Boiler/heating system breakdown insurance


As our system is now over 3 years old I am about to take out breakdown insurance. The question is with who? Any feedback, good or bad appreciated.
Mike
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Muddymike wrote:

Mike,
Many people will differ, but I have had a British gas three star maintenance (Home Care 200) contract for a long time now and find them quite good when things go wrong.
They are not the cheapest (my premium this year was 206 [including a no-usage bonus and 6 DD discount]), but neither do they have limits on the number of call outs or cost of spares (but they will not replace defective boilers though if they are un-repairable).
When you have a look around, make sure that you compare like for like with the various companies that offer this service as my own research has found that almost all of the 'private' ones put a cap on the amount they will cover for spares and labour.
Cash
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Why have you bought products that keep going wrong! Are you just unlucky or did you buy them from BG? When you say "go wrong" do you mean you don't know how to use the product and just ring to say "it's broken again" or is it an actual electrical or mechanical problem - or did you request a call and suddenly problems were found and claimed for. That is a fairly good scam at the moment. BG sell overpriced products and warranties, have a look at consumer sites and also the forums on the Martyn Lewis Money Saving Expert site.

Oh dear, you have fallen for the "D WORD", discount. How many people are also this thick that they will not shop around and then respond to flyers or calls from BG which are misleading. So you pay 206 per year minimum- are you mad. In 3 years you could have had a bit of interest on that money in a bank account and ONLY used a fraction of it IF the boiler ever developed a REAL fault. You say there is a "no-usage" refund, so that means you have been paying MORE than 206 a year. You must be mad, really mad! It's money down the drain - why buy a warranty for something that is already guaranteed under EU Law?

No wonder, they are getting a fortune from people like you to cover their costs and they promise you a reduction if you don't ever call them, so you don't ! I like the sound of the warranty business.

No, because then they lose the money you have paid them. What would be the point of taking money if they had to pay it all back! By putting that money away in a savings account you could pay for your own boiler after 3 years. BG will often find your boiler can't be repaired after a few years of premiums because they want to sell you a nice new one. BG were caught out in the latest scheme which gives people up to a 400 grant towards a new boiler with a particular energy saving rating. They were charging up to 1400 for a boiler that local independant companies were charging 450. Fitting and supply from BG was nearly 3 times as much as local company quotes. It's all on the Martyn Lewis site, facts & figures.

But the others not supplied by BG are a lot cheaper. You have been well and truly taken in by misleading wording on flyers designed to get people all worried. It's called sales and marketing. BG do a very good job of getting new customers this way. My local water company used to send flyers stating pipes would break under driveways etc and it would cost thousands to repair. They were warned not to lie this way. It is a thing aimed at the genuinely thick and also older vulnerable people who are scared in to paying up when they don't need to.
A few examples of how much I saved -
Washer/dryer - refused to pay for an additional parallel warranty in the 1st year as it was covered by the manufacturer. Saved 240. Year 2, refused an invitation to pay 30 a month and saved 360. So 600 saved in 2 years. The washer dryer only cost 329 as I saved 100 buying online instead of paying 429 in Currys.
DVD/HD recorder, refused 1st year parallel warranty for 20 a month as it was covered by the manufacturer. Saved 240 again. Year 2 I was invited to pay 28 a month, saved 336. Total saved 576. The DVD/HD recorder only cost 170.
TV, refused to pay for a parallel 1st year warranty for 30 per month so saved 360 again. Year 2 I was asked to pay 35 a month so saved another 420. Total saved in 2 years is 780. The TV was only 400.
So add that up for 3 items and by not paying for additional warranties I saved 1956 over 2 years which is roughly 81 a month. That went in to a high interest savings account and is more than enough to buy all those items again with a better specification and have change left over - and I could get a new boiler!
See what i am getting at? Add it up and decide whether or not you are being conned by companies.

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IanT wrote:

I know exactly what I am doing - and I do *NOT* buy cheap goods that go wrong,
>When you say "go wrong" do you

Now may get involed in 'scams' I don't - as for the rest of the above, nearly 50 years (as a tradesman) in the building repairs industry has probably given me more knowledge on how to deal with problems than you'll ever learn.
BG sell overpriced products and warranties,
Agreed, but at least I get the service I pay for and not - "well that'll cost you 500 for a heat exchanger" when all that is wrong is a dodgy igniter have

I have, and I wasn't impressed. Yes you will get things "cheaper" - until you start looking at like-for-like and at some of T&Cs regarding these bargain.

talking through your hat - I dealt with BG in a professional capacity long before Thatcher privatised them.
So you pay 206 per year

Not mad, just don't listen to the bullshit and paranoia that people like you spout.

Again, you are spouting bullshit - see my post to you further down and do a bit of real research before making silly statements,

I get exactly what I pay for - peace of mind and 24/7 coverage.

