Boiler cover & care plans
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What is boiler cover?
Boiler cover is a type of protection you can take out to cover the costs of getting your boiler fixed if it breaks down. No one likes to be without heating or hot water, especially in winter, which is why having boiler cover could give you peace of mind. Faults can be sorted quickly and you won’t be left with an eye-watering one-off bill to pay for repairs.
Boiler cover and home care plans can include central heating, plumbing, drains and electrics, as well as the boiler itself. But, as you’d expect, the more you include, the more expensive your policy will be.
Many boiler cover policies also include an annual service to make sure your boiler is kept in good working order.
How does boiler cover work?
Most boiler plans work like insurance. You’ll have the option to choose a call-out fee – this is a payment you agree to make towards the cost of calling out an engineer when you take out your policy. The higher the call-out fee you choose, the lower the cost of your policy.
If your boiler breaks down, you can phone the helpline number printed in your policy documents to get assistance. As long as you’re covered for the problem you’re reporting, a Gas Safe-registered engineer will be sent to your home to try to fix the fault. If the problem isn’t urgent, you can usually book an appointment at a time to suit you.
What does boiler insurance cover?
It can vary among different plans and providers but, depending on the product you choose, boiler cover can include:
- unlimited engineer call-out charges
- parts and labour
- annual boiler service
- 24-hour emergency helpline
- discounted replacement if your boiler has a major fault or is beyond economical repair
- plumbing, drains and electrics
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What types of boiler cover are there?
There are three main types of boiler breakdown cover you can choose from:
- Boiler-only cover – this is the most basic cover you can get and usually the cheapest. It protects only the boiler and its controls.
- Boiler and central heating cover – as well as boiler repairs, this covers your central heating system, including pipes, radiators and pumps.
- Boiler, heating, plumbing, drains and home electrics cover – this is the most comprehensive protection and normally the most expensive. It covers repairs to your boiler and central heating system, plus pipes, drains and electrics. So, a blocked drain or burst pipe would be covered, for example.
What types of boiler can I get cover for?
At the moment, most households still have gas boilers, so plans for these are widely available. But it’s possible to get cover for all types of boiler, including:
- Combi – commonly found in smaller homes, combi boilers don’t need a hot water cylinder or cold water storage tank, making them relatively easy to maintain. But keeping the pressure topped up can be a problem. Most boiler care providers will cover combi gas boilers.
- Conventional – this system is often found in older homes and may benefit from home care cover if there’s a risk of burst pipes in winter. There’s also lots of parts to maintain as the boiler is connected to a storage tank and hot water cylinder.
- LPG – LPG boilers rely on a supply of stored gas to generate heat, making them ideal for homes that don’t have direct access to the mains gas network. You can get plans that cover everything from just the boiler and controls to the whole heating and plumbing system.
- Solid fuel – an option for rustic living, solid fuel heating systems, like wood burning stoves and biomass boilers, are energy efficient but need to be cleaned regularly.
- Electric – this type of boiler doesn’t have as many mechanical parts as gas boilers, so generally needs less maintenance, but is more expensive to run.
It’s always best to double check that your boiler will be covered before taking out a policy, especially if it’s more than 10 years old. Some providers won’t cover oil-fired boilers, LPG boilers, electric boilers and biomass boilers.
How much is boiler insurance?
The cost of boiler insurance can vary a lot and will depend on the system you have installed and the level of cover you want. Rather than automatically signing up for the cover offered by your energy provider, it’s worth first comparing prices to make sure you’re not paying over the odds.
As a general guide, basic premiums start from around £2.50 a month, but the most comprehensive home care plans can cost closer to £20 a month, so you’ll be paying more than £200 a year.
It’s important to check exactly what’s included in your package to work out whether you’ll get value for money or not.
How can I save money on boiler cover?
Getting cover for heating breakdowns can be expensive, but there are several things you can do to help reduce the cost of your boiler insurance.
- Don’t over-insure – think about the level of cover you need. Extras like electrics, pipes and drainage may already be covered by your home insurance policy.
- Pay annually – check whether you can save money by paying for a year’s boiler cover in one go, rather than spreading the cost in monthly payments.
- Pay a call-out fee – this is a fee you pay for each call-out, typically £60 to £100. It’s not usually compulsory, but paying a fee will reduce the cost of your premium and could save you money overall.
How can I find boiler cover?
There are three main ways to get cover for your boiler:
- Choose a standalone boiler cover policy from a specialist home care provider.
- Get a repair plan from your boiler manufacturer.
- Add home emergency cover to your home insurance policy or buy it separately. If you do this, you need to check that boiler cover is included.
Home emergency cover typically offers limited boiler cover in comparison with a separate boiler cover policy. It may restrict you making a claim if your boiler is over a certain age and doesn’t usually cover things like having your boiler serviced.
If you’re looking for a separate boiler care plan, Compare the Market has partnered with Hometree – one of the UK’s top-rated home care providers.
