How to Choose the Best Boiler Cover
By Matthew Knight
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 company received an impressive customer score of 87%. The worst brand scored just 45%. 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? Go to boiler cover companies rated.
Boiler cover: is it worth getting?
Having your boiler break down can be a nightmare, and boiler-servicing contracts might seem like a good way to guarantee you’ll never have to shiver in an unheated home and brave cold showers.
However, we’ve calculated that they’re only worth it for a tiny proportion of people – around 3%. Most people would save money by paying for an annual boiler service, which costs £72 on average. And then covering any emergency repairs that might come up (the average repair cost is £145).
Our research shows that people are paying an average of £247 a year for cover that includes an annual boiler service. That means the only time you’re ever better off with boiler cover is if you need an expensive repair.
And, statistically speaking, that’s unlikely to happen. Our research shows that even if your boiler’s six years old, there’s only an 18% chance it will need a repair this year. This number decreases if your boiler’s younger.
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. 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 seven out of ten providers failed to meet the minimum requirements for completing a boiler service.
You can find out more about our undercover boiler servicing investigation and download our free annual boiler service checklist. Click getting the best boiler service.
How much will boiler breakdown cover cost me?
On average, you'll pay around £267 a year for boiler cover that includes an annual service.
If you just want basic emergency call out cover, but where parts and repairs are not covered, it will cost you £91 on average.
A more comprehensive cover, which includes boiler breakdown/emergency cover for all problems, as well as other home emergencies (such as pests or electrical failure), will cost nearer £350 on average.
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 and recommend that you always ask the provider what the cost of its contract is beyond the first 12 months. See our boiler cover reviews.
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.