Home Boiler Cover: What It Is, What It Costs, and Is It Worth It
Home boiler cover is a type of insurance policy that pays for a homeowner’s boiler repairs and sometimes replacement, depending on the stipulations of your policy. Home boiler cover gives homeowners access to emergency boiler repair service via a dedicated, 24-7 helpline. The policyholder pays the boiler cover provider monthly premiums in exchange for the protection and the ability to get emergency repairs done promptly after a boiler breakdown.
Home boiler cover offers varying degrees of protection. The most basic plans protect the boiler and its controls from breakdowns, whilst boiler and central heating cover protects the boiler, pipework, radiators, and any hot or cold water storage facilities in the home.
Combination, system, and heat-only boilers are all eligible for home boiler coverage. However, the type of boiler affects the cost of the premiums for boiler and central heating cover, since system and heat-only boilers require more infrastructure to operate (and to be covered) than combi boilers.
Boiler cover policies come with exclusions (items that the policy does not cover). Common home boiler cover exclusions are as follows.
- Boiler age: Boilers older than 15 years are generally uninsurable, whilst those between seven and 15 years cost more to cover than their younger counterparts.
- Boiler failures due to poor maintenance: Most cover companies do not pay to repair broken boilers that haven’t been adequately maintained.
- Frequent claims: Many home boiler cover policies limit the amount of claims a policyholder can make in a given timeframe.
- Early claims: The vast majority of home boiler cover policies have a waiting period during which the policyholder is not allowed to make claims.
Boilers that are deemed irreparable by the boiler cover provider are sometimes eligible for a replacement. Whether the boiler cover company grants a replacement at their own cost depends on the specifics of the boiler cover policy, and often the boiler’s age.
Home boiler cover is not necessary for everyone. Homeowners with new boilers, or those who are able to self-insure, generally do not need boiler cover. Their boilers are unlikely to need extensive repairs, and if they do, the special boiler-repair savings fund should suffice. In contrast, homeowners with older boilers, boilers out of warranty, boilers with short warranties, or people without sizeable savings should consider getting boiler cover.
There are three key ways to save on boiler cover premiums. The first is to switch boiler cover providers regularly as new, better deals emerge. The second is to pay premiums annually rather than monthly. Finally, one can save on home boiler cover premiums by agreeing on a higher excess (also known as “callout”) fee.
The best home boiler cover comes from three providers: YourRepair, 24|7 Home Rescue, and British Gas. Each of the three boiler care providers offers attractive benefits and reasonable policy terms.
Below, our guide to home boiler cover explains how this service works, how much it costs, whether you need it, and where to find the best homeowner boiler care plans in 2023.
What is home boiler cover?
Home boiler cover is insurance that helps you fix your boiler quickly and pays for most of the repair costs when your boiler breaks. You pay a monthly fee, and your provider covers the cost of repairs, replacing components, and boiler replacement as stipulated in the policy terms.
How does home boiler cover work?
Home boiler cover works by providing emergency repairs to your boiler and covering an agreed-upon portion of the repair costs in exchange for a monthly fee.
Your boiler care company dispatches a Gas Safe heating engineer to make emergency repairs as soon as possible when your boiler breaks down. The majority of boiler cover plans have an “excess” or “callout” fee you must pay every time you request service under your cover policy. The higher the excess, the lower your monthly premiums.
Most home boiler cover plans include annual boiler service, during which an expert inspects your boiler and heating system to prevent emergencies before they happen. Annual boiler service is a valuable add-on since standalone boiler service costs between £79 to £90 if you pay out of pocket.
What types of home boiler cover are there?
There are two types of boiler cover. The first is boiler-only cover, which ensures the boiler and its controls (including the thermostat). The second type of cover is boiler and central heating cover. Boiler and central heating cover protects the boiler and the central heating system, including all pipework, radiators, towel rails, central heating pumps, flue, hot water cylinders, and water storage tanks. Both types of home boiler cover typically include parts and labour needed for repairs, although there’s usually a limit on the value of repairs per each callout.
What types of boilers can I get cover for?
You can get cover for the following three types of boilers.
- Heat-only boilers. A heat-only boiler keeps an internal water tank hot throughout the day, reading for use. Heat-only boilers have a secondary tank of cold water used to maintain pressure by replenishing the hot water tank. The presence of these tanks and the associated infrastructure translates to higher boiler cover premiums if you’re getting boiler and central heating cover.
- System boilers. A system boiler works with a hot water cylinder that receives cold water directly from the mains. These boilers typically have lower premiums because they have fewer components than heat-only boilers. However, the hot water cylinder adds to the cover premiums if you’re getting boiler and central heating cover.
- Combi boilers. A combi boiler heats water from the cold mains on demand. Combi boilers do not require hot water cylinders or feeder tanks, so the boiler and central heating cover premiums are generally the least expensive.
What does home boiler cover exclude?
Home boiler cover commonly excludes the following four items.
- Boilers over the age of 15. Older boilers break down more frequently. Therefore, most policies do not cover a boiler over the age of 15. However, some providers offer coverage for a boiler over 15 years old, though it usually makes more financial sense to replace a boiler of this age.
