Boiler Cover: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Home   corrie@warmzilla.co.uk April 5, 2024

Boiler Cover: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Home  

A comprehensive guide to protecting your home with boiler and home cover. WarmZilla blogs.
Boiler Cover: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Home
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    A comprehensive guide to protecting your home with boiler and home cover. WarmZilla blogs.

    Key Takeaways

    • Get boiler cover for peace of mind & financial protection.
    • Beware hidden costs in boiler cover policies.
    • Choose trusted boiler cover providers with local engineers.
    • Pick a boiler cover plan based on your boiler & budget.
    • Boiler cover protects your heating system, not your whole home.

    There’s nothing more frustrating than being a homeowner discovering their boiler just broke. No matter what time of year it is, it’s inconvenient and, most importantly, costly.

    In the United Kingdom, a boiler repair can cost between £100 and £500, and an emergency boiler repair can range between £222 and £600. In financially turbulent times, a sudden boiler issue can be a massive blow to your budget.

    When this colossal inconvenience does occur (it happens to everyone - like taxes), you’ll be thrilled to have boiler cover. And no, it’s not an actual physical cover.

    So, what is boiler cover?

    What Is Boiler Cover?

    Boiler cover is an insurance policy that gives homeowners peace of mind. When a boiler breaks, the homeowner can call a gas-safety registered engineer to assess and try to fix the problem.

    The policy pays for this callout and more, depending on the type of cover you’ve chosen. It's not just an expense; it's an investment in your home's comfort and your peace of mind.

    As with any insurance policy, there are levels of coverage and monthly fees.

    Also, it’s worth noting that all boiler cover plans are different, but better policies will include great bonuses, like annual inspections, unlimited callouts, and low/zero excess fees.

    While everyone selling boiler cover will highlight the incentives of their policies, what should you look out for when looking?

    What To Look Out For When Taking Out Boiler Cover

    When selecting a boiler cover provider, you want to choose an option that offers the most value for your money. There are several red flags to be aware of, but let’s start with the company itself.

    Is Your Boiler Insurer Solvent?

    Yes, companies can fail, which means ensuring that they are solvent. If, for some reason, your insurer declares bankruptcy, your policy will become null and void.

    While this is a shocking situation, it can happen.

    If you are in the middle of a claim, you can contact the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) to check if you are eligible for compensation.

    The next policy clause to look out for is time limits.

    Time Limit On Boiler Repair Work

    Insurance policies are usually required to cover their client until their situation is rectified to what it was before the claim.

    With some boiler cover, this isn’t always the case. Some policies stipulate a time limit for fixing your boiler’s issue, and this is usually hidden in the fine print.

    Some boiler insurers will offer free labour for a specific number of hours worked and then charge if it takes longer. Gas safety specialists charge by the hour for their services. If the work required will take too long, it’s not worth their time to cover your repair.

    In this case, they might pay for a complete unit replacement instead.

    However, it's crucial that you fully understand the policy, as it could be in place because the company doesn’t want to pay more. If you are locked into a limited time frame for the free labour policy, you will be liable for the cost of the additional hours worked. Understanding these details puts you in control of your financial responsibilities.

    Limited Annual Claims

    This is pretty straightforward. Some policies will cap how many claims you can file per year.

    While it seems unlikely that a boiler will break multiple times a year, if your boiler has been misdiagnosed or wasn’t fixed correctly by a professional without a warranty, you might be required to pay for the next round of work out of your own pocket.

    Check how many call-outs you can make before agreeing to sign on the dotted line.

    Excess

    We’ve all become accustomed to paying excess on car or household insurance claims, and this is no different with boiler cover plans.

    Make sure you are familiar with your policy’s excess payment structure or if an excess is even required.

    The amounts you’re liable to pay for this will vary widely depending on your provider, your boiler cover, and its tier. Also, some insurers will charge according to the severity of the problem, with “major” emergencies costing more.

    You Might Be Required To Wait

    You’d assume that when your boiler has an issue, you could ask an engineer to repair it immediately. Unfortunately, with some boiler cover plans from big energy providers, you must wait.

    This is due to their booking service and because they must allocate a gas safety engineer who works for them. If your insurer has fewer engineers to call on, these waiting periods can be weeks, depending on the time of year.

    Waiting Period Before Claim

    Most boiler cover policies restrict how soon after signing, a new client can claim. This waiting period can extend up to 30 days.

    This is a fairly common practice in the insurance industry. It is in place because some clients sign up, immediately claim for repair work, and then cancel their policy.

    While a waiting period isn’t a red flag, it’s worth noting how long this span of time is.

    Doesn’t Cover Complete Failure

    Ensure your policy covers you in the event your boiler needs to be written off. Some policies only cover boiler repairs, which means you’re liable for the total cost if your boiler needs replacing.

    Energy Providers Will Increase Costs

    As with other insurance policies, premiums will increase annually over time. You should regularly check with different providers to see if you can get better rates for the same or better levels of cover.