Check to see if you already have suitable cover in place through your energy supplier or home insurance before you buy a separate care plan. If you have a manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee for your boiler, check what help you’re entitled to if something goes wrong. Any product you buy could supplement whatever protection you already have.
Do I need boiler cover?
If you own your home or you’re a landlord, boiler cover could save you paying out for expensive repairs, so it’s certainly worth considering. It also gives you the security of knowing that someone will come out to you quickly if your boiler breaks down.
You won’t need boiler cover if you’re renting, as it’s the responsibility of the landlord to take care of boiler repairs and servicing – including an annual gas safety check.
If you’ve just had a new boiler fitted, you should be covered for faults under the manufacturer’s warranty, although this may not extend to wider central heating problems.
Some home insurance policies may include boiler cover as part of a home emergency add-on. If this is the case, you might not need to take out separate protection for your boiler. But check the policy terms and conditions to make sure it gives you the protection you need.
The advantages of boiler insurance
Boiler cover can give you peace of mind that faults can be fixed quickly. Benefits of boiler insurance include:
- Emergency call-outs – boiler breakdown cover reduces the stress of having to find a plumber at short notice and can help reduce the time you’re without heating or hot water.
- Save money – central heating problems can be expensive to repair. The typical cost of fixing a boiler can be £100 to £400, but it could cost you as much as £500 if more than one part needs to be replaced. Say you took out boiler cover for £270 a year, then had a service and repairs worth £580, you’d make a considerable saving of £310.
- Annual service included – many boiler insurance plans come with an annual service as part of the deal. This will protect you from gas leaks and detect problems early, before they become more serious.
The disadvantages of boiler insurance
Boiler cover isn’t without its downsides and won’t be worthwhile for everyone. Drawbacks of boiler insurance include:
- It might not be needed – if you’re lucky, you might not have any trouble with your boiler, so heating cover could feel like an unnecessary expense.
- Claim limits – some policies will only cover costs up to a certain amount a year or per claim, and the policy will often have restrictions on the number of claims you can make each year.
- High excess – the cheapest polices often come with a high excess or call-out fee, which means you’ll pay each time you make a call-out.
Who is Hometree?
Hometree is one of the UK’s top-rated home care suppliers, not only because of its highly regarded customer service but also for its comprehensive home care plans.
Hometree provides homeowners and landlords with a range of simple and transparent boiler, central heating and home care plans. The company works with more than 1,500 qualified engineers and currently protects tens of thousands of homes across the UK. Hometree promises unlimited call-outs, a 24-hour emergency helpline and no price hikes if you don’t make a claim.
What boiler care options can I get from Hometree?
Boiler care from Hometree gives you four options to choose from:
- Heating essentials care plan is available to Compare the Market customers and offers the most basic boiler care package. It protects your boiler and controls, and covers the cost of a boiler service for the first year.
- Boiler-only care plan protects your boiler, flue and controls, and covers the cost of an annual boiler service.
- Boiler and central heating care plan will cover repairs to your boiler and anything to do with your central heating system, like radiators, pipes and pumps.
- Full home care plan is Hometree’s most comprehensive home breakdown package. As well as protecting your boiler and central heating system, it also covers plumbing problems, blocked drains and electrical faults.
If you’ve got a gas fire, Hometree can also add this to your chosen plan too.
Frequently asked questions
Does boiler cover start straight away?
Most boiler cover policies include an initial no-claims period, which could be the first 7-30 days, depending on your provider. With Hometree, you can’t arrange a call-out within the first 14 days of your contract starting.
This means that you won’t be able to claim on your care plan if your boiler breaks down during that initial period. It’s designed to prevent people from signing up for cover on the day their boiler packs up.
Is there a limit on how much I can claim?
This depends on the policy and level of cover you choose. Some policies have an annual maximum limit, for example £1,000 or £1,500, while others are unlimited.
What are typical exclusions for boiler cover?
Boiler policies can vary between providers, but generally they’re unlikely to include:
- faults caused by sludge, limescale or blockages
- leaking showers and taps
- household appliances, like fridges and washing machines
- outdoor heating and electrics
- accidental damage or design faults.
Who do I call if there’s a problem with my boiler?
If you have boiler cover or home emergency cover, your provider should always be your first port of call if there’s a problem. Most providers have a 24-hour helpline for emergencies.
If you don’t have boiler cover, you’ll need to look for a suitably qualified tradesperson in your area. With a gas boiler, you should check that the engineer is Gas Safe registered and qualified to carry out boiler repairs. Alternatively, you can contact the boiler manufacturer.
What happens if my boiler can’t be fixed?
If, unfortunately, your boiler is beyond repair, you’ll often be offered a discount to fit a new one if you have boiler cover. Hometree will give you 15% off the cost of a new boiler as long as they install it.
How long should a boiler last?
You might expect your boiler to last between 10 and 15 years, typically. But they can often keep going much longer than that if they’re properly cared for with an annual service.
Do I need boiler cover if I'm in rented accommodation?