- Poorly maintained boilers. Almost all policies require that you maintain your boiler to a sufficient standard to make a claim. Neglecting annual inspections voids many policies.
- Excessive claims. Most policies cap the total number of claims and the amount of money you’re allowed to claim over the coverage period. This limitation shouldn’t be an issue if you maintain your boiler well and use it for its intended purpose.
- Early policy claims. Some policies prevent you from making claims in the first few weeks of your coverage. This limit stops customers from taking out new plans when their boiler is already broken.
Can I get cover if my boiler and central heating system are very old?
Yes, you can get cover on a very old boiler and central heating system. However, many boiler cover policies deny cover for boilers or central heating systems that are older than 15 years, while some limit the eligible boiler age to 10 years. It is possible to find providers that insure a boiler over the aforementioned boiler age thresholds, but you should expect to pay high premiums. Most times, it makes more financial sense to get quotes for a replacement boiler instead of pumping money into a boiler cover policy to protect an old boiler that’s on its way out already.
Boiler age affects existing coverage
The boiler’s age affects existing coverage. Some providers increase premiums as boilers age even if they’re under the policy eligibility age. For example, British Gas reserves the right to increase boiler premiums as they pass 6 and 11 years, while SEE charges an additional £2 a month on boilers seven years or older.
Does home boiler cover replace boilers that can’t be fixed?
Yes, some home boiler cover policies replace boilers that can’t be fixed. However, boiler replacement is not a given under every boiler cover policy. Make sure you check the policy’s terms and conditions before you make your selection.
Expect a policy that covers the costs of replacement boilers to be more expensive. For example, Ovo Energy only offers boiler replacement as a part of their premium Complete package, which is £9 more expensive than the Essentials package.
Providers often limit replacement on older boilers. For example, British Gas do not replace boilers over the age of 7 years in their base policy. Ovo Energy’s Complete plan replaces boilers less than seven years old but only contributes £400 towards replacing a boiler older between seven and ten years of age.
Get your fixed online price for a Which? approved boiler, installation included.
How can I save money on boiler cover?
There are three ways you can save money on your boiler cover.
- Switch providers regularly: Switching boiler care providers when your policy expires to take advantage of introductory offers and save money on premiums.
- Pay upfront for your insurance: Paying upfront for your boiler cover every year is typically cheaper than splitting the payment over 12 months. Some providers charge more for a monthly plan or factor in interest when setting monthly premiums.
- Agree to pay a higher excess on claims: Your provider may also allow you to pay lower premiums if you agree to pay a higher excess when you make a claim. This tends to work out as more cost-effective, provided you can pay the excess should your boiler break.
It’s essential to keep your boiler in good working order regardless of which of the aforementioned money-saving options you choose. Proper maintenance extends the life of your boiler, delays expensive repairs, and prevents the spike in premiums that usually follows a claim. In addition, most policies are conditional on proper maintenance, and regular boiler service helps keep the coverage valid.
Do I need home boiler cover?
Whether you need home boiler cover depends on your boiler’s age, state of repair, warranty status, and overall financial situation. The guide below explains the circumstances under which boiler cover is or is not necessary.
You may not need home boiler cover
The following are two core reasons for electing not to get home boiler cover.
- Your boiler is new: New boilers are generally protected by a warranty of 1-10 years, with five years being the most common. Therefore, you do not need boiler breakdown cover while the appliance is under warranty.
- You’re able to self-insure: You have the ability to build up an emergency boiler repair fund. Doing so helps you avoid cover premiums, and you have the cash handy if your boiler never breaks down.
Consider getting home boiler cover
Below are five core reasons home boiler cover is a good option for you.
- Your warranty period is short. Short warranties generally mean that the boiler model is unreliable, and you need added protection once the warranty expires.
- Your boiler’s out of warranty. You’re responsible for covering the cost of repairs, maintenance, and replacements once your boiler leaves its warranty period.
- You want to protect your central heating system. Your boiler’s warranty doesn’t cover the entire heating system. However, it is possible to save money by bundling your central heating and boiler cover even if your boiler is still under warranty.
- Your warranty doesn’t cover an annual boiler service. Most warranties require you get your boiler serviced annually, but they don’t cover the cost of that service. On the other hand, comprehensive boiler insurance covers the cost of this annual service. So, getting boiler cover might still make financial sense even if you’re under warranty.
- You can’t afford the cost of replacing or fixing your boiler. Paying to repair a boiler is an expensive one-time cost. You should get boiler cover if you’re concerned about being able to meet the repair expenses.
What’s the best home boiler cover?
The three providers below offer the best home boiler cover.
- YourRepair Home Boiler Cover: YourRepair’s 5,000 technicians fix 95% of problems on the first visit, and the company’s plans offer plenty of flexibility to their customers.
- 24|7 Home Rescue Home Boiler Cover: 24|7 Home Rescue have some of the cheapest home boiler cover plans, starting as low as £5.99 per month.
- British Gas Homecare: British Gas is one of the UK’s largest and most established boiler cover providers, and the company’s strong reputation means peace of mind for its customers. However, British Gas Homecare costs a bit more per month than similar boiler cover plans.