- Many insurance policies do not cover heating breakdown as standard
- If boiler packs in and you’re not covered, it can cost thousands to fix or replace
- We reveal top tips to protect your property this winter
- Have you had a boiler disaster? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
With the mercury plummeting and Christmas fast approaching, it would be awful timing for your boiler to pack-up.
Especially when research reveals only a fifth of buildings insurance policies cover home emergencies such as heating breakdown as standard.
Analysis by Defaqto has revealed that of the 448 home buildings insurance policies currently available on the market, only 21 per cent include cover for home emergencies, such as a heating breakdown, as standard.
Little more than half offer it as an optional add-on, usually as part of a ‘home emergency’ insurance product – and 26 per cent provide no cover at all.
Check the fine print: Chances are you’ll have to pay extra if you want your buildings insurance to cover home emergencies such as heating failure
Among those buildings insurance policies that make this exclusion are Allianz’s Clear Advance, Broker Direct’s Home and Budget Insurance’s Home Insurance policies, according to Defaqto.
Admiral’s, Churchill and esure’s home insurance policies are among those that include home emergency cover as an optional extra.
And among the minority of buildings insurance policies that do cover home emergency, including heating systems, are Direct Line’s Home Insurance Plus, Hastings Direct’s Premier Home Insurance and Legal & General’s Home Insurance Choices.
For more examples of what specific buildings insurance policies do and don’t cover, and the maximum limits they will pay out, see table below:
What’s covered? Where you’ll find home emergency cover within home buildings insurance policies. Source: Defaqto
Defaqto is also warning households not to be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to the many adverts for boiler breakdown insurance about at the moment, which specifically cover boilers.
This is not the same as home emergency insurance.
Brian Brown, head of Insight at Defaqto, says: ‘Boiler breakdown insurance is specifically designed to protect a boiler against the cost of future breakdown.
‘Primarily these products cover the cost of any repairs to a boiler to get it up and running again but not necessarily replace it if it is broken.’
Defaqto found that 23 per cent of specific boiler insurance policies won’t pay out anything if your boiler needs replacing.
These include Admiral’s Boiler Emergency Cover (Gold Home Insurance), all Boilerplus policies and Scottish Power’s Boiler Care and Boiler Care Plus policies.
While 60 per cent include an annual boiler service, in the event that a boiler is broken down beyond economic repair, many of the boiler breakdown policies on the market will either replace the boiler, or contribute something towards its replacement.
Yet this cover is heavily restricted as most policies only pay out if the boiler is less than a certain age – and during which it is possible the system might still be under a manufacturer’s warranty.
Just under half of the 57 policies on the market will completely cover the cost of replacing a boiler under six years old. These include British Gas’s HomeCare One/Two and SSE’s Boiler Cover/Home Cover.
But payouts for older machines are far less generous. There are 11 policies that cover boilers with no age limits and while five of them will pay out up to £1,500 towards replacement, the other six pay between £250 and £750.
Revealed: The boiler policies that won’t pay out for a replacement boiler and those that will
To put that into perspective, a fairly typical Worcester Bosch boiler (the Greenstar 30CDI 30KW System Domestic Gas Boiler) costs £1279.99 at Screwfix, and of course, that’s before the cost of labour to have it installed.
Defaqto said that the other policies available offer different contribution amounts, which might depend on the age of the boiler.
There will also be cover exclusions based on the age of the boiler when cover starts, and the power output of the boiler.
So when considering your insurance needs, Defaqto urges you to bear in mind that home emergency insurance that is sometimes part of a building policy covers a range of emergencies that affect the home, unlike boiler breakdown cover which is specific to boilers.
Top tips to protect yourself this winter
• Check what cover you already have with your home insurance policy or bank account
• Check for any exclusions, such as the age or power output of the boiler and whether it needs to be regularly serviced or inspected
• If you bought your boiler within the last few years, check what cover the manufacturer gives as standard under the warranty, and check for any exclusions
• If you have a heating system that is powered by an electric boiler, solar or solid fuel, check whether your policy includes cover for this, as many do not.
To help prevent pipes freezing:
• Keep your heating on at regular intervals and make sure to set it on a timer if you’re going away.
Source: Association of British Insurers
Depending on the age of a boiler, a home emergency insurance product may be a more suitable option and it will also cover problems such as central heating failure, burst pipes, electrical failure and roof damage caused by extreme weather.
It is designed to help people who have been hit by an emergency to make their home safe again or reinstate essential services.
Typically, the cover limits are relatively low and there are sometimes limits on the number of claims that can be made each year.
Home emergency cover is sometimes added on to insurance and packaged bank accounts or offered through utility providers.
So it is worth checking whether there is already cover in place and checking for any exclusions, before buying a new policy.
It can be bought as a standalone product and there are currently 77 such policies available in the market place, according to Defaqto.
Brian Brown says: ‘As the temperature starts to drop, having hot water and heating becomes a top priority.
‘Modern boilers are expensive and the cost of having to replace one unexpectedly can be a nasty shock.
‘If you don’t have the funds to pay for this, then a boiler breakdown policy that includes boiler replacement, may be a good option for you.’
To compare home insurance policies by features and benefits, you can visit Defaqto’s website for an independent overview.
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online