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…

Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
minute read
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Last Updated 18 MARCH 2022

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 though, 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.  

Adverts for central heating cover seem to be everywhere, but the cover varies among providers. It 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? 

Exemptions to your central heating cover will depend on the provider and type of plan you choose, but gas central heating cover probably won’t 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? 

It depends. 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.  

Bear in mind that your radiators and gas supply pipes won’t be covered if you have boiler-only cover, so if something goes wrong with them you’ll still have to pay for repairs.   

The truth is that 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 around trying to find a plumber at short notice. With 24/7 boiler cover, you can call the helpline on your policy.  

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.  

In fact, the above only applies if you’re the homeowner. If you rent a home, you won’t need central heating boiler cover as it’s the responsibility of your landlord to take care of all central heating repairs and servicing. Don’t let an unscrupulous landlord suggest otherwise. 

Is my central heating covered under my boiler warranty? 

Not really. 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? 

You know we love to go on about the importance of reading the small print but it really is vital, especially when there’s such a wide range of boiler and central heating cover plans available.  

Always 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. 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 double check whether your whole central heating system is covered or just the boiler and its controls.

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