There are few things more frustrating – or expensive - than a boiler breakdown, but if you’re considering taking out boiler cover to protect yourself, always read the small print carefully first.


Broken boilers cost English households an eye-watering £32.1 million a year, according to boiler engineer experts Fair Fix, with 5% of them failing each decade, equivalent to more than one million boilers. It estimates that around 107,100 boilers break down each year, with repairs costing an average of £300 per boiler.

Boiler cover is designed to protect you against the cost of repairs if your boiler breaks down. You can usually buy standalone cover, or your home insurance policy might come with boiler or home emergency cover included, or as an add-on which you must pay extra for if you want it.

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Some, but not all, boiler cover policies include an annual service, so if yours doesn’t you’ll need to pay for this, with costs typically ranging from around £70 to £120.

A spokesman for Fair Fix said: “You must hire a fully certified and registered gas engineer to perform the service which will include visual checks of the boiler and flame; a checking of the flue pipes and operating pressure; checking of case seals; and a full audit of the internal components.

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“This process is like an MOT: it will identify any working faults and highlight any action that should be taken to avoid imminent breakdown.”

If you don’t have your boiler serviced regularly, then having boiler cover could be pointless, as 94% of policies researched by financial information company Defaqto require your boiler to have been serviced for your policy to be valid.

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Angela Pilley, home insurance expert at Defaqto, said: “We know that the cost of living is forcing people make difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising their household budgets. The danger is that a short-term saving, by missing a boiler service or turning your heating off altogether, could be costly in the long run.”

Check your policy small print to find out how frequently your boiler needs to be serviced for you to be covered. Some policies state that a service must have taken place in a fixed period prior to the breakdown, ranging from 12 months to 36 months, or simply that it must be serviced ‘in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.’

Bear in mind too that many policies won’t cover your boiler if it is over a certain age. According to Defaqto, one in four policies won’t cover boilers aged 15 or over, whilst 14% of policies won’t cover boilers older than 14 years. Many policies stipulate that if you’re buying cover for the first time, your boiler shouldn’t be over 7 years old.

When shopping for boiler cover, don’t just go for the first policy you find. It’s well worth using comparison sites such as Gocompare, MoneySupermarket or uSwitch to look at a range of different policies so you can compare prices and cover limits.


Policies can start from as little as a couple of pounds a month for basic cover, up to around £20 a month for more comprehensive cover. Prices are often cheaper in the first year, so always review your policy before it auto-renews if your monthly costs are set to rise sharply.