Best boiler cover

Save £100s on boiler and home emergency cover

If you're worried about your boiler or central heating system failing, boiler breakdown cover is designed to help if things go wrong. Energy providers often try and flog it at sometimes inflated prices, but you don't need to take it. This guide explains what you need to know about boiler cover, whether you need it, plus our top-pick policies if you do decide that cover is right for you.  

What is boiler cover?

Boiler cover pretty much does what it says on the tin – it's an insurance policy you buy to help you cover the cost of getting your boiler working again if it breaks. But there are several different levels of cover to choose from:

  • Boiler-only cover. This is the starting level of cover, and usually the cheapest. It typically covers only the boiler and its controls. The majority of central heating claims are down to a broken boiler, but if the problem is outside the 'white box', this sort of cover won't help.

  • Boiler and central heating cover. The same as above, plus cover if, for example, pipes, radiators or central heating pumps break.

  • Boiler, heating, plumbing, drains and home electrics cover. This type of cover tends to be more expensive. Here you'd be covered for all central-heating repairs, plus burst pipes, blocked drains and electrical repairs.

    Another version of this is home emergency cover. Broadly, this tends to cover your boiler and central heating, plus also provides help for floods, pest infestation and more. As the name suggests, it tends to cover emergencies – usually if your health's at risk, your home's uninhabitable or at risk from further damage if the problem's not fixed soon. For example, this could be if you've a burst pipe and can't turn off the water supply, or your boiler's broken and it's zero degrees outside.

Whichever level of cover you opt for, always double-check what you're getting and closely inspect the terms to make sure the policy suits you, and you're not under or over-covered. It's also important to note that almost all plans include an initial no-claims period (designed to stop people signing up to plans on the day their boiler breaks), which varies from 14 to 30 days.

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Should I get boiler cover?

Boiler cover isn't right for everyone – it'll depend on your circumstances and whether you have the cover you need elsewhere. You'll need to weigh up whether the monthly cost is worth it for you, as there's no point in shelling out for cover if you don't have to. Here are some key points that should help:

  • Check if your home insurance already provides cover. Some home contents policies include a home emergency or boiler cover option, either as standard or a paid-for extra. This often covers the cost of call-outs and a temporary repair, though sometimes you'll still need to pay an excess.

    Check with your provider beforehand to avoid being double-covered, or use our Cheap Home Insurance guide to find an insurer that offers this cover as part of the package.
  • You don't need it if you rent. Only homeowners need to consider boiler cover. If you rent, it's not your responsibility. Though it's always best to check what arrangements your landlord has in place to deal with emergencies before you sign your rental contract, so you know how long you could be left in the cold if anything were to break.
  • Consider self-insuring if your boiler is under three years old. If you've new, reliable kit, it may be cheaper to self-insure. Effectively this is just another way of saying "open a top savings account to build up an emergency fund". If you have a problem, the cash is there to pay for it. If you don't, the cash is yours.

    However, be aware that this method takes time to build up and the cost of repairing or replacing a boiler can be expensive. For example, a new fan could cost around £230, a replacement pump can be up to £300 and a replacement heat exchanger may be upwards of £400.

    You could consider playing the odds by self-insuring during the early years of your boiler's life – when it's least likely to go kaput – then after a few years, bite the bullet and take out insurance.

Boiler cover need-to-knows

If you think boiler insurance is right for you, here are five key need-to-knows to understand before opting for a new policy. Remember with any new boiler insurance policy, you can't claim within the first 14-30 days.

  • Most policies won't pay if your boiler's croaked because it's not been properly maintained, neither do they cover the cost of safety inspections.

    An annual service is an effective way to avoid these problems and may even be free in the first year after the boiler's installed.

    Many boiler cover policies now either include as part of the policy, or give as an option to add-on, an annual service. Yet if yours doesn't you'll need to factor in a typical £60-£90 for an annual service on top.

    Alternatively, see our top-picks as these include a service as part of our minimum cover selection. 

  • The amount you can claim in the event of a boiler breakdown varies from product to product. Don't assume cover is unlimited, and always read the small print. Some only pay for costs up to a certain level per claim and per year (usually £1,000 or £1,500), limit the number of call-outs within 12 months or charge an excess for each call-out.

