Is It Really Worth Paying For Boiler Cover?
Part of the answer to this question is bound to lie somewhere in the files marked ‘personal experience’.
Yet there is more to this dilemma than simply taking advice from a teeming market place of companies, desperately competing to grab a healthy portion of your hard-earned cash.
Moreover, with words designed to arouse an element of fear or emotive terms likely to instil a sense of security and peace of mind, it can be difficult to establish how much of these selling tactics are a sensible indicator of reality.
Statistics abound about the reliability (or lack of it) relating to central heating breakdown figures. With British Gas claiming that a boiler breaks down every second in the U.K. and Which reporting that a third of all new boilers will break down in the first six years, it’s enough to send the anxiety levels of house holders sky-high. It can certainly send them rushing headlong into a boiler insurance or service contract without prior consideration or looking around for a product that provides adequate and comprehensive cover.
In addition, perhaps a comparison might be obtained between the cost of a typical boiler repair and the annual cost of insurance or service plans and the exclusions applied within them.
Then of course, there is the issue of whether the householder actually needs the cover that might be directed towards him or her.
For those with rented accommodation it should be remembered that the responsibility for boiler maintenance lies with the landlord. The tenant should never need to enter into any arrangement for boiler insurance or service. On the contrary, it would be in the tenant’s interest to ensure that clauses in the tenancy agreement ensure that the landlord rectifies boiler problems within a specified time.
Before a homeowner considers boiler insurance or service cover, they might like to scrutinise the small print of their existing home insurance policy. Some have boiler cover included.
For homeowners who have recently installed a new boiler, the new boiler will be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty for at least a year, making any additional boiler cover obsolete. It could also be cheaper to take out an extended warranty with the boiler manufacturer rather than opting for alternative cover.
Some boiler installation companies may be able to offer deals far cheaper than any offered by the major energy providers and boiler insurance companies.
Considering that boiler breakdown seems to occur within the first few weeks of installation and then subsequently with increasing yearly age, the option of self-insuring might be a prospect to consider. This entails the homeowner depositing a fixed monthly sum, based on a typical insurance or service plan monthly premium payment, into their bank account to cover possible future breakdown expenditure post warranty. This of course means that the homeowner only parts with their money in the event of a breakdown and not on a yearly presumption that a breakdown is inevitable.
This latter option is further enhanced by examining the terms and exclusions contained in the small print of conventional boiler insurance or service plans.
For example, many policies and plans exclude boilers over fifteen years of age, partially because of availability of parts for repair, but mainly due to increased risk of unreliability of the appliance.
The fitting of a new boiler in these circumstances not only adds to the energy efficiency of the property, it also contributes to the reliability of the system thus reducing the need for insurance or service plans.
Many plans insist on regular power flushing of the central heating system, combined with the installation of magnetic filtration devices. These measures naturally reduce potential breakdown problems.
Some policies and plans operate repair excess sums and cover payment limitations.
Many require maintenance and repair to be carried out by companies that are unknown to the homeowner.
All of these considerations can make the option of self insuring a feasible possibility.
Inevitably, the only option which will provide peace of mind to some homeowners will be the conventional plans offered by the major players in the business.
However, there are some words of caution that should be considered before embarking on that route.
Always shop around. There are considerable savings to be made by not rushing into a contract or plan offered by the homeowner’s energy supplier. It is a fact that gas maintenance engineers connected with energy providers are encouraged to maximise the sale of policies, plans, service agreements and maintenance procedures offered by the parent energy company. Naturally, the engineers receive commission on these extra sales.
It might be difficult obtaining unbiased opinions, but looking at alternative but similar options offered elsewhere, and a little time spent in research, may very likely prove to be a money saving exercise.
No matter what option is eventually chosen, before signing on a contract or agreement in these matters, always carefully read every word of the small print and ensure that you understand the terms and conditions, and clarify any ambiguities. Do ensure that the cover you require is the cover the contract is offering.
In conclusion, whether you require boiler cover can only be narrowed down to the likelihood of you needing it, and whether you can afford to personally pay for repairs, when, or even if, you might need them.