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How to choose the right boiler insurance

Gas boiler insurance can give you the security of knowing your boiler will be repaired or replaced if it breaks down. There's nothing worse than having your boiler quit on you in the depths of winter. Luckily with boiler insurance you can make sure you're always covered should the worst happen, but why should you get cover for your boiler, which type is right for you, and how can you ensure you don't pay over the odds?
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What is boiler insurance?

Boiler insurance is designed to cover the cost of calling out a Gas Safe-registered engineer to your home if your boiler stops working. It should also cover the cost of repairs – both parts and labour – in the event they’re needed. Many boiler insurance policies also include an annual boiler service.

What does boiler insurance cover?

Boiler cover typically comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes, but generally, it includes some or all of the following:

  • The cost of calling out a Gas Safe-accredited engineer to examine your boiler

  • Repairs to your boiler - parts and labour in case of boiler breakdown

  • A contribution towards the replacement of a system if it is considered beyond repair (normally with a set limit)

  • Either unlimited or a set number of claims in a 12-month period

  • Annual servicing - whereby a qualified engineer will inspect your boiler and correct any minor issues once a year

Your energy supplier may offer boiler breakdown alongside more general cover that spans your whole heating system (including the radiators and any external heating components such as the pump in non-combi systems), but you should compare features and prices to get the right deal for you.

Which boiler insurance is right for me?

While cost is undoubtedly a factor, your plan will ultimately depend on which boiler and heating system you have.

You should also look out for these additional limitations when choosing a policy:

  • Most boiler insurance will only cover repairs up to a certain amount (say £1,500), which you might want to consider in relation to the cost of replacing your current boiler.

  • The engineer may be limited to a specific length of time they can spend on repairing your system.

  • You may be restricted to a set number of claims per year.

  • Your policy may come with an excess – the amount you’ll have to pay towards the cost of any claim you make.

  • You may have to wait a certain period after taking out your policy before you can make a claim.

  • If you have an older boiler, you may find it difficult to find an insurer willing to offer cover. Those that do offer cover charge much higher premiums.

It's also vital that you ensure any boiler cover agreement you enter into uses qualified boiler engineers. If in doubt ask to see identification and look for the yellow triangle demonstrating that they are a member of the Gas Safe Register.

The Gas Safe Register, or Corgi as it was previously known, is the UK's official gas safety body. You should only ever allow engineers on the Gas Safety Register work on your boiler to ensure your safety.

Make sure you check each policy carefully to ensure it offers the cover you need before choosing.

Is boiler cover worth it, and why?

Yes, if you like peace of mind. Not only do you have the security of knowing a registered gas engineer is on hand should your boiler develop a fault, but if you choose a cover with annual servicing included, you’ll help keep your system in tip-top shape so it operates at peak efficiency and lasts for longer. 

What to watch out for

While boiler cover exists to ensure peace of mind, so you never have to worry about leaving your home unheated should it break down, it’s still worth keeping an eye on your central heating system. Learn to spot the tell-tale signs of a struggling boiler and you might be able to prevent small problems from developing into major ones requiring a more expensive fix or even replacement.

Obviously, the clearest sign that something is wrong with your boiler is when the heating stops working, or you’re unable to get any hot water, but this stage will usually be preceded by other symptoms:

  • Boiler pressure keeps falling or rising

  • Pilot light changes colour to a yellow or orange flame

  • Unusual sounds like hissing and clunking

  • Boiler stops working when temperature falls below zero for a prolonged period

Some problems, like a frozen condensate pipe, can be tackled by yourself, at least temporarily. Others may require you to call out an engineer to resolve the problem before it becomes more serious. Check out our comprehensive guide to boiler problems for more details.