Want a comprehensive cover for your heating system? To protect all elements from the boiler and its controls to the piping, cylinder and radiators? Then you will need to consider getting heating cover. It will help protect your heating system, and the cover may include call-out fees, labour and the price of parts the engineer needs to fix your heating.
The precise elements of a heating cover package will vary from supplier to supplier. Some will include call-outs in their monthly fee. Others will sell it as an add-on service that'll cost you extra. Be sure to check the details.
Do I need heating cover? Is heating cover worth it?
If you're a tenant, it's your landlord's responsibility to sort out heating cover. To make things easier, you can ask your landlord if they're OK with you taking out the cover while you're staying in their property. That will mean your landlord doesn't have to arrange engineer visits if something goes wrong with the heating.
Whether you're a landlord or homeowner, heating cover could well already be included in your buildings and contents insurance policy, so check it first. Your heating system and/or boiler could still be under warranty, so that's worth checking too. But warranties often won't cover every kind of boiler breakdown, like if another part of your heating system has caused the problems, such as a build-up of limescale.
If your warranty doesn't apply, and your home insurance doesn't cover your heating system, not having heating cover means that when something goes wrong, you can expect to be charged a considerable amount to put things right.
Heating cover helps protect you against the high cost of heating repairs. And most packages include an annual boiler service and repairs to boiler controls as part of the monthly price you pay. What's more, you'll be able to contact a helpline with any queries and be able to arrange call-outs without it costing the Earth.
What heating cover do I need?
Whatever type of central heating you want to cover - it could be a combi or conventional boiler - you'll want your cover to do as much of the following as you can afford:
• Freedom to make as many claims and callouts as you need every year
• All repairs to your central heating, including the boiler, with parts and labour covered in the monthly price you pay
• Supply an annual boiler service to ensure everything's working properly
• A helpline you can call any time of day to receive professional assistance
The number of call-outs your heating cover policy lets you make per year is the one feature it's vital to look out for. Some will limit the number, others will charge extra for each call out. There will be companies who offer unlimited call-outs and include the price of that in their monthly fee.
Central heating cover vs boiler cover
It's understandable that some people get confused trying to tell the difference between central heating cover and boiler cover. After all, boilers play a key role in your central heating. However, central heating cover is the most comprehensive of the two, offering cover for breakdowns and faults that might occur to every element of your central heating unit, from the radiators to the cylinder, the boiler and its controls to your tanks. Boiler cover offers help only for boiler-related issues.
What is excess? And do I have to pay for it?
Excess is an additional cost that you might be expected to pay as part of your heating cover. It's basically a contribution made by you towards the price of calling out an engineer. The amount you pay is agreed on upfront when you sign-up for the package. Usually, it falls into the £30 -£60 price bracket per call out. But there are heating packages out there that won't require you to pay an excess. Instead, it will be included in the monthly price they charge.
What's an annual service visit?
It's the best way to ensure your heating system is working at an optimal level. An annual service visit will entail a heating specialist inspecting your heating system once every year. Most heating cover packages include this service as a standard feature. Others charge extra for it.
Annual service visits play an important role in retaining the validity of manufacturer's warranties. They should be carried out by Gas Safe Engineers who are trained to look for faults and pre-empt problems to save you money. During the annual inspection, an engineer would carry out a visual and interior check of your boiler and other elements of your heating system.
Can I switch to a different heating cover provider?
Absolutely. In fact, switching providers is often a good way to save yourself money, as new customers frequently get better deals than existing customers. But it's not all a bed of roses, as if you want to switch before your current policy has run its course (that usually takes a year) there will probably be a cancellation fee to pay. You'll need to check the terms and conditions of your policy to see how much this is. But if you're determined to move on and happy to pay to cancel, no one can stop you.
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