Should I Buy Central Heating Breakdown Cover?

Written by Karen Bryan

thermostatWith prices in the region of £300 for a replacement heat exchanger and £200 for a new pump, it’s worth looking at central heating breakdown cover.

You only need central heating breakdown cover if you own your home. If you rent your home, then your landlord is responsible for maintaining the heating system.

We’ve had central heating breakdown cover for decades and always been glad for it. While it may be true that if we’d paid for repairs as we needed them, we may have paid out a similar amount to what we have paid out for cover, I was glad to be able to phone up and get a next day appointment when our heating broke down.

As ever, it’s worth shopping around to find the best value (not necessarily the cheapest) central heating cover on a site such as EnergyHelpline.com. You don’t need to buy the central heating breakdown cover from your energy supplier.

Interestingly, we’ve had as many problems with new boilers as with older boilers. A new boiler needed a repair within 18 months. A five year old system had major problems with an air lock, necessitating lifting up all the floor coverings in the downstairs of our home.

Some policies only cover your boiler, others cover the whole heating system. Sometimes there is an option to add additional cover such as all the plumbing in your household. Personally, I don’t see the point in covering your boiler but not the rest of the system.

You need to know the age of your boiler, as some types of breakdown cover are only valid for boilers that are up to ten years old.

When you take out new central heating breakdown cover, sometimes you can’t claim in the first few weeks. I suppose that’s to stop people only taking out cover if they have a problem.

There may be a maximum claim number of call outs or total value of repairs per year. If your boiler is beyond economic repair, you’ll have to fork out for a new boiler. Our current boiler is quite old, so if it had a serious problem, I reckon we’d have to replace it.

There may be an option to pay a lower price if you agree to an excess, where you pay the first £50 or £100 of any work done. You should check if accidental damage to your heating system is covered.

Some policies include an annual service, others don’t. I like the idea of an annual service. I think that a heating system does require maintanence and the annual service could extend the life of your heating system. It’s also a good idea to fire up your heating system at least once in Summer to avoid the moving parts seizing up.

When we bought a newly built house, we got two year’s free heating system cover, so check with the builder what cover is included.

We’ve been with several different central heating breakdown cover providers and they’ve all offered a good standard of service. It is possible that the engineers may not be able to carry out the repair immediately if they don’t have the required part with them. I’d recommend that you have some alternative source of heating. We have two electric convection heaters that we purchased during the wait for a replacement fan to arrive.