The boiler is usually the landlord’s responsibility. Because of this, insurance providers won’t normally offer boiler cover to non-homeowners.
Can I still get cover if my boiler is very old?
If your boiler is older than 15 years, you may struggle to find insurance or you may have to pay a higher premium. Any age restrictions should be included in the policy wording. If you choose boiler care from Hometree, there’s no age limit.
Do I need to service my boiler?
Regardless of whether it’s insured or not, your boiler will definitely benefit from a regular service. Most boiler companies recommend a service at least once every year. It’s usually a condition of your insurance or warranty to have the boiler serviced every year by an approved engineer. You can also opt for standalone home care cover that gives you the option of including an annual service.
A boiler service must be carried out by a Gas Safe-registered engineer, who will check for leaks and other problems, and make sure your boiler is working safely.
How much will it cost to service my boiler?
A gas boiler service will typically cost you somewhere between £70 and £130. But the price will depend on who you choose to do the service and how long it’s been since your boiler last had one. The cost of any new parts will be on top of this.
You may be able to save by including an annual boiler service in your boiler cover, although this will depend on whether you need repairs or not.
Can I change my energy supplier if I have boiler cover?
Yes, you can change your energy supplier whenever you like. Your insurance is completely separate from your energy supply and it pays to shop around to make sure your energy tariff is still right for you.
Is home emergency cover the same as home care cover?
No, they’re not the same. Home emergency cover is designed to protect you against a boiler breakdown alongside other home emergencies, like a broken window. A home emergency is typically something that may cause permanent damage to your property, could make your home unsafe or poses a risk to your health.
You can usually buy home emergency cover as an add-on to your home insurance policy, or you can buy it separately.
Home emergency cover will typically cover the costs of resolving the emergency situation but is unlikely to pay out for any additional costs, unless clearly set out in the policy. And, typically, boilers that don’t get an annual service are excluded.
Home care cover, on the other hand, covers more than just emergencies. It can help ensure the smooth running of your home and get you help in a non-emergency situation. For example, you might have an annual boiler service included in your policy.
What’s the difference between boiler insurance and a service agreement?
The main difference is that insurance providers offering boiler cover are regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). If your provider goes bust, you’ll be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if the provider was regulated by the PRA.
Service agreements aren’t regulated, so if the company you’ve signed up with becomes bankrupt, you might not be financially protected.
Hometree offers a range of non-insured maintenance care plans, all of which include an annual service visit.
Will boiler cover save me money?
You may be able to save money with boiler cover, especially if you have an older boiler that isn’t very reliable, but it will depend on the cost of repairs. While you have to weigh up whether it’s worth your while financially, many people say the real value of boiler cover lies in being able to call for help at any time of the day, rather than struggling to find a heating engineer at short notice.
How long does a call-out take?
If it’s an emergency – for example, there’s a risk to your health or your home isn’t fit to live in – an engineer will normally be sent out to you within 24 hours. This isn’t guaranteed, though, and call-out times can vary among providers. If the problem isn’t urgent, you can usually book an appointment at a time to suit you.
How do you cancel boiler cover when you move house?
You can cancel your plan by contacting your provider. Whether you’ll need to make any remaining payments for the period of your contract or pay a cancellation charge depends on your policy, so check your documents carefully.
If you want to stay with your existing provider, you may need to start a new contract. Let them know that you’re moving and give them details of your new boiler. Don’t move without telling them – you could invalidate your cover. Alternatively, you can cancel and switch to a new provider.
Boiler maintenance tips
Your boiler cover might not pay out claims resulting from poor maintenance, like limescale build-up. It’s up to you to make sure your boiler is regularly maintained. Follow these tips to help keep your boiler in good condition.
- Service your boiler annually – this is the best way to increase the lifespan of your boiler. It helps prevent damage and keeps it running efficiently.
- Keep the pressure up – boilers don’t run properly when the pressure is too low. Check the pressure gauge on the front of your boiler to make sure it’s within the manufacturer’s recommended values, usually between the 1 and 1.5 bar. If you need to adjust it, follow the instructions in your handbook.
- Insulate your pipes – in cold weather, pipes can freeze over, making your heating inefficient or even causing a boiler breakdown. To stop this from happening, lag your pipes before winter sets in. You can buy ready-to-use lagging from DIY stores at a relatively low cost.
What do I need to get a boiler cover quote?
Getting a quote with Hometree is easy. You’ll just need to:
- say whether you’re a homeowner or a landlord
- choose what level of cover you want
- provide some details about yourself, including your address and postcode.
Start a quote
Home emergency cover can be added as an optional extra to your home insurance policy.
What our expert says...
"When comparing boiler cover, it's important to know what's included and what isn't. Boiler cover can be quite specific, so look out for any exclusions around the types of boilers and faults you can claim for, as well as any claims limit. If you have an annual limit of £1,000, then you'd need to pay any extra costs yourself."
- Chris King, Home insurance expert