Central heating cover

Being without heating and hot water isn’t much fun – and always seems to happen at the worst possible time. Central heating cover could save you hassle and money if you need repairs carrying out, but there are things to watch out for. 

Being without heating and hot water isn’t much fun – and always seems to happen at the worst possible time. Central heating cover could save you hassle and money if you need repairs carrying out, but there are things to watch out for. 

Chris King
From the Home team
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Posted 28 APRIL 2021

How does central heating cover work?

Central heating cover is a type of insurance you can buy to cover the cost of getting your heating system fixed if it breaks down. It offers more than basic boiler cover, which only protects your boiler and its controls. Central heating insurance extends to your gas pipework, hot water cylinder and other things connected to your boiler. 
Central heating cover varies between providers, but can include: 

  • annual boiler servicing – regular central heating maintenance helps to keep your boiler in tip-top condition
  • repairs to your gas central heating system, including the boiler, controls, radiators, pumps and hot water cylinder 
  • a 24-hour emergency helpline 
  • unlimited engineer call-outs. 
Read our guide to boiler cover and care plans

What’s not covered by central heating insurance? 

What isn’t covered by a central heating policy will depend on the provider and the type of heating plan you choose, but generally gas central heating cover is unlikely to include:

  • plumbing and water supply pipes
  • unblocking of drains and waste pipes
  • mains electrical wiring 
  • faults caused by sludge, limescale or blockages  
  • underfloor heating systems
  • leaking showers and taps  
  • accidental damage or design faults. 

If you want to cover plumbing, drains and home electrics alongside your central heating system, you’ll need a more comprehensive home care package.

Do I need central heating cover? 

Without boiler and central heating cover in place, you’ll need to pay for repairs yourself if your heating system breaks down. As many of us have learnt from bitter experience, fixing your boiler or heating can be very expensive. So, it’s worth thinking about if you’d struggle to pay what could be quite a large bill. 
If you just have boiler-only cover, bear in mind that your radiators and gas supply pipes won’t be covered, so if something goes wrong with them you’ll still have to pay for repairs.  
Taking out central heating breakdown cover might mean you pay more overall if you very rarely call out heating engineers. But the upside is that if you do have an emergency, you won’t have the stress of phoning round trying to find a plumber at short notice. With 24/7 boiler cover, you can call the helpline on your policy. 
If you rent a home, you won’t need central heating boiler cover. It’s the responsibility of your landlord to take care of central heating repairs and servicing. 
If you’re a homeowner, you might already have some form of central heating or boiler cover with your home insurance. But do check the policy terms and conditions to make sure it gives you the protection you need. 

Is my central heating covered under my boiler warranty? 

When you have a new boiler fitted, you’ll be given a warranty from the manufacturer. This means that if the boiler develops a fault or breaks down during the warranty period, the manufacturer will repair it free of charge.  
The warranty period will only last a certain number of years and there will be conditions attached. For instance, if your boiler breaks down because of problems found in other areas of your central heating system, you may not be covered. Plus, you’ll still have to pay for an annual service. 

What do I need to look out for with central heating cover? 

As there’s such a wide range of boiler and central heating cover available, it’s important to read the policy wording carefully before you part with your money. You don’t want any nasty shocks if you do need to make a call-out. 
Things to look out for when comparing heating plans include: 

  • Engineer call-outs are there any restrictions or limits on the number of call-outs you can make in a year? You may be charged for extra visits.
  • Call-out fee – there may be a fixed or voluntary charge to pay every time an engineer visits, usually referred to as a call-out fee. The higher the call-out fee you choose, the less you’ll pay for your policy. 
  • Boiler age – central heating systems over 10 years old will be more difficult to insure. While it should still be possible to get cover, it’s likely you’ll have less choice and it may cost you more. 
  • Exclusions – central heating maintenance is important as most heating service plans don’t include repairs for damage from limescale build-up or sludge, and won’t pay out if you fail to get an annual boiler service
  • Claim limits – some policies put limits on how much you can claim for in repairs each year, with some capped at £1,000. If you go over the limit, you may have to pay extra. 
  • Cancellation fee – if you’re switching from one heating cover provider to another, check you won’t be hit by a cancellation charge for ending the old policy. 

How do I get central heating cover? 

You may be offered a boiler and central heating policy by your energy supplier, but it’s always worth shopping around to get the right deal for you.  
If you’re looking for a standalone central heating plan, Compare the Market has partnered with Hometree, one of the UK’s top-rated home care providers, to help you find affordable cover. 
Alternatively, you can add home emergency cover to your home insurance for an extra cost. Read the Ts&Cs carefully to make sure your central heating system is covered, as it may depend on the age of your boiler and getting it serviced every year. And will it cover your whole central heating system or just the boiler and its controls? 

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