Central heating is one of the most energy efficient forms of heating and with the cost of energy rising, many people are installing central heating or upgrading their existing systems.
If you are having a new system installed you could be paying up to £5,000 for a full system, and with such an outlay it is important not only to choose the right system initially, but also to keep it well maintained.
Boiler and central heating cover may be offered by your energy supplier, but it is worth checking around to get the cheapest cover.
The price can vary greatly depending upon how much cover you want, and there are a variety of different options and levels of cover available.
Do I need boiler and central heating cover?
It is not essential to have boiler or central heating insurance, but if you are the home-owner you should certainly consider it. It can bring peace of mind in the knowledge that you are covered in an emergency and if you are renting a property it will guarantee swift repairs to avoid any problems for tenants.
Some property types cannot be covered by insurance; some commercial properties, mobile homes and bedsits are excluded. It is also worth checking your contents insurance, as some policies include cover for the boiler and central heating.
What types of policies are available?
There are several different types of policy on the market; check the details of each to make sure you get the level of cover you require. Boiler insurance only is available which covers the boiler and its controls, and this is generally the cheapest.
More expensive packages cover the central heating system as well, and some policies will even cover plumbing and wiring. Policies may also include 24 hour emergency call outs, regular services and inspections and a replacement boiler if yours breaks down.
Central heating cover will pay for repairs to your boiler if it breaks down and any repairs to the controls or the central heating system. Parts and labour should be covered although some policies will only cover you for the first few hours labour.
A free replacement boiler might be included, or a contribution to the cost of a new one. Often this is based on a sliding scale depending on the boilers age, but it may be difficult to get cover on a boiler, which is more than seven years old.
More expensive policies may allow unlimited claims per year, while cheaper insurance will place a restriction on the amount of claims, which can be made. If you are in a new home with fairly modern equipment, you are unlikely to need many call outs so could be better off having a cheaper policy.
Most policies offer a 24 hour; 365 day a year emergency phone service, and can send a contractor to carry out repairs at any time. Check the small print in these plans, as some insurers do not guarantee a contractor on the same day, while others place a definition of what is classed as an emergency. The loss of hot water, for example, may not be deemed by some policies to be an emergency.
What’s not covered?
Many insurance providers will not pay out on a claim if a boiler has not been properly maintained. If a regular service is not included within your insurance, you should have a local company carry out a yearly inspection of your boiler.
This will cost around £50 to £100 and should only be undertaken by a gas safe registered technician.
The majority of insurance plans require a boiler to be under a certain age to be covered, and it may be difficult to find a policy for older boilers.
If your boiler is more than seven years old, it might be best to consider a replacement. It is likely to be much more efficient than your existing boiler, making it cheaper to run.
Most central heating cover comes with a no-claim period at the start of the policy. This is to prevent people starting a policy to try and claim for an existing problem. The exclusion period is usually 14 or 30 days.
Finding the right central heating insurance
The right insurance depends on what level of cover you require. If you have a relatively old system, which is more likely to break down, you should opt for a higher level of cover to get unlimited call outs and full cover for parts and labour.
If you have a newer system and are likely to need little more than an annual service, it makes sense to have the lowest level of cover, as it will be the cheapest.
Most energy providers offer boiler and central heating cover, and the premiums are usually wrapped up in their pricing scheme to encourage you to use their plan. There is no condition that you have to use your own suppliers insurance, however, and it is often cheaper to get cover elsewhere.
Online price comparison sites provide quotes for central heating cover, and you can quickly find the cheapest policy for the level of cover you desire.
Boiler and central heating insurance is not a legal requirement and not everyone will decide that they need it. You may prefer to pay for an annual service each year, and to pay for any call outs and repairs as they occur.
If you have a very new system, this could prove to be more cost-effective in the long run, although you should make sure you keep aside enough money to pay for repairs in an emergency.
If you are a home-owner, you might prefer to have the peace of mind that comes with insurance, and there are several different levels of cover available.
You can buy simple boiler only insurance, which covers just the boiler and its controls; or a full policy, which covers the boiler, the central heating system, and all the associated controls.
With so many different options and exclusions, it’s essential to check the full details of the plan to make sure you get the level of cover you require.