Oh no, winters approaching and I dread another one like last year.
Partly from the point of view that I hate the cold and the other thing is ‘bloomin’ boilers!
I have this debate with myself every year. Should I take out boiler insurance?
The costs of getting your boiler fixed can be astronomical. If the heat exchanger goes this could easily set you back £350. Unlike many running repairs, boilers tend to need to be fixed in a hurry.This means landlords often struggle to get the right guy in to fix the repair.
If the boiler goes in the middle of winter and your tenant is left with no heating or hot water yesterday isn’t quick enough. Rightly, you need to act promptly as legally it’s part of your responsibility to ensure the tenant has heating and hot water.
Getting a plumber in the middle of winter isn’t always easy; as I know from personal experience. Even worse for me this year is that my regular plumber has been forced from self-employment into employment and is now only availiable evenings and weekends.
I’m all too aware that as the Which report concluded in 2006 nearly one in every 3 boilers up to six years old breaks down.
Boiler insurance is available in various different forms. It’s possible to obtain it through the boiler manufacturer. I’ve got a large number of Worcester Bosch boilers and get insurance under their manufacturers scheme.
The other alternative is some landlord insurance providers are able to tack on boiler and central heating cover as part of the overall landlord insurance package.
Alternatively a popular option amongst landlords is to go for one of the packages offered by specialist utility companies.
The main landlord boiler insurance providers
There are a number of providers of landlord boiler insurance out there. Unfortunately, whilst it’s possible to use comparison websites like U-switch to compare domestic boiler insurance. There is nothing that I can find that makes direct comparison on landlord boiler insurance possible.
The main option if you don’t go with the insurance offered by your boiler manufacturer is to go with one of the specialist service companies. These are often utility businesses. The main ones I have found are:
Homeserve offer landlord and central heating insurance from £16.67 per month which makes them the cheapest I’ve come across. I’ve no experience at using them but having a look at the discussion forums they come out reasonably well. They have built themselves into a billion pound business over the last decade so I presume they are doing something right.
3. British Gas
Briitish gas service starts at £19 per month. This covers you for unlimited call out and parts and labour.
The downside for these schemes is that whilst you can pay monthly, they insist on a minimum of a 12 month contract. They are not stupid. Most of us otherwise would just elect for landlord boiler insurance for 3 months of the years from December through to the end of February. Some users of the scheme complain that once they take out the insurance every year the providers put up the costs.
Martin Lewis of moneysavingexpert has advised that rather than paying out a regular monthly payment for your boiler insurance you should just put the cash in the bank. The problem is how many of us are that disciplined to create our own boiler sinking fund.
For an interesting overview of the subject read the discussion thread.
Should I get landlord boiler insurance?
I’m still weighing it up. Last year after several boilers failed in quick succession I was ready to sign on the dotted line with Worcester Bosch only to be told I would have to take out the boxing around the boiler pipes before they would cover me. Given, I would then be left with a horrendous looking unboxed pipe work in my kitchen; together with the costs of making good. I thought sod it. I’ll take the risk again.
The main things to consider
There are two essential factors when deciding whether to get landlord boiler insurance. Firstly, the costs of repairing their boiler should it go wrong and secondly the hassle / convenience of trying to locate and employ an engineer to fix the problem.
Also how tight are your finances. If the boiler goes will you have the £200-300 available to replace the PCB?
What am I going to do?
Well I’m still debating. The chances are that I’ll sit and hope that this year things will be better and I’ll be lucky. Does that mean I’m too much of an optimistic landlord? Maybe, but you’ve got to have hope. However, if you don’t want the worry, hassle or don’t feel lucky then maybe boiler insurance is the way to go.
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