Do landlords need boiler cover?
OK, this isn’t exactly the sexiest article, but so many landlords waste money buying annual boiler cover, without actually realising what they’re paying for, that I think this is a useful topic to cover.
Many landlords believe that in taking out a service contract for their boiler they are paying for peace of mind because they think, sometimes incorrectly, that if the boiler goes on the blink, the company will send someone straight out to sort it out and it won’t cost any more than their monthly premium.
This isn’t necessarily the case.
Many of these policies provide emergency cover only, so they will only send someone out to repair the boiler if it is broken down, in other words, if the central heating or hot water has failed completely. They won’t repair a boiler with an intermittent or minor fault, even though it might get worse over time and eventually lead to a catastrophic failure.
Also, they don’t usually guarantee to send someone immediately, in fact, your tenant might have to wait up to five days sometimes longer, depending on the policy. That’s no fun in the middle of winter. Neither do they give specific times when an engineer will turn up, instead, annoyingly, they’ll give you a time between 8am and 5pm – so you or the tenant might have to wait around for an entire day.
Bear in mind too that some policies include an excess, so you’ll have to pay the first portion of the repair bill.
Some policies only cover the boiler, so if the problem is with your central heating system, i.e an airlock in a radiator, you’ll still have to pay for the repair.
Rather than taking out boiler cover, I’d recommend finding a good, local Gas Safe-registered heating engineer who you can rely on to come out swiftly in an emergency and not charge you the earth. Ask around for recommendations or find a local engineer at Gas Safe Register. Have the contact details for at least 2 engineers stored in your mobile so you can call them in an emergency.
If you do actually prefer the peace of mind of having emergency boiler cover (and if you’re letting your property via a council they might insist on one) go for a specialist landlord policy that includes an annual gas safety check and also an annual service – although check first that your boiler isn’t covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, as some (including Vaillant) provide a 7-year guarantee.
If you have other appliances in your rental property, such as washing machines and tumble dryers, you can get a single household policy to cover the lot, and usually for a lot less than taking out individual extended warranties for each one, but always check the T&Cs so you know exactly what you’re paying for.