    It's also possible you'll only be covered for the first two or three hours of labour costs – so always double-check before the call-out. The last thing you want is a hefty bill if it takes all day. Also, not all companies guarantee they'll send an engineer the same day.

    If you're in a home with relatively new, reliable equipment, then either self-insuring or a cheap policy covering the bare essentials and modest payout limits should do.

    But if you've an old, unreliable and noisy boiler, and a heating system to match, then more comprehensive cover with higher maximum claim amounts and as many annual call-outs as possible might be more appropriate - just check the policy covers your boiler first.

  • In some cases, an engineer will come round and won't be able to fix your boiler.

    Replacing a boiler can costs £1,000s, but some policies will give you a contribution towards the replacement. So if you're getting a new policy, and your boiler's a little on the old side, and is under seven years old, check if it includes a contribution towards the cost of a replacement boiler. Many policies either offer between £250-£750 towards a new boiler OR will actually pay the full cost of a new boiler.

    If you're on a low income, and you can't afford a new boiler, you may be able to get help with costs. Check if you're eligible in the Free Insulation & Boilers guide. Plus check out our Grant Grabbing guide to see if you're eligible for help with heating costs.

  • Most plans require a boiler to be below a certain age, usually seven years old, when the cover is bought. Others will request a boiler inspection before granting cover. If yours is old, you may want to consider the cost of the insurance, and compare it to buying a new boiler.

    Even if you do get cover, as above, your boiler may be excluded from being replaced if it goes totally kaput. You could also find your old boiler system doesn't meet the standards requested by your insurance provider, in which case you'll probably have to pay extra to get your heating system revamped before being offered cover.

  • Policies come in two varieties: insurance and service agreements. While policies will offer similar cover, there is a key difference. With insurance, if the insurer goes bust you're protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). With a service agreement you've less recourse if the firm goes bust.

    The policy or comparison site should say which one it is, but if you're unsure, check whether the provider offering the cover (not necessarily the same as the firm that sells it) is on the Financial Conduct Authority's register as an insurer. 

    These are the key differences:

    Insurance policies

    These are covered by the FSCS. In practice, what this means is that you have a level of protection if the insurer goes bust. So, the FSCS will:

    • Try to find another provider to take over your policy. Essentially this means it'll try and find another insurer to take over the policies of your bust insurer, or issue substitute policies. 

    • Refund you 90% of what you've paid. If it can't find an insurer to take on the business, it'll refund 90% of any money you've already paid. Additionally, if you have any ongoing claims, or need to make a claim before a new insurer is found, the FSCS should ensure these are covered.

    Also, with insurance policies there's the additional protection that you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman – in the event of problems - if you are no happy with the final decision of your complaint from the insurer. Sadly, the annual service itself isn't covered as part of the Financial Ombudsman complaints process.

    Service agreements

    For service agreements, any protection you have relies on the provider's solvency – how likely it is to go bust.

    So, here it may be better paying monthly to limit any losses if the firm does go bust. Yet if you need to make a claim and the provider goes bust before it can send a repair person out, there's no recourse and you'd need to find your own tradesperson to make the repair.

    If the provider is still trading and you have a complaint that it can't, or won't, deal with some firms that provide boiler service agreements (including YourRepair and HomeTree) have signed up to the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, which can assist in resolving any complaints. However, signing up to this Ombudsman is voluntary.

How to buy a boiler breakdown policy

If you've decided a boiler breakdown policy is right for you, here's how to pick a policy...

1. Decide on the level of cover you want.

Many basic policies just cover the 'white box' of boiler, which is the boiler and boiler controls, and usually the parts and labour to fix 'em. Yet some policies will go further and cover the central heating too. And "full" cover policies will likely include cover for plumbing, drains, electrics and more.

2. Decide on the level of excess per claim

If you think your boiler is reliable, and there is a small chance of making a claim (but you want cover for peace of mind), then a policy a lower monthly cost but a higher per-claim excess could be the route to take. 

If your boiler has been unreliable in the past, or you've had problems with the central heating or other aspects of your home, you might feel more comfortable paying a higher monthly cost for a policy with a lower per-claim excess. This is because if you need to make more than one claim a year, or even multiple claims, it could work out cheaper.

And it's worth bearing in mind if you choose a policy that covers a wide range of systems in your home, this could mean there's a higher likelihood of you having to claim for something during any year - and you will pay the excess each time you do. 