Not in my experience - in fact, they maintained my previous boiler right up until spares became unavailable for it (and I knew that, because again, I had professional contacts within Potterton).
BG were caught out in the latest scheme

Yep, it can be done cheaper - and if something goes wrong with the "cheaper" version, then your out on a limb to get it resolved.

You are rather paranoid with all this ranting aren't tyou?

You seemed to have saved a lot on "warranties" but so have I, (I don't buy extended warranties on electrical goods (or any other for that matter [1]) but have you paid the full advertised price for the items?
I bet you have, but I haven't, I always haggle the price down for cash, and if I can't get a minimum of %15 off either the advertised selling price [2] (or given the equivalent in freebees) then I simply walk away to the next shop.
[1] And I only pay BG and Britannia for breakdown cover
[2] Including sale prices.
Cash
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Big snip

My boiler (and this is really tempting fate) is 18.5 years old and has broken down only once and cost just over 200 to fix.
so the warranty (insurance really) at 200 would have been a bad buy for me.
I have also had it serviced a few times so another couple of hundred pounds in total.
So I always refuse warranties and 'pay as I go' But then I keep some money aside in case of trouble.
Not saying my way is best, it just suits me.
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I don't take expensive extended warranties/insurance on anything else. My problem is two fold. I often work away from home and sods law is that is when things I could fix myself break down. We have a holiday letting apartment attached to the house and paying guests expect the heating and hot water to work.
The gas boiler in question was installed by a highly recommended local firm 3.5 years ago, the owner of which sadly died last year leading to the demise of the business so I have no comeback now its out of manufacturers warranty. A circuit board costing 250 failed last month whilst I was away and I struggled to find someone to fix it quickly. I am told it can easily happen again.
So if you pay for extended cover I am very interested to hear about the good and the bad.
Mike
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Muddymike wrote:

Under those conditions, perhaps insurance is worth it especially as you can make it a legit expense against profits from the letting which should make it cheaper - just overlook the fact that it has some advantage to your dwelling as well as the apartment.
Bob
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[Default] On Fri, 15 Jan 2010 13:39:28 -0000, a certain chimpanzee,
and wrote:

I took out Ideal's cover via Homeserve for my mother. Not good.
As my mother is in her eighties and not really able to look after herself any more, and I live 30 miles from her, I needed one that I could call if the heating broke down and be assured that they would call out the same day, and they could give me an approximate time that they would be there so I wouldn't have to take an entire day off work. Homeserve ain't that. one rings up in the morning, and occasionally gets through. then the best they can do is say, "the engineer will ring you when he's on his way". Even when I make it clear that they need to ring ME, NOT my mother (did I explain that she's in her eighties and increasingly dotty?), they ring my mother about half-an-hour before they arrive, which, if she remembers to ring me, or doesn't ring my home number when I'm at work, means a mad dash down the M62 for me.
These cover plans are basically insurance, and you only need insurance for the risks that you can't afford to bear. I think the prevailing view on this group is that you should save up all those monthly premiums and pay for the repairs as and when needed. You'll almost certainly be in profit.
--
Hugo Nebula
"If no-one on the internet wants a piece of this,
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Why bother? It will be cheaper to buy a new one in the long run. Levels of efficiency move on and your boiler might last another 10 years. At what point will you stop paying out each month and keep throwing money away. The cost of a repair is often less than your whole premium for a year. Use some common sense and do NOT give in to emotional blackmail. I get flyers each week telling me my boiler is about to break down, British Gas seem to be the experts at scamming and putting fear in to people who have no intelligence and are weak. Follow the advice of others on many forums and newsgroups. Pay the money in to a high interest savings account if it makes you feel better. Get a reputable company to carry out any repairs. Make sure you are not being ripped off and try to use local firms that have a good reputation. Trading Standards publish a leaflet of trusted local people in each area. Anyone not in that directory is not included for a good reason! I calculated that if I had paid premiums for the last 5 years for a boiler I would have paid more than the cost of a new one. The same for all the elctrical goods I have and use for years without a problem. If a company needs to push a warranty at the time of sale or at the end of the first year then that product is crap. Under EU Law all items must last a reasonable time, so claims can still be made from the company up to 5 years from the time of purchase.
Do a bit of research and if any flyers arrive, bin them. If any high pressure sales people phone or call on you - tell them to get stuffed. People selling warranty products make a fortune and in shops they will lie to get you to buy them, especially shops like PC World and Currys. Learn to say no, calculate the amount you will pay and get real.
If you are a weak person who gives in to emotional blackmail then send me 30 a month and I will reassure you each week by phone.
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Agreed. I don't bother. Sure, if there is a problem with the boiler, we call out our trusty plumber, and I sit worrying about what it will cost, he goes off to buy something expensive sounding, works for a couple of hours, and charges us something sub-100. That's happened twice since we've been here - and that's 5.5 years now. I bet insurance would have cost me far more than that.
I always believe that insurance is for one party's benefit. And across all policies that I could possibly arm myself with, the party to benefit won't be me.
JW
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IanT wrote:

