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Anyone know a lot about indemnity insurance on boilers for a house I'm looking to buy?

(27 Posts)
howow Wed 29-Apr-20 15:00:15

Anyone know a lot about indemnity insurance on boilers for a house I'm looking to buy?
Seller doesn't have a safety compliance certificate for it so solicitor suggested an indemnity policy in place of this.

1) Will I, as the buyer, have any disadvantages as the result of having an indemnity policy rather than the safety and compliance certificate?

2)Does it have any legal implications depending on whether the seller or buyer pays for the indemnity e.g. a legal responsibility.

3) What is covered/not covered usually by indemnity policy for the boiler?

Any detailed experiences on it all would be great, especially if you had to claim on it.

Thank you.

GU24Mum Wed 29-Apr-20 16:19:07

An indemnity policy will cover you for loss if there is an issue but won't help you if the boiler explodes.

As a general rule, if it's a compliance type issue (don''t have the right certificates for something etc) then insurance is helpful. If it's potentially a safety issue I'd want to know it's OK rather than have a policy.

GU24Mum Wed 29-Apr-20 16:20:04

I meant to say won't help you in that you'd still potentially be injured - if the choice is being able to claim on a policy versus it not happening, it's not a hard choice!

MissLemon18 Wed 29-Apr-20 17:09:39

Ooh following with interest as this is an issue currently holding up our purchase!

Loofah01 Wed 29-Apr-20 17:11:23

Get your vendors' solicitor to get a quote for it and see what's covered. I think I've had to do this before because I hadn't serviced the boiler and the buyers went all pale faced about it. Wasn't expensive and made the deal.
If you're concerned on safety then make them get a gas safe check done. Simples.

PragmaticWench Wed 29-Apr-20 17:31:33

Surely it's easier, and certainly safer (for you!) for them just to have it serviced and checked?

MissLemon18 Wed 29-Apr-20 17:57:06

OP have you had struggles with getting the sellers to agree to have it serviced? Our sellers have said they're struggling to find a gas engineer to call out to do it. House is empty though and when I rang on Tuesday I found a few local engineers who said they'd be happy to do it ASAP.

Not broached it yet with sellers as going through solicitors. Starting to wonder if there's something more to it...

sbplanet Wed 29-Apr-20 18:32:37

Just take a risk on the boiler not working, house-buying old style?!

PigletJohn Wed 29-Apr-20 18:36:17

The insurance will be less useful, and perhaps more expensive, than having the boiler inspected.

Is this a rental house?

If not, why do you think a certificate is required?

PigletJohn Wed 29-Apr-20 18:37:19

"safety compliance" does not mean it is in good working order.

Treacletoots Wed 29-Apr-20 18:42:50

A standard boiler inspection and safety certificate for my house (and the same for my rental house) costs me £50.

The indemnity policy is really not worth the paper it's printed on and seems to be almost a side business for lawyers. When we sold our 200 year old cottage, we were asked to pay for the indemnity for the flying freehold, we refused because we'd already paid for one when we moved in, and felt it was the buyers choice, given that there had never been an issue with it. Same goes for boilers.

I'd get it serviced or ask the owners to do it, it's not an unreasonable request and if they refused without a good reason I'd question what was wrong with the boiler. (again, can be fixed easily but you do want to know what you're getting yourself into) . Plumbers ARE working right now, we've had a leak in our new house we've had to get fixed.

howow Wed 29-Apr-20 21:40:09

Thanks everyone for your replies.

With regards to the boiler service, I asked them to do it for this year a few months ago and they did it very quickly and sent me a the service report sheet (as an online scanned pdf) showing all OK but a few weeks ago, my solicitor asked theirs whether the boiler had been serviced and at first the seller told them he hadn't and now he's saying that he has but he doesn't have any documentation to prove this. That sounds fishy to me as he sent me a copy of the boiler service record so now I'm worried it's fraudulent / something fishy. As the sellers are now also refusing to pay the indemnity cover despite it being less than £100. @Treacletoots

lucyposting Wed 29-Apr-20 21:45:13

Honestly... just buy it and get your own check on the day you move in. It won't cost much and you will be safe/have peace of mind.

MissLemon18 Wed 29-Apr-20 22:05:59

We have a similar issue - the boiler in the house we're buying was serviced in 2018 but hasn't been since. The surveyor noted that the boiler wasn't working properly and so we want assurance from a safety point of view and from a cost point of view. If the boiler is on its way out, it's an expensive thing to replace. I was fleeced as a ftb with similar issue and boiler broke on the day I moved in.

friendlycat Wed 29-Apr-20 22:50:32

The thing is that you are buying the house and the plot it sits on with garden if applicable. Even with a service on the boiler it can still break down the day after. An indemnity insurance policy on a boiler is meaningless. Yes ask for it to be serviced prior to exchange but as I said that could still mean nothing. Unless new and still in guarantee boilers are one of those things that may always need to be budgeted for. In one of my flats there was a new Potterton boiler in as part of the refurb but it broke down 7 times within the first year under guarantee. Once out of guarantee I had to replace it as it was so bad. Don’t get too hooked up on the boiler and I mean that kindly.

