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Boiler breakdown insurance claims surge

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The number of insurance claims for heating-related issues jumped by 26% in 2020 compared to the year before, new analysis from insurer MoreThan has revealed.

The insurer found that February 2020 in particular saw an enormous spike in claims, with cases up by 44% on the same point in 2019.

A study by MoreThan found that nearly a third (31%) of homeowners who use a gas boiler to heat their home have had to repair it over the last 12 months. Those in London and the East of England were found to be the most likely to need to suffer a breakdown from their boiler.

MoreThan noted that our boiler systems have been under incredible pressure over the last year. With so many of us spending longer at home due to the various national and regional lockdowns, our boilers have been in more regular use than usual, while weather conditions have meant we have had the heating on more often.

This would be a testing time for our boilers if they were all in mint condition, but MoreThan’s study suggests that the nation is instead relying on an increasingly ageing and inefficient boiler network, with more than a quarter of households reporting that their boiler is at least 10 years old. 

Going green

Encouragingly, the study found that significant numbers of homeowners are considering switching to greener heating alternatives. Almost one in 10 (8%) have moved to a low-carbon heating system over the last year, while a whopping 86% said they were willing to move to a greener alternative.

For more than two fifths of homeowners that may be an electric boiler, while a quarter (27%) are keen to install a solar water heating system and one in five (19%) are considering an air source heat pump.

Andrew Moore, home claims director at MoreThan, said that a surge in boiler-related claims is to be expected during the winter months, but there has been a high number of home heating emergencies of late. 

He continued: “Our research shows that homeowners are more concerned about their environmental impact than ever, with three in five taking action to reduce our energy usage. This proactive approach is promising. As the benefits of greener heating systems become clearer, and we look to replace our broken boilers, there is a great opportunity to upgrade the way we heat homes for the better.”

The Green Homes Grant

One source of funding support for homeowners looking to improve the energy efficiency of their home is the Green Homes Grant.

This government scheme provides household with vouchers worth up to £5,000 to go towards all sorts of home improvement measures, such as the installation of insulation and low-carbon heating, as well as draughtproofing and double glazing.

However, the scheme has been slammed for its ‘woeful’ performance to date, with just £94.1m worth of vouchers dished out so far, a tiny fraction of the £1.5bn budget for residential homeowners.

What’s more, the money the government has put aside for the scheme has been slashed for the next financial year, with only £320m set aside for 2021/22.

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