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Why your boiler might be costing you thousands more over time than it should

You could end up paying thousands of pounds more than you need to for boiler cover, consumer group Which? is warning.

They say that many consumers would be better off paying for repairs and services as and when they need them.

The figures they provide make for startling reading.

Which? estimates that even in a scenario where people need a typical boiler repair every year for 10 years, they could still end up about £2,000 better off typically than if they took out annual boiler cover.

Amazingly, they say just 6 per cent of boiler owners would have benefited financially in the event of a repair if they had had boiler cover.

Almost half – 48 per cent – of people surveyed needed to call out a boiler repair person in the past five years, and those without cover paid an average of £107 per repair.

Yet with the average cost for an annual service being £80, the combined cost of paying when required was still £101 cheaper than the average annual boiler cover premium of £288, Which? said.

Indeed, more than a third of people surveyed reported that their boiler had not broken down at all in the past five years.

Sixteen per cent in the survey said they had boiler cover – but two-thirds of them said it was for reassurance, as a catastrophic boiler failure can cost thousands of pounds.

But Which? suggests people could instead set aside an emergency household repairs fund in case the boiler breaks down.

The consumer champion asked more than 7,000 of its members about their experiences of boiler repairs and services.

From the information gathered, they analysed costs to work out whether boiler cover or paying as you go is more cost-effective.

Harry Rose, editor of Which? Magazine, said: “Our analysis shows that boiler cover is rarely worth the money – with excessive premiums costing customers hundreds if not thousands of pounds more than if they paid for repairs and servicing themselves.

“If you have boiler cover for peace of mind, there are simple steps you can take to get a better deal. Don’t pay for cover you don’t need and check you’re not at risk of having to pay extra for unexpected exclusions like servicing.”

The survey also revealed that nearly a quarter of people who pay for boiler cover are still covered by the warranty.

Furthermore, if home emergency cover is included in a home insurance policy, either as standard or an optional extra, customers could be doubling up should they also have separate boiler cover.

Which? said most home emergency policies include some boiler repairs and sometimes even replacement, so it is worth consumers checking the terms of their policy.

They say customers should think about whether they are getting value for money from their policy.

If they decide to remain covered, they should check the levels of cover, shop around for other providers willing to offer a lower quote, or haggle with their provider when renewing policies.

Here are seven tips from Which? for keeping boiler costs down

1. Do not pay for boiler cover.

2. Set aside cash for repairs.

3. Have an annual service.

4. Keep your heating system in good repair.

5. Do not risk invalidating your warranty.

6. Do not double up on cover.

7. Buy a good quality brand of boiler.

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