British Gas HomeCare: is it worth it?

papernest disclaims that they are not in partnership with British Gas

papernest disclaims that they are in partnership with British Gas

Summary: Whatever it is you’re worried about, British Gas HomeCare is intended to provide a safety net. The question is whether that safety net is effective and whether the cost is one which is worth paying. We take a look at British Gas HomeCare and exactly what customers get for their money.

Last updated: February 2021

When most people think about spending on energy they think about the cost of their monthly or quarterly bills, but British Gas HomeCare is a form of insurance which covers other expenses. When customers take out a British gas HomeCare policy they do so because they’re worried.

  • They might be worried that their boiler is going to break down.
  • They might be worried that their heating system is on its last legs.
  • They might be worried about the cost of replacing ageing household appliances.

What is British Gas HomeCare?

In simple terms, British Gas HomeCare covers the cost of servicing, maintenance and repairs for gas boilers and heating systems. If you’ve got a gas boiler then costs of this kind are inevitable at some point, but the question is whether the services provided by British Gas HomeCare measure up to the other alternatives available and represent money well spent.

British Gas HomeCare

How is British Gas HomeCare provided?

One of the key aspects of British Gas HomeCare is the fact that the amount each customer pays will vary depending upon where they live and whether an excess is included in the cover. An excess is the amount which the customer will pay on their own behalf when a claim has to be made, with the rest of the cost being covered by the policy itself. The choice for British Gas HomeCare customers is an either/or choice:

  • An excess of £60
  • No excess at all
    In addition to this the level of cover offered by the HomeCare policy is divided into four separate levels. The names given to these levels may lack something when it comes to originality but at least they keep things simple. The levels of boiler and heating system cover on offer are as follows:
  • HomeCare One
  • HomeCare Two
  • HomeCare Three
  • HomeCare Four

    COVID-19

    More than ever, our team of experts remain on deck to help you make savings on your energy. We understand how deeply the lives of many are affected by these trying times and we want to support you the best we can. More on your energy supply during COVID-19 in our article.

    What do the levels of British Gas HomeCare cover?

    We’ll look in detail at exactly what the various HomeCare plans offer for the customer in due course, but all of the plans offer the following basic facilities:

  • An annual service for the boiler
  • A customer helpline which is available around the clock, seven days a week
  • Cover for a boiler to be repaired and restarted in the event of it breaking down
  • Cover for accidental damage
  • No limit to the number of call-outs

The features above are included in HomeCare One, but at this level of support any repairs needed for your heating system beyond the boiler itself will only be provided with an extra charge. When you’re choosing which of the British Gas HomeCare policies to take out it’s vital to understand exactly what each of the four levels offers and what is or isn’t covered for the annual premium being paid.

Details of the British Gas HomeCare Plans

Before deciding whether to invest in British Gas HomeCare it’s important to understand exactly what is and isn’t provided by each individual plan. The following tables break down what British Gas provides and how much it currently costs:

British Gas HomeCare One

The monthly cost of the plan (with a £60 excess) £14
Is there an optional excess? Yes
Does the plan include boiler and controls cover? Yes
Does the plan include plumbing and drains cover? No
Does the plan include an annual service? Yes
Are parts and labour included? Yes
Does the plan offer unlimited call outs? Yes
Does the plan have a 24/7 emergency helpline? Yes
Does the plan offer instant protection? No
Does the plan cover accidental damage? No
Does the plan offer home security cover? No
Does the plan include home electrics cover? No
Does the plan cover a safety check? No
Does the plan allow for unlimited claims? No
Is the cover nationwide? No
Does the plan offer pest control cover? No
How long is the fixed price term? One year

British Gas HomeCare Two

The monthly cost of the plan (with a £60 excess) £17
Is there an optional excess? Yes
Does the plan include boiler and controls cover? Yes
Does the plan include cover for the heating system (i.e. radiators, pipes and hot water cylinder)? Yes
Does the plan include plumbing and drains cover? No
Does the plan include an annual service? Yes
Are parts and labour included? Yes
Does the plan offer unlimited call outs? Yes
Does the plan have a 24/7 emergency helpline? Yes
Does the plan offer instant protection? No
Does the plan cover accidental damage? No
Does the plan offer home security cover? No
Does the plan include home electrics cover? No
Does the plan cover a safety check? No
Does the plan allow for unlimited claims? No
Is the cover nationwide? No
Does the plan offer pest control cover? No
How long is the fixed price term? One year

