Boiler Cover Explained: How It Works and Is It Worth It
Boiler cover is a type of service agreement that guarantees repairs to a homeowner’s or landlord’s boiler or other home systems in exchange for premiums. Boiler cover is a worthy investment if you value peace of mind and prefer not to worry about coordinating and paying for repairs when your boiler malfunctions.
Home boiler cover works by giving homeowners access to an emergency helpline through which they’re able to arrange repairs for a faulty boiler or other home system. The homeowner pays either monthly or annual premiums in exchange for the home boiler cover service. The premiums are higher if the homeowner wishes to pay little or no excess fee, which is a one-time fee charged for every callout. Conversely, premiums are lower when homeowners elect to pay a higher excess fee for every repair claim.
Landlord boiler cover works much like cover for homeowners, but includes a gas safety inspection and certificate (mandatory for UK landlords) on top of the regular homeowner coverage.
Boiler cover types range from basic to comprehensive. Basic boiler cover plans typically include emergency repairs for the boiler and its controls. Meanwhile, comprehensive plans cover the boiler, its controls, as well as the heating, plumbing, electrics, and security systems.
Most boiler cover policies have an extensive list of exclusions. The items boiler cover policies exclude vary between service providers. However, the following 18 exclusions are common among the majority of home care companies.
- Rare and obsolete boiler models
- Limescale and sludge damage
- Repairs to boilers deemed Beyond Economic Repair (BER)
- Pre-existing faults
- Claims shortly after signing up
- Faults reported late
- Trace and access
- Damage in improperly installed systems
- Damage caused by severe weather
- Faults that occur while the residence is not occupied
- Faults that are covered by a home insurance policy
- Troubleshooting per user manual
- Non-gas systems
- Accidental damage
- Showers and shower pumps
- System upgrades
- Repairs exceeding a certain value
Boilers typically eligible for cover must typically be powered by natural gas, be under 15 years of age, and be manufactured by well-known, reputable manufacturers. Most boiler cover policies do not protect boilers that run on oil or electricity. Likewise, obsolete models and boilers produced by little-known brands are seldom covered.
Whether you need boiler cover is an individual decision. Investing in boiler cover may be worth it for some people, but not for others. Factors such as existing home insurance, home ownership status, your boiler’s age, and the value you place on having peace of mind play a role in establishing whether you need boiler cover.
The best boiler cover policies are from WarmZilla, YourRepair, and 24|7 Home Rescue. The three aforementioned companies offer boiler cover packages with affordable premiums, high percentage of first-time repairs, and excellent value for money.
Finding the best cover plan for your home involves the three steps below.
- Determine the extent of coverage needed
- Establish your budget
- Analyse different boiler cover plans
In our guide below, you will learn what boiler cover is, how it works, what it costs, whether it’s worth getting, and where to find the best boiler cover policy for your property.
What is boiler cover?
Boiler cover is a type of insurance policy that protects a home’s boiler and other critical home systems. Boiler cover differs from traditional home insurance because it facilitates repairs rather than simply covering the costs stemming from repairing a malfunctioning system. Boiler cover policies guarantee emergency repairs to boilers, radiators, plumbing, drains, and electrical systems, depending on the package you choose. The vast majority of boiler cover packages include free annual boiler service and a gas safety inspection if you’re a landlord.
How does boiler cover work?
Boiler cover works by guaranteeing emergency repairs to a home’s boiler, heating system, and other essential building systems in exchange for monthly or annual premiums. A boiler cover policy (officially called a “home care service agreement” or “home care plan”) is a contractual agreement between a company that provides plumbing and heating engineering solutions and a homeowner or landlord. As a cover provider’s customer, you agree to pay a set amount each month, and in return, the service provider guarantees to repair your boiler and heating system if something goes wrong. You have access to an emergency helpline that’s usually available 24/7. You’re able to ring the helpline when a covered system malfunctions, and the company sends a qualified engineer to fix the issue at the earliest available opportunity. Most boiler cover providers try to dispatch repair technicians within 24 hours of a homeowner or landlord’s claim. You may have to pay an excess fee (also known as a “callout fee”) every time a technician is dispatched to perform repairs under the cover policy. You’re able to select your excess fee amount when you sign the home care service agreement. Lower (or £0) excess fees mean higher monthly premiums, and vice versa.
Home care service agreements usually last for at least one year, although some providers offer monthly rolling agreements.
How does home boiler cover work?
