Boilers are infamous for being temperamental, threatening to break down at any moment. Not only are they fickle, but they’re costly to fix and essential for hot water and heating. For landlords, the pressure of repairing a boiler quickly and efficiently is even higher, to ensure their tenants are warm, safe and have access to hot water.
Landlords not only have a duty of care to keep their properties safe and in working order, but they also have legal responsibilities when it comes to the boiler and gas appliances in buy-to-let properties.
Find out landlord boiler insurance can protect you and if you need it in the following sections:
- What is landlord boiler insurance?
- Do I need landlord boiler insurance?
- How does it work?
- What does landlord boiler insurance cover?
- How much does landlord boiler insurance cost?
- How to find a landlord boiler insurance policy
- What to look out for when choosing a landlord boiler insurance policy
- List of landlord boiler insurance providers
- Final thoughts & FAQs.
What is landlord boiler insurance?
Landlord boiler insurance can put landlords’ minds at ease, covering them financially for costly repairs, and providing them with approved engineers to respond quickly and reliably to boiler-related issues and problems. Landlord boiler insurance can include the necessary safety checks and documents to comply with legal regulations.
Many landlords choose to insure the properties that they rent out to tenants, sometimes known as buy-to-let properties. For most landlords, these policies cover buildings insurance and sometimes contents insurance, fixtures and fittings insurance as well as other optional extras including loss of rent or property owners’ liability insurance. However, a typical exclusion of landlord insurance products or conventional home insurance is boiler cover, leaving you unprotected should the boiler in your rental property pack up.
In detail boiler insurance is a specific type of cover which usually comes as an add-on to other forms of insurance for property owners and landlords, although some providers may offer standalone boiler insurance policies. If the boiler stops working or breaks down entirely in the property you rent out, landlord boiler insurance can pay for the repair costs or replacement of the boiler, minus the excess, up to the limit of the policy. Most boiler policies also provide a helpline for landlords to call if something goes wrong, where an approved engineer will be sent round to help.
How does it work?
There are three main routes to insuring your boiler as a landlord. These are:
- Boiler only insurance, which only covers the boiler and its controls. This option tends to be cheaper but excludes repair costs to your pipes or radiators.
- Boiler and central heating cover, which provides insurance for your full central heating system, including pipes, radiators and heating pumps. It’s more expensive but offers more comprehensive protection for what could otherwise be a costly repair bill.
- Home emergency, which covers a range of emergency problems you might have at your property, including issues with the boiler, plumbing, electrics or even home security. While this is a cheap and comprehensive option, claims tend to be limited to around £500, making it only suitable for small problems or minor repairs.
As far as the boiler and heating system is concerned, boiler and central heating cover tends to be the most comprehensive. It typically covers you against the broadest range of eventualities and is likely to save you the most money long-term on your boiler if anything goes wrong. That said, home emergency cover may also include other types of urgent issues at your rental property, which typically do not come under the scope of a boiler and central heating policy. It is worth considering which problems would cost you more to fix before you decide which type of insurance plan to take out.
What does landlord boiler insurance cover?
Boiler insurance for landlords typically covers the costs associated with repairing or replacing a faulty or damaged boiler in a buy-to-let property. Many policies also offer support for landlords, including approved mechanics, so that they can resolve the problem for their tenants as quickly as possible. Cover can include:
- the cost of calling out an engineer
- repair costs or the cost of replacement parts
- replacing the boiler, typically if it is damaged beyond repair or if it is more economical to buy a new one
- service or labour costs
- costs of repair to boiler controls
- the cost of annual boiler services and Gas Safety Inspections, required by law.
Most of these features come as standard with a boiler insurance policy. However, there are several additional features which may or may not come as standard, which you can typically add on to your policy for an extra cost, such as:
- cover for the gas supply pipe
- home electrics
- other gas appliances
- carbon monoxide testing
- protection for the full central heating system
- sometimes, the cost of supplying tenants with portable heaters while the boiler is undergoing repair.
Not all causes of boiler breakdown qualify for cover under a boiler insurance policy. For most providers, coverage applies for any boiler breakdowns caused by:
- a rupture or crack in the heat exchanger
- valves failing
- seals leaking
- circuit board faults
- expansion vessel failure.
