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Are you paying too much for boiler cover?

Written by: Emma Lunn
Which? claims that households could be paying thousands of pounds over the odds for boiler cover they don’t need.

The consumer champion says nine in 10 people would be better off paying as they go for boiler repairs and services.

Which? asked more than 7,000 of its members about their experiences of boiler repairs and services, and analysed the costs to work out whether boiler cover or paying as you go is more cost effective.

Boiler cover vs pay as you go repairs

According to Which?’s analysis, just 6% of boiler owners would have been better off in the event of a repair if they had had boiler cover. The overwhelming majority were better off paying for repairs and servicing when required.

Half (48%) of people surveyed had needed to call out a boiler repair person in the past five years, with those without cover paying an average of £107 per repair.

With the average cost of an annual service £80, the combined cost of paying as you go was still £101 cheaper than the average annual boiler cover premium of £288.

Which? also estimated that even if customers were unlucky enough to their boiler repaired every year for 10 years, they would still be more than £2,000 better off paying for repairs than taking out annual boiler cover.

More than a third of respondents reported that their boiler hadn’t broken down at all in the past five years. Which? calculated that if that was to continue for a further five years, owners could save as much as £3,000 over a decade.

Nearly one in five (16%) respondents in the survey said they had boiler cover. Two thirds of those told Which? they took the cover out for reassurance, as a catastrophic boiler failure could set them back thousands of pounds.

Warranties and alternative cover

The survey also found that almost a quarter of people who pay for boiler cover are still covered by the boiler’s warranty.

Also, if home emergency cover is included in a home insurance policy, customers could be doubling up if they also have separate boiler cover.

Most home emergency policies include some boiler repairs – and sometimes even replacement, so it’s worth consumers checking the terms of their policy.

Which? is advising boiler cover customers to consider whether they are getting value for money from their policy.

If they decide to remain covered they should check the levels of cover, shop around for other providers willing to offer a lower quote, or haggle with their provider when renewing policies.

Harry Rose, editor of Which? Magazine, said: “Our analysis shows that boiler cover is rarely worth the money – with excessive premiums costing customers hundreds if not thousands of pounds more than if they paid for repairs and servicing themselves.

“If you have boiler cover for peace of mind, there are simple steps you can take to get a better deal. Don’t pay for cover you don’t need and check you’re not at risk of having to pay extra for unexpected exclusions like servicing.”

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