Home boiler cover works by guaranteeing a homeowner expedient repairs to any systems covered under the policy in exchange for monthly or annual premiums. The most basic home boiler cover includes protection for the boiler, its controls, and any thermostats or timers. In addition, some policies may provide coverage for radiators, pipes, and hot water cylinders. The most comprehensive home cover policies include emergency repairs for a home’s plumbing, drainage, and electric systems, as well as home security and pest control. The best boiler cover policies for homeowners include annual boiler service, which is a requirement for most manufacturer warranties to remain valid.
How does landlord boiler cover work?
Landlord boiler cover works by giving landlords access to emergency repairs to their boilers and other home systems, along with a gas safety check and certificate, in exchange for monthly or annual premiums. Having a valid gas safety certificate is a legal requirement for landlords in the UK, so a landlord boiler cover policy helps owners of rental buildings meet this obligation.
What types of boiler cover are there?
There are four types of boiler cover, which range from basic to comprehensive. The following is a list of the four typical boiler cover options.
- Basic boiler cover: A basic boiler cover policy ensures emergency repairs to a boiler and its controls.
- Boiler and heating cover: Boiler and heating cover protects the boiler, its controls, central heating pipework, and radiators.
- Boiler, heating, plumbing, and electrics cover: This type of boiler cover guarantees repairs for the boiler, central heating system, as well as plumbing, drainage, and electrics.
- Comprehensive home cover: Comprehensive home cover policies typically protect the heating, plumbing, drainage, and electric systems, and include pest control and home security.
Below is a thorough analysis of the four types of boiler cover.
Basic boiler cover
Basic boiler cover offers protection for repairs in case a boiler or its controls break down. Some (but not all) cover providers include annual boiler service in their basic boiler cover bundles. However, basic boiler cover excludes coverage for central heating and any other home systems.
Boiler and heating cover
Boiler and heating cover offers a more extensive level of protection by covering both the boiler and the central heating system. This type of policy covers repairs and maintenance of the boiler, its controls, radiators, pipes, hot water cylinder, and other elements of the heating system. However, boiler and heating cover does not protect any other home systems, such as plumbing or electrics.
Boiler, heating, plumbing, and electrics cover
Boiler, heating, plumbing, and electrics cover protects the home’s most essential systems, including heating, plumbing, drains, and electrics in case of failure. Such cover policies typically protect against leaks, blocked drains, faulty sockets, and other electrical or plumbing issues. This type of cover is designed for homeowners and landlords who want to have all their home’s essential systems protected in case of breakdown or repairs.
Comprehensive home cover
Comprehensive home cover is the most inclusive type of boiler cover, offering protection for the boiler, heating, plumbing, electrics, as well as security and pest control. This all-in-one cover policy aims to provide homeowners and landlords with complete peace of mind should any unexpected breakdowns or issues arise with their home systems.
What does boiler cover exclude?
Below is a list of the 18 items boiler cover typically excludes.
- Rare and obsolete boiler models: Boiler models that are not widely used, or those that are known to break down often, are typically excluded from coverage.
- Limescale and sludge damage: Limescale and sludge damage is so common that boiler cover companies generally exclude it from their cover policies.
- Repairs to boilers deemed Beyond Economic Repair (BER): Boiler cover providers do not attempt fixes to boilers that are deemed beyond economic repair. However, some cover service providers replace or assist with the cost of boiler replacement.
- Pre-existing faults: Boiler cover policies do not provide repairs for faults that occurred before the home service agreement is signed.
- Claims shortly after signing up: Most cover service providers have a waiting period of 14 days before a customer is able to make a claim under the policy. This exclusion is meant to stop people from taking out a boiler cover policy to deal with an existing fault.
- Faults reported late: Issues reported more than 24 hours after being observed are typically not eligible for repairs under most boiler cover policies.
- Trace and access: Boiler cover companies do not cover the labour and equipment involved in finding a fault.
- Damage in improperly installed systems: Systems not installed according to manufacturer’s instructions are not eligible for cover.
- Damage caused by severe weather: Faults stemming from severe weather events (such as frozen pipes) is typically excluded from boiler cover policies.
- Faults that occur while the residence is not occupied: The majority of boiler cover plans exclude damage that occurs when the property is unoccupied for over 30 days.
- Faults that are covered by a home insurance policy: Home insurance policies cover certain issues with the boiler and heating system, and these items are typically excluded from boiler cover policies. It’s a good practice to become familiar with your home insurance inclusions before you sign up for a boiler cover policy.