3. Decide if you want an annual boiler service included

Most policies require you to have a well-maintained boiler that's been serviced annually or they could refuse to pay out. An annual service costs around £60 to £90, so picking a plan that includes it can be a way to save on this costs. Our top picks below all include a service as standard.

4. Check our top picks for cheap policies at different excess levels

We've looked for the cheapest policies that meet our minimum cover levels for your home boiler (at your permanent residence, not unoccupied or let out properties), and all our hand-picked policies will:

  • Provide a free annual service as standard.
  • Replace or contribute towards a new boiler if its beyond economical repair. This will usually only apply to a well-maintained boiler that's under seven years old.
  • Have no more than a 30-day exclusion period for claims.

  • Have generally positive reviews. Yet do note, we're reliant on online reviews and what we hear from our Forum members, so this doesn't mean that everyone will get good service from these firms. Please let us and others know of your experiences with these providers so we can further refine our top picks.

We've sorted our top picks by excess levels as this has the most impact on the monthly price, but all three providers allow you to vary the amount of excess you pay on a claim before you take out the policy...

Top-pick boiler breakdown policies

Provider
(policy name)
Monthly cost
(total per year) (1)
Excess per claim Claim limits/details
CHEAP COVER WITH A HIGHER EXCESS – from £2 month
Your Repair*
(Boiler) (2)
£1.80
(£21.60/yr)
£120
Unlimited
YourRepair*
(Home - covers boiler, heating, plumbing & electrics) (2)
£5.50
(£66/yr)
£120 Unlimited
CHEAP COVER WITH A LOWER EXCESS – from £8 month
Your Repair*
(Boiler) (2)
£8
(£96/yr)
£95 Unlimited
FULL(er) HOME COVER – from £7 month

Your Repair*
(Home Plus) (2)

£6.80
(£81.60/yr)
£120 Unlimited
Your Repair*
(Home Plus) (2)
£19
(£228/yr)
£60 Unlimited
Hometree*
(Your Home)
£19.95
(£239.40/yr) + claim £40 Amazon voucher
£95 Unlimited

Prices correct as of 31 March 2023. (1) Discounts are sometimes available for paying the annual premium in full. (2) This policy is a service agreement rather than insurance, so you've less protection.

Warning. Most policies give discounted pricing for the first year. They might also offer new-customer perks, such as a free boiler service. At renewal, prices will usually increase and and some perks will disappear, so ALWAYS stick a date in your diary to shop around for a better deal before the policy auto-renews.

5. Use comparison sites if you want a wider choice of features or more options

If the selection of insurer and service providers here doesn't provide the cover you're looking for, or you have a make or type of boiler that isn't covered by the companies listed, then it's worth doing a full check using comparison sites such as uSwitchMoneySupermarket*  and Gocompare

We can't pre-filter these for you, though, so always check they have cover that meets your needs. In particular, check how long the policy needs to be in place for before you can claim, the maximum age of boiler it covers and whether any perks are ongoing or just for the first year.  

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See if you can get cashback on your cheapest insurers

Cashback sites are usually free to join and pay varying amounts for signing up to certain boiler insurance providers via them. It works as they receive a 'lead fee' for sending you on to the insurer, then, once they're paid the fee by the insurer, they then share it with you.

Once you know who your cheapest boiler cover provider is, check there aren't any hidden cashback deals. The biggest sites are TopCashback* and Quidco*, which offer cashback for buying via them, just double check it's exactly the same cover. It's also best to think of the cashback as a bonus, rather than 100% guaranteed as sometimes the deal isn't tracked or the cash paid out. See our Top Cashback Sites guide for full help.

Already have a policy? Haggling can save £100s

Once you've found the cheapest quote, try to haggle a bigger discount with your existing insurer.

Haggling is not a must – especially if you want to try a new provider – but if you're looking to renew with your current provider it's well worth contacting it to negotiate.

Take the cheapest price you found and give your insurer a call – or use its online chat – to see if will beat or match it. Usually it's as simple as asking, but if you're not getting any luck, see our Insurance haggling guide for top tips.

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How to complain about your provider

The insurance industry doesn't always have the best reputation for customer service. While one provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others.

Common problems include claims either not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in the small print. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not, then...

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