Boiler and central heating cover can give you peace of mind if there are any problems with your home heating.
Boiler and central heating cover is designed to give you peace of mind that any problems with your home heating will be resolved as quickly as possible without the need for you to do a lot of leg work phoning local plumbers and heating engineers.
You either pay for the year upfront or monthly instalments by direct debit, to cover you for a variety of situations - things like your hot water supply failing or a part needing replacement. Sometimes, annual services are included too.
The cover you choose, and how much it costs, depends on how old your central heating system is. Older boilers tend to be less reliable than newer versions, and replacement parts might be difficult to get hold of. So, comprehensive cover might be the most cost-effective option for you.
If you have an old system, be extra wary of terms and conditions – there will be exclusions, and it's possible your provider won’t guarantee that they can fix your existing system.
Your provider will probably be keen to get you to buy a new boiler and/or central heating system too – usually through them. If you're tempted, make sure you do your own research. Only you can decide when it makes sense to change your system, and you should shop around for the right deal.
If your boiler or central heating system was recently replaced, it might still be under guarantee or warranty. If the guarantee has expired, but the heating system is still relatively new, you might be better off with a lower level of cover, because emergencies or breakdowns are less likely to happen.
Usually your boiler has to be regularly serviced to qualify for cover. Keep hold of all the servicing documents you have for your boiler. If you can’t prove it’s been serviced in the last year, any claims you make might be invalidated.
You’ll be asked how old your boiler is. If it’s over 15 years old, you won’t be able to get it covered. If it’s over 12 you might struggle, but there’ll still be some providers willing to cover you – expect cover to cost a lot more though.
If you don’t have cover for your boiler or central heating system, you’ll need to cover the cost yourself – and it can be costly.
Consider the age and condition of your boiler and other essential services, whether they're covered by guarantees, and how reliable you consider them to be.
Ultimately, the decision on whether to take out boiler cover is down to you. You’ll need to work out whether you can afford any emergencies or breakdowns yourself.
Taking out a policy may mean that you pay more overall. But it’s the peace of mind, and not having to stress about finding a decent heating technician on 24 hour call-out, that you’re paying for, as much as parts and labour.
If you’re a tenant, you don’t need it. It’s your landlord’s responsibility to keep the boiler and central heating safe and in good working order.
If you have home insurance, have a look at your policy documents. Some policies include boiler breakdown, and home heating insurance, although you might have to pay an extra excess for the cover.
The amount of cover you have will probably be lower than with a specific policy for your boiler, though. So if it’s not up to scratch, think about taking out boiler cover instead.
If you’ve already got boiler cover, most policies auto-renew and cost more in the second year and beyond. That’s because a lot of providers have introductory offers, so new customers get the best deal.
It’s worth shopping around, and looking for another provider every year, to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
Self-insuring is where you put a bit of money away every month instead of paying a premium to an insurer – just like building up a rainy-day fund.
If your boiler breaks down, and you need to pay a call-out charge or spend money on repairs, you’ll have the cash to hand.
It takes some self-control to save though, so it’s not for everyone. The commitment of a direct debit to a provider, for some, is easier to manage.
A good argument for cover over self-insuring is the access to emergency helplines and rapid call-outs for engineers. But it’s not impossible to build up this network for yourself.
If you are considering taking out specific boiler and central heating insurance, don’t assume that your own energy supplier will offer the cheapest cover. There are deals if you shop around and compare gas and electricity prices.