Boiler Cover – A Comprehensive Guide for 2020
Boiler cover is a type of insurance which you can take out to cover maintenance and repairs on your boiler if it breaks down.
It means that, if you have any problems with your boiler while your cover is in force, then a gas-safety registered engineer will come to your home to assess and fix the problem for you.
Most boiler cover will also include an annual service to make sure that it is working well.
Boiler cover policies may also include cover for other things which may go wrong in your home including central heating repairs, plumbing maintenance and electrical wiring in your home.
To help you to make the best choice for your home and budget, we’ll examine in this article:
- the four main faults plaguing homeowners with their boilers
- are manufacturer warranties worth anything?
- boiler cover for when your warranty is no longer valid
- choosing the right boiler cover for you
- boiler cover offers on the market at the moment
- what repairs cost if you don’t have any cover
- glossary of policy terms
Purchasing a boiler on finance or having boiler cover can help you to save a lot by doing a little.
Most central heating installers will recommend that you replace your boiler every 10 years as the energy efficiency of central heating systems decreases year-on-year.
Whilst a new boiler may seem like a large expense at the time, the money that you save on gas and electricity bills more than often makes up entirely for the initial outlay.
Depending on the size of your home, a new boiler could save your household up to £300 per year.
Detecting and identifying 4 common faults with your central heating
Issues with your central heating could be down to a number of factors and it is always worth getting a professional engineer to look at your boiler if you are concerned.
However, if you own either a combi or conventional boiler, there are four main issues that you are most likely to have:
Either no hot water or no heating
If you are not getting hot water or heating, the first thing to check is that your boiler is still connected to the gas and electricity mains supply.
If this is fine, the next most likely cause is a faulty pump and, in this case, this will need repairing or replacing.
No hot water but the heating is fine
If your heating is still coming on as normal but you can’t get any hot water into the pipes, there are a number of reasons this could be happening including:
- you may have a faulty programmer or immersion heater
- you may have a broken cylinder thermostat switch
- your motorised valve could have seized up
In these cases, the faulty part will either need to be repaired or replaced and a professional will need to look at and test it.
For older boiler types, this issue could be caused by an airlock preventing water from getting to the taps.
Hissing and rattling from your system
A hissing or rattling central heating system could potentially be down to a leak. This is a very serious fault which must be dealt with immediately by a professional service engineer.
If you want to test for a leak yourself, you can fill your boiler with water to see how long it takes to drain or inspect the combi boiler unit itself for any water where water should not be.
Over time, your radiators can build up sludge causing some areas to be cold whilst others heat up as normal.
Immediate action should be taken if you drain your radiator and find that the water inside looks dirty.
The best course of action in this case is usually a power flush which is performed by a central heating engineer.
This can be expensive costing up to £450 for a complete system power flush which is why boiler cover is crucial.
What about manufacturer warranties?
Manufacturer warranties do offer a guarantee that if your boiler fails or requires repairs during the warranty period, you will be able to get it repaired or replaced without charge.
However, warranties in the UK can range in length from 1 year to 12 years so you do need to check this when making your purchase.
It is also important to bear in mind that most longer guarantees will require you to have an annual service, completed by an engineer employed by the manufacturer in order to stay valid.
This table shows the minimum to maximum year guarantee from the major UK boiler manufacturers.
It’s worth noting that different boilers from the same manufacturer can have a different length of guarantee so you should always check this before buying.
|Ariston||1 years||12 years|
|ATAG||10 years||10 years|
|Zanussi||10 years||10 years|
|Intergas||3 years||10 years|
|Baxi||2 years||10 years|
|Ideal||2 years||10 years|
|Johnson & Starley||8 years||8 years|
|Keston||7 years||7 years|
|Alpha||2 years||7 years|
|Glow-worm||2 years||7 years|
|Vaillant||2 years||7 years|
|Vokera||2 years||7 years|
|Potterton||1 year||7 years|
|Biasi||2 years||5 years|
|Ravenheat||2 years||5 years|
|Viessmann||2 years||5 years|
|Worcester Bosch||2 years||5 years|
|Ferroli||1 year||5 years|
|Main||3 years||3 years|
You will usually be required to register your boiler with the manufacturer within 30 days of installation in order for your guarantee to be valid.
You cannot assume that your plumber will register the boiler for you and you should always double check with the manufacturer after a couple of weeks to ensure that your boiler is registered and your warranty is valid.
Boiler cover for when your warranty is no longer in force
It is useful to compare the different types of boiler cover available in order to find the right deal for you.
There are two main types of boiler cover available;
- boiler breakdown cover – which protects the boiler and its controls
- full central heating cover – protecting the entire system including radiators and plumbing
Check with providers that they cover your specific type of boiler before taking out a policy.
