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How to choose the best boiler cover

By Rachel Christie

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How to choose the best boiler cover

Our experts help you choose choose the best boiler servicing cover, or decide whether you need boiler cover at all.

We've surveyed 1,652 boiler cover customers about the provider they use, so we can tell you which brands boiler owners recommend.

Paying for boiler cover means that, if your boiler breaks down, the contract provider will send an engineer to assess the problem and try to fix it. Boiler cover often includes an annual service, but not all boiler cover providers are equal. 

See our boiler cover reviews to find out which package is right for you.

In this article:

Types of boiler cover 

There’s a wide range of options that boiler breakdown and servicing contracts can include, such as repairs for central heating, plumbing and drains. Some even cover your electrical wiring or pest control in your home. In general, the more your cover includes the more you’ll pay for it.

Those in our member survey in July 2019 paid, on average, between £245 and £340 per year for a boiler cover package, inclusive of an annual service.

Can I get cover for an older boiler?

Most of the firms’ policies that we looked at set maximum ages for boilers on their policies, usually 15 years, but sometimes as low as seven.

It’s worth choosing a policy with an unlimited claim cost, which will also replace your boiler (or pay some money towards a replacement) if it’s beyond economic repair.

To see how we rate boiler companies including British Gas, Homeserve and Worcester Bosch, see our boiler cover reviews.

How much does boiler cover cost? 

Paying for boiler cover is financially worthwhile for just 3% of people on average. That’s because the likelihood of needing an expensive repair is low.

This is based on the proportion of the general public that we surveyed whose combined boiler repair cost plus annual boiler service cost (average £79) exceeded the average annual boiler cover cost of £300 over the past year.

The majority of people (76%) told us that they buy boiler cover for peace of mind. Just 4% have boiler cover because their boiler is unreliable or keeps breaking.

The average cost of boiler cover is between £245 and £340 per year. You shouldn’t be paying more than this. The exception to this rule is if your policy covers a wide range of other home emergencies, such as pests or electrical failure. 

Based on our survey respondents’ experiences, if you’re unlucky enough to have to pay for a repair, you’re likely to only need to do so once or twice. Overall, 29% of survey respondents didn't call their boiler cover provider for a repair in the past five years.

How to get cheap boiler cover 

1. Choose the right boiler cover policy for you

You can cut costs by choosing carefully the best policy for you. The average cost of boiler cover varies widely depending on the type of policy you get – so think about what would most suit you and your household. 

If your boiler heats both your water and your home, you may want to include central heating with your cover - this will include protection for your radiators.

But look out for any superfluous extras in your policy. For example, things already covered in your existing home insurance, such as electrical problems, pipes and drainage.

2. Pay for your boiler annually

If you can afford to, paying upfront for a year’s boiler cover will save you money compared with spreading the cost in monthly payments across the year.

People who paid annually spent between £257 and £291. Those who paid monthly spent a total of between £325 and £343.

3. Switch boiler provider

Loyalty doesn’t pay, according to our survey. Customers who renewed the same policy with the same provider last time it expired paid between £327 and £346 per year.

But those who switched provider paid almost £100 less – between £217 and £263 per year.

Best and worst boiler cover brands 

We asked 1,694 boiler cover customers about their experiences with their boiler cover contract provider. It’s clear from our survey that customers’ opinions of their boiler cover provider varies widely.

While the top scorer received the maximum five stars out of five across key measures, including customer service and ease of arranging a service, it was the only one to do so.

Which? members can log in to see the full results in the table below. Not yet a member? Join Which? to get access to our results, below, and all of our online reviews.

Boiler cover brands
Provider Customer service Ease of contacting company for a repair Repair response time Ease of arranging annual service Value for money Customer score (%)
British Gas (1,065) Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Corgi (68) Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Domestic & General (106) Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Homeserve (94) Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Worcester Bosch (36) Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Table notes Based on an online survey in July 2019 of 1,652 Which? members who pay for boiler cover. Sample size is in brackets. Star ratings can range from one to five – the more stars the better. Customer score is based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend the brand to a friend. It doesn’t factor in the individual star ratings. A dash (-) means too few responses to give a rating.

We also have a first-look review of Vaillant boiler cover, even though we didn’t get enough customer feedback to rate it.

See our boiler cover reviews to find out how these three companies perform.

Should I have an annual boiler service? 

Yes. An annual service is essential for keeping your boiler running efficiently and safely. We recommend you get one whether or not you take boiler breakdown cover. At Which?, we only review and publish information about contracts that offer an annual service.

Regular checks help ensure your boiler is working properly 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 as part of your cover, so their contracts can seem cheaper.

Is there anything I should watch out for? 

Take note of attractive introductory prices. We've come across boiler cover companies that quote only the cost of the first year of cover, and then hike up their prices in the second year.

In fact, 63% of boiler cover owners we asked said that when they renewed the same policy with the same provider, their price increased. Before choosing a provider, check what the cost of its contract is beyond the first 12 months, or after any introductory discount has finished.

Keep an eye on your bill when it comes to renewal time, and don’t be afraid to haggle or shop around. Some providers may be able to offer you a price as if you were a new customer.

While boiler breakdown cover may give you 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 would require a full system flush (which can cost more than £400), but not all of the companies we feature cover the cost of this in their policies.

Boiler policy exclusions you need to know about

  • Boiler age - if you have quite an old boiler (meaning older than seven to 10 years), 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.
  • Cost limit - if your boiler breaks and you need costly repairs, a policy with no limit on repair costs would be best. Some have a limit of £1,500 per year, while others are unlimited.

To keep repair costs to a minimum, choose one of the best boiler brands, as rated by heating engineers.

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