Written by: Cally Worden
Taking out cover for your boiler may feel like a good move. Especially if your family situation means a lack of heating or hot water would result in significant suffering. But optional insurances such as this are a drain on the monthly finances. Are they really worth it?
What is Boiler Cover?
Boiler cover demands an annual or monthly payment in return for priority access to heating engineers should your boiler break down. Most policies cover the full cost of your boiler repair, including call-out, parts and labour. You can usually opt to cover just the boiler itself, or to upgrade and include your entire heating system, including your hot water. Cover also usually includes an annual service for your appliance. Boiler cover is offered by several different organisations, the most well known being British Gas.
Who has it?
Surveys are sketchy, but general stats suggest that around 35% of households pay out for Boiler cover. And some 20% of homes experience a heating breakdown each year. It is unclear how many of these 20% actually had cover.
What does it Cost?
Costs depend on the type and extent of your cover, but basic boiler cover can be found from as little as ¬£10 per month. Prices usually take into consideration the size of your home, the type of heating you have, the age, make and style of your boiler.
Check your Home Insurance
House insurance policies can include Home Emergency Cover. If yours does then it’s worth checking with your insurer whether that covers your boiler. If it does, you may not need additional boiler cover at all. Do bear in mind, however, that the word ‘Emergency’ may mean cover is not always provided – if your boiler failed on a warm summer’s day for example, your ‘Emergency’ cover would be unlikely to pay up.
Things to Look-out For
The elements of boiler cover are broadly the same for most providers. There are however, some key variations you need to be mindful of if you elect to take out a policy:
- Value of the excess¬† – the amount you have to contribute to the repair costs
- An upper financial limit – some cover providers will place a cap on the total bill, leaving you to find the rest
- Maximum call-out volume – you may be limited to a defined number of call-outs each year, beyond which you have to start paying
- Exclusions – such as damage caused by lime scale build-up, for example
- Helpline availability – is cover provided 24/7/365?
- Expected waiting times
- Is there an initial ‘No Claims’ period?
- Any extra charges not detailed in the contract
When deciding if boiler cover is for you, do consider the age and relative reliability of your system. If you decide your risk is low you may decide to save a small amount of money each month yourself, to cover boiler maintenance and repairs instead. Boiler cover can be valuable; it is especially suitable for anyone with an old system and for those who would struggle to find a lump sum in the event of a big repair bill.