How to choose the best boiler cover
If you want to know how to choose the best boiler serving cover, or whether you need cover at all, then we can help.
We've surveyed thousands of boiler cover customers about the provider they use, so we can tell you which brands boiler owners recommend.
If you have boiler cover and your boiler breaks down, the contract provider will send an engineer to assess the problem and try to fix it. If you sign up for a boiler-servicing contract, you'll pay a monthly fee for this peace of mind. Most providers aim to fix a boiler within 24 hours of a call.
But not all boiler cover providers are the same. In our survey, the best boiler cover brand received a customer score of 71%. The worst brand scored 41%. So if you're looking for good customer service and a speedy repair response time, it's important to pick your boiler cover provider carefully.
Just want to know the best and worst boiler cover brands? Head straight to our round-up of boiler cover companies rated.
Boiler cover: is it worth getting?
More than 40% of Which? members have at least some type of boiler cover and most say they chose to buy cover for peace of mind or value for money. However, based purely on cost, you'd probably be better off paying for repairs on an ad hoc basis - rather than paying monthly for boiler cover.
Our annual survey of boiler owners shows that the average gas boiler has almost a 50% chance of needing a repair in its first six years - although this drops to less than 40% if you buy a boiler from the one of most reliable boiler brands.
We analysed the results of our boiler reliability survey against the cost of a typical boiler-servicing contract (£183). We found that 93% of people would be at least £50 better off in any given year if they didn't pay for a boiler-servicing contract, and instead had their boiler annually serviced by an independent repairer (the average cost is £70) and paid for any repairs and faults as they happen.
You can cut the cost of expensive repairs by making sure you buy a boiler from a reliable brand - you can see which are the most reliable by going to our boiler reviews.
What are the different types of boiler cover?
Many boiler breakdown and servicing contracts offer an array of extra options, such as repairs for central heating, plumbing and drains. Some even cover your electrical wiring.
In general, the more cover you have, the higher your monthly fee.
Choosing the right policy for you depends on your circumstances. If your boiler heats both your water and your house, you may want to include central heating with your cover - this will include protection for your radiators.
You can find out what each boiler cover companies' policies cover in our boiler cover reviews.
Boiler cover in Northern Ireland
If you live in Northern Ireland, you'll need to know which policies are available to you. Of the 12 companies we've compared in our latest customer satisfaction survey, AA, Baxi, Domestic & General, Vaillant and Worcester Bosch all offer cover in Northern Ireland.
Should I have an annual boiler service?
Yes. An annual service helps to keep your boiler running safely and efficiently, and we recommend you get one whether you take boiler breakdown cover or not. Regular checks help ensure your boiler is working safely and may even help prolong its life. Many providers will only cover you if you have an annual service.
Some providers don't include an annual service in your cover, so their contracts can seem cheaper.
Some providers don't include an annual service as part of your cover, so their contracts can seem cheaper. At Which?, we review and publish boiler cover reviews only for contracts that offer an annual service and recommend choosing a boiler cover contract that includes an annual service or maintenance inspection.
However, getting a service you can trust is essential. In a recent investigation we found that eight out of ten providers failed to meet the minimum requirements for completing a boiler service.
Make sure you're in the know about boiler servicing - head to our guide where you watch our exclusive video of our undercover boiler servicing investigation, and download our annual boiler service checklist. Click getting the best boiler service.
How much will boiler breakdown cover cost me?
You'll pay from £183 a year for boiler cover that includes an annual service, doesn't charge any excess for call-outs and completely covers your boiler for repairs. Prices vary depending on where you live, and whether you agree to pay in monthly installments or as a lump sum.
Is there anything I should watch out for?
Try not to be drawn in by attractive introductory prices. Many boiler cover companies quote only the cost of the first year of cover, and then as much as triple the amount they charge in the second year.
Many boiler companies triple the amount they charge in the second year.
Where possible, we publish only the cost of the second year of cover in our boiler cover reviews and recommend that you always ask the provider what the cost of its contract is beyond the first 12 months.
While boiler breakdown cover may provide you with peace of mind, you should also bear in mind that not everything will be covered by a boiler-servicing contract.
A typical example is where sludge build-up occurs in your boiler. This is not covered by any of the companies we feature and would require a full system flush, which can cost more than £400. Check your policy for the following exclusions:
- Boiler age - if you have an older boiler you may find not all providers will accept you as a new customer
- Boiler life - existing customers should also be wary. Some providers won’t renew the cover if your boiler reaches a certain age. While you might be able to switch to another provider, the older your boiler the more likely you’ll need cover
- Call-outs - if your boiler breaks down twice in a year, some policies won’t cover you more than this. Choose a policy that has unlimited call-outs and preferably doesn’t limit the amount the provider will cover.