Understand the essence of boiler breakdown service and your options
No one wants to wash with ice water or stay in their cold home in winter. Therefore, if your heating appliance breaks down, the sooner you bring it up and running, the better. Your options for fixing your boiler breakdowns, apart from one-time repair services, are the following:
So, let’s discuss a cover issue for your gas boiler to get deeper into breakdown services it offers, understand its pitfalls, pros and cons.
Types of boiler service and breakdown covers
Basically, there are two cover types that differ with the number of services depending on the items they deal with:
However, each company develops its own plans and ranges them within these two bases. For example, for a gas boiler, a cover may split on the only breakdown servicing and a plan with initial inspection or annual service as well.
The tendency here is the wider the range of breakdown services a company provides within the cover, the higher its annual fees.
Typical boiler breakdown cover pitfalls
Choosing a cover for your heating device, be aware of its pitfalls. These pitfalls concern specific conditions and exclusions on which a company provides its services. Here are the most common of them:
Claim excess is a call-out fee a company charges every time you claim their assistance under the contract. First, a contractor may charge for a claim excess to prevent false call-outs. Second, this call-out fee compensates its labor and travelling expenses for an engineer getting to the site. In general, the exact excess amount varies from £50 to £99 depending on the company.
Though charging an excess is a widespread practice, you may find a company that doesn’t apply it. We can’t say whether no-excess practice affects the quality of their gas boiler care and breakdown services such company provides. Nor can we guarantee it will really benefit you.
First, if the company is a new entrant, it may run a no-excess policy to win its target audience. Second, the company may issue any other coverage conditions such as, for example, claim limits. Third, the company may charge greater annual coverage costs.
This is a period when you are not eligible to apply for any repairs. Usually it lasts from 14 to 30 days from the start of the contract. To clarify the nature of no-claims period, it is enough to mention two main things:
Unless a company charges excess, it usually limits the number of claims. Claim limits may grant up to 5 call-outs a year including annual boiler service request. However, you can find companies that enlarge your limits up to 10 call-outs and more.
Repair limits and boiler replacement
Reserving boiler service via a breakdown cover, consider its repair excess and conditions. With repair excess you have to pay parts and labour costs in case its amount exceeds set repair limit per claim. For example, some companies additionally charge for their labour if parts cost more than 75% of the replacement expenses.
As for replacement conditions, most contractors promise free-of-charge replacement for an appliance under 5-7 years. However, they contribute only £200-350 in case of replacing an older device. Imagine you need to replace your 7-year old gas combi appliance with a new one. Still, even with the cover, you will have to pay from your pocket up to 80% of its price and all works related to gas combi boiler installation.
Pros and cons of a boiler breakdown cover
As it says, there are two sides to every question. Therefore, we recommend you to compare your typical boiler service options and a breakdown cover with your needs to find the best solution.
Benefits you can get (pros)
First, it is good to have someone you can rely on. With a cover, you don’t need to cudgel your brains over deciding who to call for boiler repairs or servicing.
Second, you can be sure your call-out will be of the highest priority in case of emergency. As a company has got certain obligations, it is interested to fix the problem as soon as possible.
Third, if you will face major boiler breakdowns, your repair bills won’t be as hefty as they could be. Partly it is because the company, according to your agreement, won’t charge you for labours in full. Partly it is because your expenses are dispersed via monthly cover fees.
Opportunities you can miss (cons)
First, if the company you choose in fact is not as professional as it presented itself, you will be still bound to it by your agreement. Thus, you may miss an opportunity to entrust your heating appliance to more reliable contractor for better breakdown service.
Second, if your appliance will run all the year flawlessly, you will simply waste money. Maybe £160-250 is not a great fortune, but still, money doesn’t grow on trees.
Third, with so many conditions and exclusions, you may end up paying more money for minor fixes. It is especially true if your heating appliance is older than 7 years.
To conclude, it’s up to you decide. You may sign a breakdown cover agreement for your boiler care or apply for its repair and servicing on the terms of one off call-outs. Try to analyze your device condition and weigh the pros and cons basing on the results.
LE Company team