Some policies also come with an annual boiler service to check the condition of your boiler and prevent malfunctions or breakdowns before they happen.
Does boiler insurance cover all types of boiler?
You can find cover for almost any type of boiler, such as a conventional gas boiler, condensing gas, combination, oil and solid fuel boiler.
You may need to find specialist cover for an oil fired boiler. Limits typically apply to the age of the boiler, rather than the model, with most insurers refusing to cover boilers more than 15 years old, though some providers have lower limits. Check with each insurance provider to find out whether they can cover your system.
Bear in mind, the older your boiler, the more expensive it will be to insure. You may have particular difficulty finding insurance for your boiler if it is more than seven years old. In these cases, insurance providers typically require a boiler inspection from a Gas Safe registered engineer before they agree to cover your boiler. It might be cheaper in the long term to get a new boiler if yours is too old to insure, as you could face huge costs if your boiler packs up without insurance in place.
Are there any key exclusions?
A landlord boiler insurance policy typically excludes any boiler breakdowns which are the result of wear and tear, for example, if the boiler is particularly old.
Most insurers will also not cover your boiler if the damage is covered under warranty, guarantee or your maintenance agreement. Along the same vein, most insurers won’t cover you if you breach the terms of your warranty, guarantee or maintenance contract that would have otherwise covered the boiler damage.
Do I need landlord boiler insurance?
Boiler cover is not a legal requirement for landlords. However, landlords are required by law to hold a valid Gas Safety Certificate if they rent out a property. Some companies refer to the LGSR (the Landlord Gas Safety Record), and it is sometimes known in the trade as the CP12 certificate. This requirement is part of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, which also stipulates that landlords must arrange annual checks to be carried out on all of the gas appliances fittings and flues in their rental properties. These checks ensure the gas appliances are safe and in working order.
Most landlord boiler insurance packages include these yearly checks, known as annual servicing, and the Gas Safety certificate as standard. Therefore, while boiler insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it can keep you legally compliant by covering the cost of annual servicing and Gas Safety inspections, as well as offer financial cover to foot the bill for an expensive repair or replacement costs.
Do I need boiler insurance if I have a manufacturer warranty?
While manufacturer warranty is a good thing to have, relying solely on a warranty might leave you in a tight spot later down the line. A warranty only lasts for a certain number of years and may become void if your boiler faults or breaks down due to physical damage or limescale.
If you are going to rely solely on a warranty, make sure you know exactly what types of malfunction are covered, and for1 how long.
How much does landlord boiler insurance cost?
The price of your policy will depend on several factors, including the boiler’s age, the size of your property and the level of cover you choose. Whether it’s a standalone policy or an add-on feature to an existing plan will also affect the price. Boiler insurance tends to range from £5 to £20 a month. Replacing a boiler could set you back over £4,000, so it’s well worth considering the investment to save you a shock further down the line.
When shopping around for boiler insurance, don’t always take the quote at face value. When comparing prices, bear in mind that the cheapest option may have a reduced level of cover or a higher excess fee, which may cost you more in the long run. It’s a good idea to check out boiler cover reviews online, too, before you purchase a policy.
How to find a landlord boiler insurance policy
Unlike other forms of commercial insurance, there are only really two main routes for landlords to find boiler insurance for their rental properties. The first option is to go down the traditional way of finding an insurance company to cover your boiler, either by approaching the insurer directly, using a broker or finding a package on a comparison website. Alternatively, most energy suppliers and gas and electricity companies offer boiler insurance as part of your energy deal.
Approaching insurers directly
Landlord boiler insurance is a popular add-on to other landlord insurance products offered by most insurance providers. You can find most landlord insurance products online through each insurer’s website, where you can generate an online quote and see the features of each policy.
Alternatively, you can phone insurers directly to discuss your options with an adviser, who will be able to find you a suitable level of cover.
Going through a broker
Brokers tend to have a bad rep, and often undeservedly. Brokers have vast amounts of industry experience, as well as specialist knowledge of a range of insurance packages. They will be able to help you find a tailored policy suited to your business and can help you build a landlord policy that includes boiler cover, or find you a standalone product.
Brokers typically have access to lower prices than customers who purchase insurance directly, saving you effort, time and money, even after the broker has taken their cut of the commission. Not only that, but brokers can be a helpful intermediary if you have a dispute with your insurer regarding a claim, owing to their authority, expertise and experience.
