands, we’d be inclined to say the answer to ‘do you really need boiler cover’ is a resounding yes.
But what if you’re one of the lucky ones? Or you’ve only just had a new boiler installed? Is boiler cover really an essential for you?
Here we’ll identify who needs to consider boiler insurance, the different types of boiler care plans available and the pros and cons, to help you decide whether boiler cover is a worthwhile expense for you.
Boiler cover – do I need to consider it?
We’ll start by saying not everyone needs boiler cover. Only people who own their house will need to consider taking out a boiler insurance policy. If you live in rented accommodation, your boiler and central heating cover is your landlord’s responsibility.
If you’re a homeowner, it’s worth checking to see if boiler breakdown cover is included in any home insurance or building insurance policies you already pay for. If it is covered, make sure it offers an adequate level of protection.
Recently had a new boiler installed? It’s unlikely you’ll need boiler cover just yet. Your boiler should be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Double-check just to be on the safe side and see how long the warranty is for.
What are the options for boiler insurance?
Boiler care plans vary from one company to the next, with options to suit all budgets. As a general rule, the more you pay, the more your policy will cover.
The cheapest policies tend to offer basic boiler breakdown cover. This will include repairs to your boiler and its controls. Sometimes providers include annual boiler servicing too.
More expensive policies will offer a more comprehensive home cover package. In addition to boiler insurance, they may also cover your wider heating system, home electrics and drainage.
Decide what kind of cover you need and what you can afford. On one hand, you don’t want to pay extra cover if you don’t think it’s essential. On the other hand, paying a little extra and covering more of your home utilities could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Choosing a boiler cover provider
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to take out boiler cover with your gas supplier. A wide range of companies offer boiler insurance, so it’s a good idea to shop around and see who can offer you the best boiler cover within your budget. Here are a few tips for choosing a boiler care provider…
Compare boiler cover online
We suggest that you compare boiler cover online. There are lots of comparison sites that will take a few details from you and then bring up the best quotes from a wide range of insurance providers. Essentially they make it easy to find cheap boiler cover and save you from having to spend time getting quotes from individual companies.
Some providers offer insured plans to look after your Boiler and Heating and other home services like plumbing, drains and electrics, whereas other providers offer non-insured plans. An insured plan will be underwritten by an insurer and also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Non-insured plans are not backed by an insurer and are not regulated by the FCA. Often non-insured or maintenance plans include an annual service of the equipment covered, whereas these may or may not be included in insured plans.
Hometree offers a range of non-insured maintenance "care" plans all of which include an annual service visit.
Read the small print
When taking out boiler insurance, always read through the policy – even the small print! As well as finding out what is covered, it should be clear what isn’t covered. For example, boiler breakdown cover may not include faults caused by someone else you used for repair work. If you’re unsure, ask questions about the boiler cover plan. You are entitled to know exactly what you’re paying for.
Check boiler breakdown cover limits and excess
It’s also important to check if the boiler cover provider limits how many claims you can make per year. Find out what excess you are required to pay on repairs too. All of this information should be available to you within the written policy.
Ask if your boiler qualifies
Consider that some policies will only cover boilers less than 15 years old. Older boilers don’t tend to meet the current standards, so insurance policies don’t like to cover them. If your boiler is old, you may be required to have it inspected before a company is willing to insure it.
Boiler cover – is it a necessary expense?
One of the benefits of having boiler breakdown cover is that if something goes wrong, you can simply get in touch with your insurance provider and they’ll sort out everything for you. You’ll be prioritised, in terms of getting a qualified heating engineer out to you quickly and you won’t have to worry about unexpected costs. Taking out boiler cover can stop you having to scrimp the next month or dip into savings to repair your system.
The only real downside of boiler insurance is that you may not need to use it. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you might not have any trouble with your boiler and it could feel like you’re paying for nothing. But you could always have that horrible feeling of what if something goes wrong? Taking out boiler cover may be essential to your peace of mind.
You also have to ask yourself, would it hurt you financially if you had to fork out hundreds or even thousands of pounds for a boiler repair or replacement? For the majority of people, the answer will be ‘yes,’ which is why we consider boiler cover a necessary expense.
Boiler cover is recommended but even if you don’t decide to take out a policy, it’s worth looking into a boiler service plan. Getting your boiler serviced annually is essential for keeping it running safely and efficiently. A one-off service can cost you around £60-£70. You may find it cheaper to take out an insurance plan with annual boiler servicing included, rather than paying the boiler service cost.