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.

— ends —

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

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

uSwitch customers have the option to create an account which will prompt them when their current broadband, credit card, energy, insurance and mobile deals are coming to an end. For energy customers, the account can also automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2016, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £320m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

The uSwitch mobile app allows customers to compare energy and broadband deals. Energy customers can compare deals in seconds by scanning the QR code on their energy bill. The app won 'Most Innovative Use of Mobile' and the 'Chairman's Award' at The DRUM Marketing on Mobile Awards 2017. Consumers voted it Most Popular Website (Comparison category) in the Website of the Year Awards 2016.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by ZPG Plc (LSE:ZPG), owner of some of the UK’s most trusted home-related digital platforms including Hometrack, Money.co.uk, PrimeLocation, Property Software Group and Zoopla.