Reassurances are no good when the old boiler breaks down on a cold night and you *CANNOT* get it fixed for a least a fortnight because all the 'independants' are busy, can't be bothered or simply plain rip-off merchants. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IanT,
And as for your statement "Under EU Law all items must last a reasonable time, so claims can still be made from the company up to 5 years from the time of purchase" then you are incorrect.
The "EU law" is far weaker than the UK Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) and both only cover inherent, latent defects in manufacture and materials [1] (up to 2 years in the EU, 6 years in England and Wales and 5 in Scotland).
They *DO* *NOT* cover wear and tear - where a typical 'insurance cover/exended warranty' will.
And you *DO* *NOT* make claims from the company (I presume you mean the manufacturer of the item) the contract is with the supplier of the goods (no matter what bullshit these suppliers tell you) - unless it is mutually agreed between the parties to amend that.
As for "extended warranties" - then to a certain extent you are correct, but even there the UK laws have now changed with the selling of these.
[1] Which you have to prove at your own expense if something goes wrong after the first six months from date of purchase.
Cash
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I think it depends on your personal circumstances, quality of local traders, and the condition of your installation (accepting that new can and does break down too).
Oh........and just how lucky/unlucky you are!
Insurance backed cover is a waste for non essential stuff - I'd agree with that.
But for critical stuff like your boiler, I for one can't guarantee to not be away on business if the worst happens, so mine is on cover too (with BG as it happens - I found them to be good when we had a programmable room stat fail last year). I had a spare manual stat so could have done a temp fix in minutes, but Mrs Midge couldn't and that is my point.
Previous to this a very reputable and well known local C/H company changed a failed thermocouple on my previous boiler. They arrived quickly, didn't charge excessively for it - but then charged me for a boiler service they simply didn't do.
Midge.

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Midge wrote:

Let's see... We've been here 15 years and in that time the boiler has been through 2 fans. I've also swapped the heating pump out (free one off freecycle - the old one was getting noisy) and had a plumber in to swap the hot tank out because the coil was leaking. Total cost.. not sure but definitely under a grand.
15 years at 200 a year? That's three grand isn't it?
If the boiler goes phut tonight it's washed its face. I'll put the immersion on tomorrow (the new one, in the new tank!) light the fire in the lounge and get the electric heater back out of the garage. Probably pop by Argos and buy a cheap fan heater. _Then_ get quotes for a new boiler - if the fault isn't obvious. I'm not likely to be away - I don't travel much these days - so I can carry the risk. Long term it _has_ paid off even if it all goes wrong today.
Andy
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I think it makes a difference how old the boiler is as to how you decide about cover. Mine is a 16 year old WB combi, a good make but it has been virtually rebuilt over the years under cover from WB and now B/Gas. The thing is that modern condensing boilers are a more complex product, no one really knows what their long term reliability is yet, but it's fair to assume that a breakdown could be expensive if it involves new parts. BG charge around 12 a month, if you get a major failure the cost of repair could be far more than 120 for parts alone, it also covers a comprehensive annual service. In my experience the BG engineers are better than the WB engineers. If you have got cover you know that you can call an engineer out at short notice and your boiler should be fixed very quickly which is obviously important in the type of extreme low temperatures we have just had. 120 a year is less than car tax and it's covering probably the most vital piece of equipment in your home. The old boilers could be very reliable it's true, but they were also probably hopelessly inefficient and the days of DIY boiler maintenance are now not possible or legal.
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As I said below, I took out emergecy insurance which covers houshold electrics , boiler, plumbing etc, All for 5 / month which is very reasonable. I have only had it 3 months and had a man out 3 times now with no problems at all. Last visit replaced fan on heatline boiler.
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Either you are being woefully overcharged on the original product to which you have added the 5/month, or this new insurance product isn't going to pay for much. Over ten years, you'll have paid just 600 to insure everything electrical and plumbing related. That said, if it really will cover everything, maybe we should all get cover. Who is it with?
JW
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John Whitworth wrote:

I got the home and contents cover from Saga (go compare, and it was cheaper than my last one) I have been with them 2 year. In the first year next door had a hut fire, it burnt my fence down and my hut tools fishing tackle the lot. Quickly replaced and payed for some of the tackle they could not get. I think they dread me phoning them. I have cost them a lot so far,especially with the 5 top up
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That Saga emergency cover looks reasonably good, but (being under 50), not sure I qualify! It does state clearly that "this is not a maintenance contract", and it also states that it doesn't cover where equipment hasn't been maintained according to manufacturers recommendations. So I suppose that binds you to a separate service for boiler which BG normally covers.
Midge.

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Midge wrote:

No they asked me if it had been serviced, said can't remember . still did the job

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