A Guide to Boiler Insurance
What You Need to Know
- Boilers older than 15 years are excluded from most cover plans.
- ‘Boiler only’ insurance is cheapest, however, it will not cover other elements of your heating system, such as pipes and radiators.
- Most insurance policies limit the number of call outs you’re entitled to per a year.
- Many insurance providers do not consider a lack of hot water as an emergency, and may only rush to fix problems during the winter.
- If your boiler was recently installed, check if it’s covered by a warranty. If it is, boiler insurance may be unnecessary.
- If you’re a tenant you do not need to worry about boiler insurance. It is the legal duty of your landlord to maintain the heating in the property.
- Insurance can sometimes be a false economy. Buying a new more reliable boiler with a warranty will lessen your need for insurance and, by being more efficient, may significantly reduce your energy bills.
It’s a nightmare situation. The nation is in the middle of a cold snap and your boiler packs in, leaving you huddled up on your sofa, shivering in your duvet, waiting for a repairman to come over. As if that weren’t bad enough, you could be facing some hefty expenses, especially as a new boiler costs in the region of £2,000.
Our guide to choosing boiler insurance will help you make the right choice when it comes to keeping your central heating ticking over and, whatever you decide on, whatever the effect on your personal finances.
How Old is Your Boiler?
The average boiler lasts for 12 years before becoming unusable. With this in mind, the age of your boiler will affect whether or not you can acquire insurance. Most cover plans exclude boilers older than 15 years. Boilers over 7 years old will normally have to be in inspected before a plan can be taken out.
You should also check the make of your boiler, as certain models are excluded from cover plans (normally those which are less common and harder to fix.)
Types of Insurance
There are various different types of cover you can take out. The cheapest is ‘boiler only’ cover, which will only cover problems with your boiler but none of the other elements of your heating system. This costs about £8 a month.
Alternatively, You can get a full cover plan, which will also apply to your central heating system and cover your annual boiler check for about £20 a month.
Top level boiler insurance will cost about £26 a month and often includes plumbing, electrics, security emergencies, relevant roof damage and even problems caused by pests!
It’s a good idea to check out the sites of top providers such as The AA to compare the deals that are on offer.
Limits to Your Cover
You should be aware that most plans do not offer unlimited call outs, sometimes limiting the number to just two a year, or capping the amount of repair work offered to no more than a £1,000 worth.
Therefore, if you think your boiler may suffer a lot of problems, perhaps due to being old, insurance may be a false economy, especially as a new, more efficient boiler that uses less of your gas supply could save you about £200 a year in energy bills!
Emergencies and Making Claims
If you are paying for emergency call outs as part of your plan, it’s worth knowing before hand exactly what your insurance provider considers an emergency. For example, many do not think that a lack of hot water constitutes an emergency and others will only rush to fix your boiler if it breaks in the cold months.
It’s also a good idea to ensure your provider has a 24 hour emergency line, in case your boiler is inconsiderate enough to break down outside of office hours!
You also need to consider the ‘no claims period’ which is a clause in most policies, normally stipulating that you can’t make a claim during the first month of the plan. Obviously, this is designed to stop people taking out insurance on an already broken boiler, but you need to bear in mind that it means you won’t be covered for that time.
Do the Maths
Some energy providers have a set call out fee of under £200 pounds, which will allow you to get your boiler fixed nice and quickly should it go wrong. Given that, on many plans, you’d pay more than this a year for insurance, it may not be worth the price, especially if your boiler is a new more reliable model.
However, despite being more expensive, insurance may still be kinder on your finances, as it spreads the cost of repairs over the year, meaning you won’t suddenly be left in a tight spot should the worst happen.
Bear in mind that if you are a tenant the duty of maintaining the central heating falls to your landlord. Having the boiler insured or otherwise fixed is solely their responsibility.
Remember that if your boiler was recently installed it may be covered by a warranty. In this case boiler insurance would be pointless.
Always make sure you compare suppliers to find the best available deal. You should be aware that by no means are you obliged to get insurance from the same people who supply your gas.
- Find out how a new boiler could cut your energy costs.
- The Energy Saving Trust have lots of useful advice on boilers and other heating and energy equipment.