Most types of boilers will be covered, including gas, combi, condensing, and oil-powered boilers, but if your boiler is more than a couple of years old, it is always worth checking for coverage.
Older boilers are harder to find cover for as they usually fall short on certain requirements providers have in order to be comfortable insuring the system.
Older boilers have lower performance and are less energy efficient meaning that premiums may be higher or you may not be able to get cover at all.
In some cases your boiler may be considered ‘beyond economical repair’ and, in this case, you will have to buy a new boiler in order to apply for cover.
Choosing the right boiler cover
Different types of cover will be suitable for different situations, so it is always important to take your time and make sure that the cover you are looking at is suitable for your needs.
You will want to think about whether the policy has a limit on how many times you can claim and how much you can claim up to.
Some companies will refuse to pay out on issues caused by the boiler not being serviced regularly or because of a build-up of limescale.
Most policies will have a no-claims period to make sure that people don’t take out insurance when they already have a problem that the insurer will then have to pay out on straight away.
Here are the top 10 offers on the market for boiler cover:
|Cover provider||Product name||Boiler cover||Controls cover||Central heating system cover||Plumbing & drains cover||Home electrics cover||Annual service||Optional excess||Safety check||Unlimited claims||Excess||Cost per month|
|24/7 Home||Boiler Care||Y||N||N||N||N||N||Y||N||N||£95||£7.50|
|YourRepair||Central Heating Cover||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||N||£60||£11.00|
|24/7 Home||Heating Care||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||£75||£11.10|
|British Gas||HomeCare One||Y||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||N||N||£60||£14.00|
|YourRepair||Heating, Plumbing, Electrical Cover||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||£60||£14.00|
|24/7 Home||Home Care||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||£75||£16.60|
|British Gas||HomeCare Two||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||N||£60||£17.00|
|YourRepair||Complete Home Cover||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||£0||£19.00|
|British Gas||HomeCare Three||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||£60||£21.00|
|British Gas||HomeCare Four||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||£60||£23.50|
What do these policy terms mean?
Covers maintenance, replacement or repairs of your boiler unit.
Covers boiler repairs itself and repairs all of its controls, including programmers, timers, clocks, frost stats and thermostats. This should include all labour and parts charges.
Central heating system cover
Covers repair charges for your entire heating system, including hot water feed, fittings, pipes, radiators, motorised valves, pumps and your expansion tank.
Plumbing & drains cover
Covers the cost of repairs to your plumbing or drains, including things like burst pipes and blocked drains. This could also cover problems with your water supply such as blockages or water leakage.
Home electrics cover
Covers repairs to the electrics and mains wiring, including sockets, switches, fuse boards, and circuit breakers, anywhere within your property.
This usually means that a qualified gas-safety engineer will attend your property to perform a full inspection of your boiler every year checking that it is working safely and efficiently.
Annual inspections tend to include:
- a visual check of the boiler unit
- a flue gas analysis and efficiency test
- checking and adjusting the system pressure
- cleaning the condensate trap
- ensuring that the boiler is firing up and shutting down safely
- checking that all of the boiler parts are still in accordance with current Gas Safety Regulations
Most boiler cover policies are insurance contracts meaning that there is an excess to pay when making a claim.
For the majority of these, this will be at least £50.
However, you can choose to make your monthly repayments lower by choosing a higher excess if you like meaning that if there is a fault or repair you agree to pay more before the provider will pay anything.
Whilst there is no legal duty for homeowners to have their gas appliance safety-checked each year, landlords are required to do this by law and many safety conscious homeowners choose to do this anyway.
The gas safety check is essentially a series of checks as described in Regulation 26(9) the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to ensure the safe running and functioning of gas appliances in the home.
Means that your boiler cover plan comes with unlimited call outs and claims.
Potential repairs and costs for your central heating
One of the key issues homeowners have with taking out boiler cover is the cost.
For this reason, it helps to know what you might have to pay out once your warranty has ended if you don’t get boiler cover.
This amount entirely depends on the age of your boiler, and what issues you are having.
As an example, the four parts of your central heating system that are most likely to fail due to the level of work they are required to do and the estimated cost of fixing these is:
- new heating pump – £170 to £205
- replacement thermostat – £170 to £220
- magnetic filter installation – £245 to £355
- replacement fan – £220 to £270
Some people choose to take out an annual servicing contract instead of regular boiler cover.
This costs between £150 and £250 and includes cover for your central heating system if it breaks down so that you don’t have to pay for additional parts or labour charges.
A cheaper option for those who want to ensure their system is regularly checked over for safety and efficiency is a one-off boiler service.
These cost up to around £110 as a flat fee but, if any problems, are found then you will have to pay more for both the parts and the labour.
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