Should you invest in home emergency or boiler cover? I don’t think so. It’s far better to save up in case of a rainy day yourself rather than pay for overpriced and ridiculously limited cover.
The cold and wet August may not have come as a big surprise to many of us, although it’s still frustrating to have to turn on the central heating. To discover that it refuses to work is doubly irritating. To then find out that your insurer won’t send someone to sort it out during July and August would be even harder to stomach, especially when you’ve paid extra for boiler insurance.
Cost of home emergency cover
Our investigation into home emergency and boiler cover in the October issue of Which? magazine revealed a multitude of baffling exclusions and limitations like this.
And then there’s the cost. Some providers introduce exorbitant price hikes after the first ‘special offer’ year; some carry excesses of £150 or more. Which? members fork out an average of £245 a year on boiler-servicing contracts, even though an annual service only costs around £70, and many policies won’t cover boilers over a certain age anyway.
Is emergency cover worth it?
The majority of you with boiler or home emergency cover say you’ve taken it out for peace of mind. I can understand why. I had it before I joined Which? (but never claimed), then I read what poor value it was, didn’t renew and haven’t looked back.
For me, ‘peace of mind’ has become one of those buzzwords used by marketeers to encourage us to pay more, and usually get less…
‘Get the ultimate peace of mind with a three-year warranty for £200’ (*even though the soundbar you bought only cost £150). ‘Pay £30 a month into a 50-plus account so you can live with the peace of mind that it will pay for your funeral’ (*but if you miss one payment your family won’t get anything). ‘Pay £250 extra for home emergency cover and you’ll have the peace of mind that you’ll get help if your house is falling down’ (*as long as it doesn’t happen in June and no one’s left any lights on).
With their ridiculous exclusions, limitations and high costs, home emergency and boiler cover can join my list of ‘added extras’ (think mobile phone insurance and extended product and car warranties) that often just aren’t worth it.
It’s far better to save money each month into an emergency fund and draw on it for repairs if you need to. You may feel you’re taking a gamble, but I’d say you’re in for a welcome surprise.