    Another tactic is for insurers to charge existing clients more than they would for new customers, bargaining on the convenience factor that you’re not motivated to look up alternatives.

    How Old Is Your Boiler?

    If serviced regularly, boilers can work for many decades. But the older they get, the more likely they are to break.

    Many insurers will have an age after which they won’t cover your boiler. Make sure you know how old your boiler is and for how long your insurer will cover you.

    What Are The Benefits Of Boiler Cover?

    One key benefit of boiler insurance is the peace of mind it offers. As a UK homeowner, you can rest easy knowing that if your boiler breaks, you're covered. This assurance is invaluable, especially when unexpected expenses can cause financial stress.

    Other great benefits of boiler cover include:

    Financial Security

    Boiler breakdowns will occur without warning and can be extremely expensive. Gas safety engineers increase their fees during certain times of the year due to high demand.

    Taking out a comprehensive boiler cover will exchange the uncertainty of this high bill for a manageable monthly instalment cost.

    Emergency Assistance

    Generally, most boiler cover policies include access to a 24/7 emergency helpline.

    As we mentioned, some larger providers will have waiting periods in the high-demand season, so make sure your provider has made plans to address this potential shortcoming.

    Also, some providers will send out the best-vetted engineers to attend to your boiler as a bonus. And speaking about bonuses...

    Scheduled Maintenance

    Having your boiler undergo regular servicing means you will prevent it from random breakdowns and extend its operational lifespan.

    And, regular services are also crucial for electric boilers.

    With some policies, annual services will be included in the plan, along with covering expenses for labour and parts, which is a tremendous long-term saving for you.

    Make sure to review the fine print in your agreement.

    Many plans will also offer extra benefits and cover central heating systems, plumbing, electrical wiring, and regular upgrades to ageing systems. If this is appealing, make sure to tick the box.

    With so many extra benefits, boiler cover is edging closer to being a home insurance policy but more focused on one element.

    But what are the differences?

    What’s The Difference Between Home Insurance And Boiler Cover?

    Generally, home insurance covers various elements around the home, namely your personal belongings. Buildings insurance is responsible for the physical structure of the building you live in. But boilers are a grey area in between these two things.

    Your boiler cover protects both your boiler and the entire heating system. As we’ve mentioned, your plan will cover repairs, replacement costs, and servicing fees.

    Some home insurance policies cover boiler breakdowns, but this can differ between policies. Usually, the unit needs to have broken because of an external source, not general wear and tear.

    So, make sure to double-check your home insurance policy. However, it is unlikely to include the boiler plan's added benefits.

    Other significant differences are the claim process and monthly premiums (with home insurance being more expensive).

    Another factor is the event that caused the damage. With home insurance, you’ll claim if you’ve had:

    • Damage caused by natural disasters, such as floods, storms, or earthquakes
    • Damage caused by theft or burglary
    • Damage caused by fire or explosions
    • Liability for accidents that occur on your property
    • Rebuilding costs in the event of a total loss of your home

    Another policy you might have heard about is the central heating cover, which will include repair work on the boiler, radiators, and pipework. This is a more comprehensive coverage plan.

    Now that we’ve highlighted the red flags to look out for, the benefits of getting a boiler cover, and the distinctive differences from other products, it’s time to discuss selecting the best boiler plan for you.

    How To Select The Best Boiler Cover For You!

    While we’ll be biased about selecting our boiler cover plans, let’s be fair and share with you how to choose the best policy for your needs.

    Assess Your Needs

    When selecting a boiler cover plan for your home, it is best to assess your needs based on the policy. Factors include your boiler's age and condition, your budget cap, and the level of protection you need.

    Know Your Provider

    Always scrutinise your potential providers. Do some online research and look up reviews, stings and especially client feedback to help you gauge their reputation and whether they can be trusted.

    Another thing to ask your provider is whether they have local engineers who can come to assist quickly in an emergency. If your boiler breaks during a cold snap in winter, your health might be at risk.

    Also, does your provider have engineers who are experts in your type of boiler?

    The policies we offer are completely transparent.

    Cover Options

    It’s in your best interest to read through your provider’s policy literature and compare the coverage options offered with competitors you’re considering.

    Ensure that the policy includes protection for parts, labour, and call-out charges in case of a breakdown.

    What Are The Exclusions And Limits

    Hidden in those T&Cs, providers will outline what is excluded and your policy’s limits. Ensure you understand what is not covered, such as pre-existing issues or certain types of damage.

    Price Vs. Coverage

    Balance the cost of the policy with the level of coverage provided. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, ensure that it adequately protects your boiler and offers value for money.

    Type Of Property

    Where you call home will factor greatly into selecting the best policy for your needs. Do you live in a large house or a flat?

    If you live in an old Victorian home, you will want to ensure that the policy covers electrical work and is comprehensive. If you’re renting a flat, ensure your landlord has a policy.

    But if you want to ask us more questions, you can chat with our customer care team in the live chat window on the bottom right corner of the screen.