Another good place to start when shopping around for landlord boiler insurance is on a comparison website.
As landlord boiler insurance often comes as an additional feature to a more comprehensive policy, it’s not always easy to compare prices at face value. Comparison websites give you an overview of the features of each plan and the benefits of each provider without having to spend time researching insurers individually.
Another way to find boiler insurance cover is to go through your energy supplier. Most gas and electricity companies can offer boiler insurance as part of an energy deal. It can be more convenient to do it this way, as you can handle all boiler-related matters such as servicing, repairs, meter readings and energy consumption all in one place. However, energy suppliers tend to be more expensive than insurers.
What to look out for when choosing a boiler insurance policy
There are several things to keep in mind when looking for a boiler insurance policy for your buy-to-let property:
- First of all, you should check whether the plan comes with a cap on the number of call-outs landlords can make. Some of the cheaper policies may limit the number of times you can call out a mechanic per year, which can make it less cost-effective if you have multiple issues with your boiler in one policy term.
- Another thing to watch out for is whether there are any other limits to labour time or parts. Some policies may restrict call-outs to one hour, which may not be enough time to finish a job, which could leave the landlord liable to pay the remaining fee for the mechanic. Similarly, if a job requires several new parts, but the policy will only pay for one, the landlord could find the claim more expensive than they expected.
- Other things to consider are whether repairs come with a guarantee. Usually, insurers will provide approved mechanics to carry out repair work on your boiler. If this is the case, try to opt for policies where the work comes with a guarantee, so that you don’t have to make another claim if the boiler faults after a shoddy repair job.
- You should also check how long it takes for a engineer to come out if there’s an incident. The quicker you can get your tenants back with warmth and hot water, the better.
Finally, take some time to consider how cost-effective each plan is. While the cheapest insurance may seem attractive, if the insurer demands a high excess and limited cover, you may find yourself worse off than if you had invested in a policy with a higher premium.
Final thoughts & FAQs
Buy-to-let property can be a lucrative way to invest your money, earning you a sizeable monthly return. However, without insurance, a simple problem can dash your profits and even leave you out of pocket. Boilers are the bane of any homeowner’s life – and when you add tenants into the mix, a boiler breakdown is an even more pressing problem.
Boiler cover can offer peace of mind to landlords and tenants alike, ensuring the occupants are never without hot water or heating for long. Having boiler cover in place as a landlord can remove the financial burden and hassle of finding qualified mechanics and can even help you fulfil your legal requirements, with the option to include the Gas Safety Certificate and annual service.
What’s the difference between landlord boiler cover and homeowner boiler cover?
Boiler cover for homeowners typically includes repairs for the boiler and its controls, an annual boiler service and several call-outs per year. Landlords get largely the same deal but tend to have more call-outs. The principal difference is that landlords receive a Landlord Gas Safety Record, which is a legal requirement for landlords in the UK and proves that you have had the gas appliances in your rental property checked annually.
Do I need a registered gas engineer for safety checks?
Whether through insurance or not gas safety checks must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
You can verify whether an engineer is Gas Safe registered by checking the online register, or you can ask to see their Gas Safe register certificate. This document is an ID card showing the engineer’s photo, the start and expiry date of their registration, their Gas Safe Register licence number, the company employing the engineer, and a security hologram.
What is an annual service visit?
An annual service visit is a yearly health check-up for your boiler. It should be carried out by a Gas Safe engineer who will check the boiler and controls and inspect the internal components to check that everything is in working order. Landlord boiler cover products typically come with an annual service included, as well as a Landlord Gas Safety Certificate.
What is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)?
Anybody who rents to the council needs a full electrical inspection for their rental property. This report proves that the check has taken place, and is a legal requirement for landlords renting to the council in Scotland and England. Many gas and electricity companies will offer this service, including safety inspection and a condition report.
Can I switch to a different insurer later on?
You don’t have to renew your insurance with the same provider every year. In fact, customers typically save money if they compare prices at renewal and switch to a cheaper deal, as many providers offer discounts to new customers. It’s sensible to wait until your policy expires before you change plans, to save yourself having to pay a cancellation fee if you leave before your contract is up.