Boiler cover and central heating insurance

Compare boiler and central heating cover to protect your home from breakdowns

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What does boiler insurance cover?

Boiler and central heating insurance covers the cost of calling out an engineer to fix your boiler or heating system if it breaks down.

Most policies cover the call out charge, labour and cost of parts for boiler and central heating repairs.

Some policies will also include an annual service for your boiler in the cost of the plan.

You can either pay for the whole year upfront or by monthly direct debit instalments.

You’ll be covered for a variety of situations, like your hot water supply cutting out or your boiler failing to switch on.

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Do I need boiler cover?

Consider the age and condition of your boiler and heating system, whether they're covered by guarantees, and how reliable you think they are.

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 expensive.

If your boiler or central heating 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.

Taking out an insurance policy can mean that you pay more overall. But you’re paying for the peace of mind of not having to find a decent heating technician on 24 hour call-out, not just 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.

Boiler cover exclusions

A policy can provide peace of mind that you won't be left for long without heating or hot water. Check any exclusions listed on your policy though. They’ll vary between providers.

Typical exclusions are:

Time spent on repairs

Some policies will only cover the cost of labour for a certain number of hours. So if the repair is going to take a while, you might have to pick up the bill for part of the call-out time.

Number of callouts or maximum claim cost per year

Most policies have a limit on how many times you can call out an engineer per year. For example you might only be able to make two or three call-out claims a year.

There might also be a limit on how much an insurer will pay out per claim, for example £1,000 for each call-out and repair.

Regular servicing

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.

Boiler age

You’ll be asked how old your boiler is. If it’s older than 15 years, 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.

Older boilers tend to be less reliable and replacement parts might be difficult to get hold of.

If you have an old system, pay close attention to terms and conditions – there’ll be exclusions, and it's possible your provider won’t guarantee that they can fix your existing system.

Is boiler and central heating cover included with home insurance?

If you have home insurance, have a look at your policy documents.

Some policies include home emergency cover, which might extend to boiler breakdown and heating problems. It’s sometimes sold as an optional extra for an additional premium.

Be aware as well that the excess for your home emergency cover might be different to your home insurance excess.

Home emergency cover might not include as much as boiler-specific insurance. It probably won’t include an annual service, for example.

If it’s not got everything included that you need, think about taking out boiler cover instead.

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Things to consider when getting boiler cover

1. Your provider might insist on a new boiler

Boiler insurance usually only covers newer boilers. If yours is too old, a boiler insurer might try to sell you a new boiler installation.

If you're tempted, make sure you do your own research. It’s a major investment into lower future bills – so shop around to find the right deal for you.

2. Watch out for renewals

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.

3. Self-insuring could be an alternative to boiler cover

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’re 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.

4. There may be a no-claim period or an excess to pay

You’ll usually have to wait a while before you can claim on your boiler cover – usually between one to a few weeks. This is to deter people from taking out boiler cover after a fault or breakdown has already been discovered.

You might also have to pay an excess each time you make a claim – in other words you’ll be expected to contribute a certain amount towards the cost of the callout or repair. So if, for example, the total cost of repairing your boiler came to £200, you might be expected to pay £50 while your insurer would cover the remaining £150.