Press release:

Homes paid £787 million in unexpected boiler repair bills last year

  • A fifth of UK homes (18%) – almost five million – have experienced at least one boiler breakdown in the past year[1]
  • The average cost to repair the broken boiler was £270, totalling £787 million for the homes with no boiler insurance[2]
  • Half of UK households (52%) would rely on savings to cover the cost of boiler repair, but more than one in 10 (13%) would turn to credit cards or a bank loan[3]
  • uSwitch.com encourages families to consider boiler cover, home insurance policies or a 0% purchase credit card for some peace of mind when it comes to unexpected boiler repair bills.

UK homes have paid out over £787 million in unexpected repair bills over the last year, according to new data from uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching site[2].

A fifth of households (18%) – almost five million – have experienced at least one boiler breakdown in the last 12 months[1]. The research found that the average repair bill for these breakdowns was £270, adding up to a collective estimated spend of £787 million[2]. But, for almost a quarter of a million households (5% of those experiencing a breakdown) the cost to fix the boiler was more than £1,250[4].

To cover the cost of an unexpected boiler breakdown, more than half of households (52%) say they would rely on their savings. However, 3.5 million homes (13%) say they would use credit cards or take out a bank loan[3].

To protect themselves against an unexpected repair bill, uSwitch is calling on consumers to consider taking out boiler cover or making sure they are covered by their home insurance policy. If you do find yourself having to pay out for your boiler, using a 0% purchase or 0% money transfer credit card can help you spread the cost over a number of months.

Emma Bush, uSwitch.com energy expert, says: “It’s easy to take a working boiler for granted, but when things go wrong it can be expensive to fix – not to mention leaving you and your family shivering through a period with no central heating.

“With consumers already facing energy price rises in the coming months, the sudden shock of having to repair a broken boiler – possibly costing over a thousand pounds – could deliver a tough blow to household finances.

“To give yourself some peace of mind and protection against boiler bill shock there are different options available to suit every household. If you are concerned about your boiler and it is over six years old, boiler cover with an annual service could be a good option for extra peace of mind.

“Some home insurance policies have boiler cover included so check yours to see if you are already covered and maybe consider a more comprehensive plan if you aren’t. If you do find yourself caught out with an unexpected and unbudgeted repair bill you can use a 0% purchase credit card or, for those times you do need to pay in cash, a 0% money transfer card – to give yourself some breathing room and spread the cost over a few months.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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Notes to editors

Research was conducted online by YouGov between 27th October and 1st November 2016, among 5,028 energy consumers (aged 18+).

  1. When asked how many times has your boiler broken down in the last 12 months (since the end of October 2015), a total of 18% of respondents said their boiler had broken down once or more than once: 13% responded once; 3% responded twice; 1% responded three times; 1% responded more than three times. 27 million households in the UK (source: ONS). 18% of 27 million is 4.86 million.
  2. When asked to think about how much, in total, it cost to repair their boiler the most recent time that it broke, the average response was £270. 2.916 million households with no boiler insurance x £270 is £787,320,000.
  3. When asked what would be used to pay for an emergency boiler replacement, 52% of people said they would use their savings and 13% said they would use a credit card or bank loan. 27 million households in the UK (source: ONS). 13% of 27 million households is 3,510,000 households.
  4. When asked to think about how much, in total, it cost to repair their boiler the most recent time that it broke, 5% of respondents reported that the repair cost them over £1,250. 5% of 4.86 million households = 243,000.

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

Customers can sign up to an account that automatically monitors the energy market and notifies them when they can move to a cheaper tariff, while broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and identify the best deal for their postcode.

The multi award-winning 'Switching Made Simple' app allows customers to compare energy, broadband, credit card, mobile and SIM-only deals – and uSwitch also has a UK contact centre manned by energy and broadband experts. Customers can post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH to receive a free call back and be guided through the comparison process, or they can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details.

uSwitch is owned by ZPG, which operates some of the UK’s most trusted digital brands that help empower smarter property and household decisions including Zoopla, Money, PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes.

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