- Troubleshooting per user manual: Issues that users are able to troubleshoot themselves by following the user manual are not eligible for repairs by the boiler cover company.
- Non-gas systems: The vast majority of boiler cover providers excludes boilers that do not operate on natural gas.
- Accidental damage: Some (not all) boiler cover companies exclude accidental damage to the systems covered by a home service agreement.
- Showers and shower pumps: Even those boiler cover plans that include plumbing coverage typically exclude showers and shower pumps.
- System upgrades: Boiler cover policies do not facilitate, or pay for, upgrades to any of the systems covered under the agreement.
- Repairs exceeding a certain value: Some boiler cover providers limit the value of repairs they perform during a callout to a specific amount. This limit differs between service providers, so be sure to read the fine print before you commit to a service agreement.
The list above contains items that most boiler cover policies exclude. However, some companies’ exclusions may differ from others. It’s good practice to familiarise yourself with your chosen policy’s exclusions before you sign the service agreement.
What boilers can I get cover for?
You can get boiler cover for combi, system, and regular boilers that meet the three criteria below.
- Powered by natural gas: Only gas boilers are typically eligible for boiler cover.
- Less than 15 years old: Most providers do not cover boilers that are 15 years or older.
- Model not unreliable/obsolete: Certain models and manufacturers are not eligible for boiler cover. The list of excluded manufacturers may differ between boiler cover companies.
Note that some boiler cover service providers may have additional restrictions on top of the three listed above.
Do I need boiler cover?
Whether you need boiler cover depends on the four broad factors below.
- Your home insurance policy: Some home insurance policies cover the boiler and heating system. You do not need a separate boiler cover policy if your boiler is protected by your home insurance.
- Whether you rent or own your home: You don’t need boiler cover if you live in a rental residence, as the boiler belongs to your landlord and it’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that it’s in good working order. However, you may need boiler cover if you own your home and value having peace of mind. Getting boiler cover is a wise idea if you’re a landlord, as you have a legal obligation to ensure that your tenants’ heating and hot water systems are operational.
- Your boiler’s age: Getting cover for a boiler that’s under 3 years of age is unnecessary, as it’s likely protected by a manufacturer’s warranty and is still new enough to not develop faults. Conversely, it makes more financial sense to replace a boiler that’s over 10 years old instead of getting it covered. Old boilers are generally less efficient, and upgrading to a new, energy-efficient boiler offers an opportunity to save money on your fuel bills.
- How much you value peace of mind: Boiler cover is seldom a cost-effective solution, with the cost of annual premiums typically surpassing any boiler repair costs. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and getting boiler cover ensures your peace of mind if you don’t like the idea of facing sudden, expensive repair bills.
What is the best boiler cover?
What the best boiler cover is depends on your individual preferences. However, the following three boiler cover providers offer some of the best-value boiler cover packages on the UK market.
- WarmZilla: WarmZilla offer some of the least expensive £0-excess boiler cover plans, all of which include annual boiler service.
- YourRepair: YourRepair has an impressive 95% first-repair success rate, so chances are that your busted boiler won’t be out of service for too long if you’re with YourRepair.
- 24|7 Home Rescue: 24|7 Home Rescue generally have substantial discounts on their boiler cover plans. The company’s most comprehensive home cover policy is one of the cheapest on the market.
How to find a suitable boiler cover plan?
Follow the three steps below to find a suitable boiler cover plan.
- Determine the extent of coverage needed: Gauge the extent of coverage you require based on your boiler’s age, model, and overall condition. Determine if you need the coverage to extend to your home’s plumbing, electrics, and other systems. Be sure to factor in any existing home insurance policy so that you don’t pay more for unnecessary coverage.
- Establish your budget: Figure out how much you’re comfortable with spending monthly (or annually) for your home cover policy. Take the callout fee into account: higher callout fees mean lower premiums and vice versa.
- Analyse different boiler cover plans: Read through each cover plan’s inclusions and exclusions, and see how the coverage aligns with your expectations. Choose a plan that meets your coverage and budget needs, and be sure to consider the provider’s reputation before you make a final decision.
Boiler cover FAQs
Below are answers to some of the most common questions about boiler cover.
Is boiler cover worth It?
Boiler cover is worth it if you want peace of mind against unexpected boiler breakdowns and repair costs. Boiler cover provides prompt access to emergency repairs when your boiler (or any other home system that’s covered) develops a fault. However, the cost of boiler cover is not justifiable if you have a new boiler with a manufacturer’s warranty or if you’re able to self-insure against breakdowns.
