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Boiler trouble can leave households with a £314 headache

With one-sixth of households expected to have switched their heating on, new research underlines the risks of not having boiler cover

A lack of boiler insurance could result in a £314 repair bill

A survey from uSwitch has shown that although close to a fifth of households suffered a boiler breakdown in 2012, resulting in an average repair cost of £314, only a third have adequate insurance.

Just over a quarter of those surveyed said they saw boiler cover as essential and a further 22% said cold winters mean it is increasingly important. In stark contrast, one tenth believe cover is not essential and 34% think it is too expensive.

Stretched finances holding Brits back

To further highlight the issue, more than one third of those who do not have insurance say they cannot afford it. However, with two in ten households having to shell out an average of £314 to repair their boilers in 2012, and insurance available from £52, it may well be worth reconsidering.

In this context, the survey found that 34% of survey participants were considering taking out insurance to guard against a surprise breakdown in winter. A third of those planning to purchase cover are doing so for peace of mind, whereas more than a quarter are worried their boiler may break down due to its age.

It is worth noting that some boiler cover, particularly the cheaper deals, carry an excess. This figure makes up the first part of the claim and is what you would be required to pay before the insurance company would cover additional costs. For example if your boiler will cost £300 to repair and your excess is £50, you would be required to pay the latter yourself.

Boiler cover plans

Supplier

Plan Name

First Year Cost

Monthly Cost

Max. cover per year

Annual Boiler Service Included

Excess

HomeServe

Gas Boiler Breakdown Cover

£52.32

£4.36

Unlimited

Yes

£50

npower

Boiler care flexi

£125.40

£10.45

Unlimited

Yes

£50

British Gas

HomeCare 100™

£138.00

£11.50

Unlimited

Yes

£50

ScottishPower

Home Comfort Standard Care

£154.80

£12.90

Unlimited

Yes

Source: uSwitch.com. Prices and information correct as of 03/10/2013. All plans cover boiler and controls. Based on a 5 year old Baxi Gas combination boiler with no existing cover in Nottingham. The above is a snapshot of national suppliers – local and regional suppliers are available too.

‘Going without boiler cover’ is a gamble

Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch, said: “In these cash-strapped times, going without boiler cover can seem like an easy saving to make. However, it is a gamble which can leave you out of pocket if your boiler packs up and you don’t have money spare to pay for repairs. The average repair bill last year was £314 – if this would be difficult for you to find then boiler cover could give you peace of mind.

“If boiler cover is the right option for you then it is vital to shop around for the best deal. It’s important to note that some of the cheapest plans carry an excess. If this would be difficult for you to pay then you might be better off going for a slightly more expensive option that doesn’t have an excess. Prices and the level of cover can vary, with some suppliers also including an annual boiler safety inspection. It’s also important to note that you are not obliged to take boiler cover through your gas supplier – you really are free to shop around for the cover that best suits your needs.”

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  • Michael Talbot

    I believe strongly in Boiler Plans, I have one with Worcester Bosch and they are brilliant

  • I personally think it’s not worth the risk not having cover. Even if you never use it for repairs it still covers your annual service. This article is good at assessing the pros and cons http://www.0800repairgas.co.uk/blog/boiler-breakdown-cover-worth/

  • Boiler cover can at times be costly, but it’s best to watch out for those with high excesses. Better yet, look for a policy with no excess per claim: just try our Home Emergency Cover, £69 a year: http://www.bestpricefs.co.uk/home-emergency-cover

  • David Wilkinson

    A few comments on Student Loans:
    1 They are not FCA regulated and the information presented to students at the time of taking the “loan” is thin, at best. There is little detail on what happens to interest, when it starts to accrue, how the rate is calculated, how the hurdles move over time, what repayment options exist, the capacity of the people presenting the loan documents, etc etc. If it were an FCA regulated loan it would immediately fail virtually all of their standards of propriety. The students don’t know exactly what they are signing up to – they do so because for most students, there is no choice – a bit like PPI ? So a potential scandal down the line.

    2 These loans are packaged up and sold out to investors who are assuming a delinquency rate of around 50%. So if the Government alters the scheme, they will be huge winners – Mr Corbyn’s promise was undeliverable – it would cost more than the EU exit bill by a multiple, and a very rich American would get even richer (Americans hold most of the debt). Another political scandal in the making ???

    3 It is more than doubtful that students who choose to live overseas can be made to pay. They may have signed to say they will, but it is inconceivable that the SLC is going to chase around the world looking for those who choose to move overseas. The result is that the cute student will disappear, taking his prized education and money offshore never to be seen again. So how does this serve the educational needs of our workforce ??

    4 The worst hit folk are the lower-middle earners – the earnings band for repayments (those that do) is roughly £21-45k. The people who earn more (and many will if they turn up to their lectures) have capped repayments – and those that earn less will pay nothing. So the guys who will feel the pain of repayment are people like teachers, and government workers, and factory workers, and NHS staff, and NOT rich bankers and lawyers. Egalitarian ? Not sure it is….

  • Michael

    I fear this article is misleading – there is no tax relief on student loan repayments! Gross salary is used to calculate the repayment, which is then deducted from net salary. There are no “tax savings”.

    • Tom Martin

      Amended. You are 100% correct. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

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