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Just 21% of insurance policies cover boiler breakdowns

Peter Kelly
Nov 15, 2019


Don't end up out of pocket this winter - make sure your contents insurance covers home emergencies like boiler breakdowns.

It has emerged that just 21% of 390 home contents insurance policies analysed include cover for home emergencies, such as boiler breakdown, as standard, new research has revealed.

According to the Mail, buildings insurance isn't much better with only 24 per cent of 371 policies analysed providing cover for home emergencies as standard, which analysed data from Defaqto.

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This suggests that many UK households could be forced to splash out hundreds of pounds if their boiler decides to breakdown this winter period. 

The research found that 45 per cent of contents insurance and 49 per cent buildings insurance policies currently on the market do offer home emergency cover as an optional extra.  

Home emergency insurance is sometimes added on to home contents and buildings insurance and packaged bank accounts or offered through utility providers, so it is worth checking whether there is already cover in place and checking for any exclusions, before buying a new policy.

It can also be bought as a standalone product and there are currently 104 such policies available in the market place.

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The analysis was of product data taken from the Defaqto Matrix and was completed on 8 November 2019.

What insurance will I need? 

There are currently many adverts for boiler breakdown insurance, which specifically covers boilers and shouldn't be confused with home emergency insurance, Defaqto has warned. 

Boiler breakdown insurance is specifically designed to protect a boiler against the cost of future breakdown. Primarily these products cover the cost of any repairs to a boiler to get it up and running again but not necessarily replace it if it is broken.

A large proportion include an annual boiler service. With a new boiler costing anywhere upwards of £500, 54 per cent of policies available will cover costs of at least £500 or more towards a replacement boiler, with 21 per cent offering unlimited cover towards replacement. 

However, there will be exclusions based on the age and power output of the boiler.

By comparison, home emergency insurance covers a range of emergencies that affect the home. It is designed to help people who have been hit by an emergency to make their home safe again or reinstate essential services.

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It offers more comprehensive cover than boiler breakdown insurance and can provide some peace of mind heading into the winter months when homes are at risks of central heating failure, burst pipes, electrical failure and roof damage caused by extreme weather.

Homeowners who find their home is flooded due to burst pipes or extreme weather conditions may find that with home emergency insurance they will be covered for alternative accommodation, should their home be under water.

How much cover will I get? 

Of those policies currently on the market, 54 per cent provide alternative accommodation for an unlimited number of nights but costs covered can be low. 

Some 11 per cent of these policies will only provide a total maximum of £100 to £200 towards the cost of alternative accommodation - in many places this won't get you somewhere particularly nice or cover you for a long period of time. 

Another 49 per cent will cover a maximum of £250 to £500, with 11 per cent offering £750 to £3,000 towards accommodation costs. Only 1 per cent will cover unlimited costs towards alternative accommodation. 

Brian Brown, of Defaqto, said: 'As the temperature starts to drop, having hot water and heating becomes a higher priority again. Modern boilers are expensive and the cost of having to replace one can be a nasty shock. 

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'If you don't have the funds to pay for this, then a boiler breakdown policy that includes boiler replacement could be a good option for you.

'Homeowners looking for a more comprehensive cover may find a home emergency policy provides greater comfort. However the extent of cover can be limited. So it's always worth checking the market to find a policy that's right for your circumstances.'

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