Central Heating Cover
With the British winter becoming longer and more harsh, homeowners up and down the country are having to contend with frozen pipes, broken down boilers and out-of-date domestic infrastructure. In the absence of state support, the security of reliable, hassle-free central heating cover is therefore absolutely essential.
Who needs central heating cover?
It is only necessary to take out central heating insurance if you are the appointed homeowner. Those renting or lodging in a property need not seek cover, as maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of the landlord.
There is no legal obligation to have central heating insurance, however, and those who have a state-of-the-art boiler and internal heating system may be happy to go without (although this is risky unless you have savings you can fall back on in the event of an emergency).
Keep in mind that not all boilers are possible to cover. In some cases, insurance providers may refuse to provide protection to older models - which means you may need to upgrade at your own expense before applying.
Can I switch providers?
To begin with, it's important to recognise that, as a consumer, you are not obliged to preference any one insurance company over another.
In the UK, it is often the case that homeowners simpy use the company associated with their energy providers - but this is sometimes a bad idea. The package they recommend for you may not be tailored to your specific needs,and may end up costing you money in the long run.
The point is: you aren't "locked" into an agreement with any firm. If you feel you are being taken for a ride, then it's always worth having a look around to see if you can find a better deal.
What types of insurance are available?
Insurance cover today tends to come in comprehensive, all-purpose packages - and that means that a lot of consumers wind up making the mistake of paying for perks they don't strictly need.
A good place to start in assessing what you personally require is reading the small print of any existing home insurance cover you already have. A lot of packages will already cover your boiler, for example - which means that you won't need to include this in your central heating deal.
If you aren't covered already, you have the option of taking out either boiler only cover, or central heating cover (which is generally inclusive of the boiler itself).
The advantage choosing the latter, obviously, is that you will receive a more coordinated check-up service. In other words, you won't have a repairman visting your home and refusing to touch any equipment for which he is not liable.
It's generally a good idea to opt for an insurance provider which protects you against unforeseen emergencies - both in terms of covering any repair expenses you incur and providing a breakdown service.
Which companies cover central heating?
Below are some of the top central heating insurance providers currently operating in the UK, together with essential information about their service.
|Company||Maximum claim||Cheapest price (per month)|
|Your Repair||No limit||£11|
|British Gas||No limit||£5.5|
Keep in mind that prices and terms often change from each financial year to the next. It's therefore a good idea to contniue checking service comparison sites - and keep an eye out on any introductory offers that are put through your letterbox.