Can I get boiler cover for an old boiler?
Whether you can get boiler cover for an old boiler depends on the boiler’s age. Most boiler home care providers do not cover boilers over 15 years of age.
However, cover policies for old boilers below the 15-year cutoff are still typically more expensive, and may not be worth it if the boiler is also not energy-efficient. Replacing an old, inefficient boiler with a new one is a more cost-effective option than getting a cover policy for it for two reasons. Firstly, a brand-new boiler does not need cover because it likely comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. Second, a new boiler may save you hundreds of pounds per year on your energy bills because it’s more energy-efficient than the boiler you’re replacing.
Does boiler cover replace irreparable boilers?
Boiler cover may replace irreparable boilers, but the decision to replace a boiler is typically made at the cover provider’s discretion. Most cover providers consider replacing boilers deemed to be beyond economic repair if they are less than 7 years old. Some providers offer vouchers worth several hundred pounds to help their customers offset the cost of replacing a boiler. However, assistance with boiler replacement is never guaranteed, and cover service providers make replacement decisions on a case-by-case basis.
How soon can I make a boiler cover claim after taking out a policy?
You can make a boiler cover claim between 14 and 30 days after taking out a policy, depending on your provider. All boiler cover providers have a waiting period immediately after the home service agreement is signed, but its duration varies between boiler cover companies. The waiting period aims to stop customers from taking out a cover policy to deal with an existing boiler problem.
How long does an emergency boiler cover callout take?
Emergency boiler cover callout takes up to 24 hours in most cases. However, callout times vary depending on the provider, the type of fault you’re experiencing, and the volume of calls the service provider is dealing with. Reading consumer reviews of a home cover company offers a telling glimpse of the company’s typical response times.
What’s the difference between boiler cover and insurance?
The key difference between boiler cover and insurance is that boiler cover facilitates repairs to a malfunctioning system, whilst insurance only covers the cost of repairs. Signing up for a boiler care plan give you access to a dedicated emergency repairs helpline, through which the service provider arranges repairs for you. Most boiler cover providers try to dispatch someone to you within 24 hours of you calling their emergency helpline. In contrast, an insurance policy lets you claim the cost of repairs and damages stemming from the fault, but you must coordinate the troubleshooting yourself.
Does boiler cover always include boiler service?
No, boiler cover does not always include boiler service. Some boiler cover providers exclude boiler service from their most basic plans, whilst some offer boiler service with every bundle. Always review the boiler cover plan’s terms and conditions, as well as the exclusions list, to know for sure whether annual boiler service is included at no extra charge.
Do landlords need boiler cover?
Landlords do not need boiler cover in a legal sense: there is no law on the books in the UK compelling landlords to obtain boiler cover. However, landlords in the UK may benefit from getting boiler cover for two reasons. First, UK law requires landlords to ensure their leased properties have safe and functioning heating systems. This requirement means that a landlord is responsible for repairing malfunctioning heating systems promptly after the tenants notify them of an issue. Boiler cover is thus a valuable investment for landlords, as it gives them access to an emergency helpline that helps facilitate expedient repairs. Second, landlord boiler cover typically includes annual boiler service, a gas safety inspection, and a gas safety certificate, with the latter being a legal requirement for landlords. Paying for boiler cover thus allows landlords to protect their properties and obtain the requisite safety certification in a cost-effective manner.
Do tenants need boiler cover?
No, tenants do not need boiler cover. People living in rental properties do not own their boilers or heating systems, so they’re not responsible for fixing them when they break. Landlords are legally obligated to ensure that their tenants’ heating systems are in good repair.
Does boiler insurance cover leaks?
Boiler insurance may cover leaks depending on the cause and the specific terms of the policy. For example, your boiler cover policy may cover leaks stemming from a faulty boiler or its components while excluding leaks resulting from poor maintenance or external sources. Review your policy’s terms and conditions to understand the coverage provided for leaks.
Does boiler cover cover radiators?
Yes, boiler cover covers radiators – as long as you choose the correct cover package. Boiler cover packages range from basic (boiler and controls) to comprehensive (all home systems), and the bundles covering radiators sit in the middle, as they protect the boiler, its controls, and the central heating pipes and radiators. Read the boiler cover plan inclusions carefully to find out whether the package you’ve found includes cover for radiators.