If your boiler breaks down you could be left without hot water and heating, as well as facing a huge repair bill. We explain how boiler cover can help you pay for repairs without it costing the earth.
Boiler cover, also known as boiler care, is an insurance policy that can pay for the cost of repairing and servicing your heating system and boiler.
It means a gas-safety registered engineer will come out whenever your boiler breaks down, usually within 24 hours of you making the call. Your policy will cover the cost of the following:
The call-out fee
Repairs and replacement parts
There are three main types of gas and oil-fired boilers you can insure: conventional, condensing and combination boilers.
It’s worth noting that most boiler cover policies exclude boilers over a certain age (typically seven years), and you may find it harder to get cover for more obscure boiler models.
Repairing or replacing a faulty boiler can cost thousands of pounds, so having a good boiler insurance policy in place could save you facing a huge bill.
That said, you may not need a boiler policy if:
You rent your home. That’s because the boiler should be covered by your landlord. Make sure you check your rental agreement to be sure
You have boiler cover as part of your home insurance policy
You may only get very basic boiler cover under your home insurance policy, however. If this is the case, it may be worth looking for a standalone boiler insurance policy.
A boiler insurance policy can cover:
Boiler and controls: this covers the cost of repairs if your boiler breaks down, including the thermostat and programmer. Some will replace your boiler if it cannot be repaired, provided it is under seven years old.
Central heating: this covers the cost of repairs to your gas central heating system including radiators and the hot water cylinder.
Annual boiler service: this covers the cost of an annual visit from a registered Gas Safe engineer who will check that your boiler and central heating are in good working order.
The most basic policies only cover your boiler and controls, but many boiler cover companies offer policies that cover all three benefits.
It’s important to check the cover levels each insurer offers, as there may be restrictions. For example, some policies have a limit on repair costs, often up to £1,500, or they limit the number of call-outs to, say, two per year. Others offer unlimited cover and call-outs, but you’ll usually pay more for this type of cover.
Most policies give you access to an emergency helpline you can call at any time if your boiler breaks down.
A home emergency policy can cover your boiler, but it will also cover flood damage, blocked drains, electrics, pest infestations and more.
You can usually only use home emergency cover in a genuine emergency – for example, if your home is uninhabitable or at risk of further damage if repairs are not carried out. It can’t be used for general repairs or any situation where repairs are not urgently required. Cover limits can also be lower compared to standalone boiler cover.
This guide explains what cover you get from a home emergency policy.
As with most insurance policies, there are certain things that most boiler insurance policies will not cover, including:
General maintenance – for example, descaling central heating pipes or removing sludge
Non-gas appliances or dual-purpose boilers like AGAs or Rayburns
Faulty showers or taps
Any faults caused by someone other than your insurer's engineer repairing your boiler
Boilers over a certain age – for example, over 15 years old
Check the policy documents carefully before you buy cover because each insurer may set different exclusions.
The cost of your boiler insurance will depend on:
Age and make of your boiler
Size of your home
Amount of excess you choose to pay
If you have an old boiler it will cost more to insure, so it could be worth replacing your boiler with a newer model.
Some policies give you the option of waiving the excess you have to pay in the event of a claim. But be aware that if you choose not to pay an excess the cost of your cover will increase.
It is the amount you have to pay towards the cost of a claim, and it is typically set at around £60 for boiler insurance policies.
For example, if it costs £300 to fix your boiler, you may have to pay an excess of £60 and your insurer will cover the remaining £240.
Your energy supplier may offer you boiler cover when you sign up to an energy contract, but this won’t necessarily be the most competitive option. Make sure you compare all policies first to be sure you are getting the best deal.
When comparing policies, also check cover limits and exclusions, and shop around again at renewal.