Treacletoots Thu 30-Apr-20 07:37:46

I can see why you're concerned. The problem with buying houses is that there's so many people getting involved that it becomes a bit like Chinese whispers.

Estate agent says x, solicitor says xx, when in fact the vendor hasn't a clue (I can personally vouch this happened to us recently)

When buying our last 2 houses the only way it moved forward was when we spoke to and met the buyers directly. We were able to discuss face to face any concerns that could have gone back and forth between solicitors for weeks. We also kept in contact afterwards to push the sale though so none of the solicitors could try and fob us off saying they were waiting on the buyer etc.

Agree with above. An indemnity policy is not worth the paper it's written on and a boiler is part of the house you're buying that unless you move on very quickly, there's a big chance you'll have to replace at some point. If you really like the house, please don't get fixated on this one small (but important) part and get in touch directly with the sellers. You'll be glad you did.

Loofah01 Thu 30-Apr-20 09:31:20

If you had the evidence already then why did the solicitor ask for the same evidence again?

You could always say pay the £100 for the policy or take £2000 off the agreed price for a new boiler.

I guess the easiest way though is to check if the appliance was notified after then alleged check. It costs £6 -

howow Thu 30-Apr-20 11:33:53

@Loofah01 I had a look at that link and entered the address of the property but it comes back saying it hasn’t be notified for that address.

The lawyer asked the seller for the boiler service report as it’s part of their checks during the transaction. They were not aware that I had already asked the seller to do the service a few months ago and so was sent the paperwork by the seller.

I did used to contact the seller directly but feel he is comfortable to tell me outright lies whereas he’s a lot more cautious when it comes to the solicitors (think as they’re legal bods, he’s afraid his lies will get caught out) so in the end surprisingly it works our quicker via lawyers as at least my time doesn’t get wasted on blatant lies from the seller.

Muchlywrong Thu 30-Apr-20 13:12:54

If you have been sent a gas service record, there should be the registration number of the engineer who did the job on it. It may be best to look them up on the gas safe register website and contact them for clarity over what has been done. For the purchase of the house, all you should really need is a gas safety record, this is less comprehensive than a service, but will at least let you know that the boiler is operating safely

ChipotleBlessing Thu 30-Apr-20 18:23:45

So the boiler wasn’t installed by a GasSafe Engineer, the seller has sent you a fake service record and you’re now considering indemnity insurance? Honestly, you’re going to need to get a new boiler fitted on day one. There’s no way it’s safe. And I’d be wondering about what else is unsafe.

Send a copy of the service record he gave you to your solicitor and ask them to ask about it.

howow Fri 01-May-20 16:09:44

@ChipotleBlessing @Muchlywrong
No record on how the boiler was installed. Supposedly was installed a 20-30 years ago, looks fairly new-ish to my untrained eye but has not been registered as compliant so feel they may have installed it on the cheap years ago from a non-gas safe engineer.

Seller claimed to me she did a boiler service but only did a gas safety check. He is a registered gas safety engineer who did the check but he could have done it mates rates and polished the truth a little which may explain the seller pretending not to have any documentation for the check/service when lawyers ask for it despite sending it to me.

Muchlywrong Fri 01-May-20 16:28:28

Installation details don't really matter, in all honesty, after the first year. Unless you are looking for it to still be covered under warranty, a gas safety record will take precedent over anything else. It is an engineer guaranteeing that they have inspected and done tests on the boiler and all these tests/the state of the boiler are up to current regulations and requirements. If they have passed it as safe, you could always suggest that you get an engineer you trust in to inspect it, or inspected after you move in. Obviously, if your engineer finds major faults with it, that weren't put on the safety record, then the sellers engineer would be at risk of losing their registration, facing a fine and/or going to prison as well as likely having to pay for any corrections. I wouldn't do it myself, because you stand to lose so much, even if you are cleared, as your registration is suspended during the period of investigation.

Howow Fri 01-May-20 17:14:54

Thanks @Muchlywrong - will the engineer still be seen as at fault even if the safety cert was a few months ago? Could they not argue that it has broken down/got a safety defect since they have it the ‘all ok’?

Muchlywrong Fri 01-May-20 17:29:47

The test results may be different from a few months ago, but it shouldn't be by enough to be dangerous. A safety certificate should cover you for 12 months, as such. The problem you're worrying about I imagine, is that you don't know how true the copy provided to you is. As I said, you should be able to get the details of the engineer who provided the certificate, from the gas safe register by searching with their gas safe number. It would be sensible to contact them for clarity on the certificate and to check that the certificate is up to date. Also, if you check this it tells you all that is required by law under gas regs for buying and selling.
To be honest, this is the first time I've heard of a solicitor worrying about boiler service records or anything. Friends moved in to a house two years ago with no service records. Boiler was 28 years old and the last sign of anything being touched on it was back in 2010. It was oil, so slightly different to gas, but nothing complied with regs at all.

Howow Fri 01-May-20 21:39:53

Thank you @Muchlywrong

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