British Gas HomeCare Three

The monthly cost of the plan (with a £60 excess) £17
Is there an optional excess? Yes
Does the plan include boiler and controls cover? Yes
Does the plan include cover for the heating system (i.e. radiators, pipes and hot water cylinder)? Yes
Does the plan include plumbing and drains cover? Yes
Does the plan include an annual service? Yes
Are parts and labour included? Yes
Does the plan offer unlimited call outs? Yes
Does the plan have a 24/7 emergency helpline? Yes
Does the plan offer instant protection? No
Does the plan cover accidental damage? No
Does the plan offer home security cover? No
Does the plan include home electrics cover? No
Does the plan cover a safety check? No
Does the plan allow for unlimited claims? No
Is the cover nationwide? No
Does the plan offer pest control cover? No
How long is the fixed price term? One year

British Gas Homecare Four

The monthly cost of the plan (with a £60 excess) £17
Is there an optional excess? Yes
Does the plan include boiler and controls cover? Yes
Does the plan include cover for the heating system (i.e. radiators, pipes and hot water cylinder)? Yes
Does the plan include plumbing and drains cover? Yes
Does the plan include an annual service? Yes
Are parts and labour included? Yes
Does the plan offer unlimited call outs? Yes
Does the plan have a 24/7 emergency helpline? Yes
Does the plan offer instant protection? No
Does the plan cover accidental damage? No
Does the plan offer home security cover? No
Does the plan include home electrics cover? Yes
Does the plan cover a safety check? No
Does the plan allow for unlimited claims? No
Is the cover nationwide? No
Does the plan offer pest control cover? No
How long is the fixed price term? One year

A Closer Look at British Gas Homecare

The tables set out above give a general overview of what each of the British Gas HomeCare plans offers. What follows is a breakdown of what exactly is provided under headings such as ‘boiler service’ and ‘breakdown cover’:

  • What the policy says: Annual Boiler Service
  • What this means: A qualified engineer will check the gas pressure of your boiler and examine the flue. They will also clean any parts which need cleaning and check for the possibility of leaks of dangerous substances such as carbon monoxide. It is possible to access annual boiler services from British Gas without being on a HomeCare plan but any repairs which are needed will result in an extra charge.
  • What the policy says: Boiler and Controls Cover
  • What this means: As well as covering any repairs to the boiler itself, this part of the policy covers repairs to the thermostat and timer. It is possible to take out cover for just boiler breakdowns but this cover doesn’t include an annual service.
  • What the policy says: Central Heating Breakdown Cover
  • What this means: This part of plans Two, Three and Four covers repairs to central heating pipes, radiators, immersion heaters and hot water cylinders. If the hot water and heating breaks down an engineer will visit to identify why and resolve the problem.
  • What the policy says: Plumbing and Drains Cover
  • What this means: this part of the plan covers repairs to overflows, rainwater drains and cold water tanks. Alternatively, you could opt to pay for a repair, but this will currently cost a minimum of £90 for drains repairs and £85 for plumbing repairs.
  • What the policy says: Home Electrics Cover
  • What this means: this part of British Gas Homecare Four covers repairs to the mains electrical system and wiring of a property, with any parts which can’t be repaired being replaced, including in the event of accidental damage. Items such as doorbells, smoke detectors, light switches and extractor fans which are attached to the mains electricity supply are also covered.

    Does British Gas HomeCare cover the appliances in my home?

    Although British Gas HomeCare Four does cover damaged or faulty electrical fittings such as light switches as well as fuse boards, it doesn’t cover actual appliances, whether powered by gas or electricity. It is possible to take out insurance for home applainces with British Gas at the same time as or in addition to taking out British Gas HomeCare, and the price varies depending upon how many appliances you want to have covered. At the moment, it costs £6.75 per month to insure three kitchen appliances and £9.98 to insure one gas appliance. As far as the gas appliances are concerned, the cover includes an annual service and repairs, as well any parts which can’t be repaired being replaced. The appliances covered under this plan include the following:

  • A back boiler circulator
  • A gas cooker
  • A gas fire
  • A gas grill/hob/oven
  • A wall heater
  • A water heater

    How does the cover for kitchen appliances differ?

While the cover for kitchen appliances offered by British gas is similar to that offered for gas appliances – it includes servicing, repairs and accidental damage – it does not automatically replace those items which can’t be repaired. If an item is less than three years old and can’t be repaired then it will be replaced. If it is older than three years, however, British Gas will only contribute 30% toward the cost of replacing the item. Items which are included in this cover include the following:

  • An electric freestanding cooker
  • A gas cooker
  • A dishwasher
  • A fridge/fridge freezer
  • A ceramic or halogen hob
  • A gas hob
  • A microwave
  • A spin dryer
  • A tumble dryer
  • A washing machine

    British Gas HomeCare – what do the reviews say?

    It’s one thing to list the features offered by British Gas HomeCare but what anyone thinking of taking out a policy wants to know is whether the reality matches up to the promises. On the review websiteTrustpilot there is no specific section for British Gas HomeCare as opposed to British Gas in general, which makes it impossible to draw up average customer ratings for satisfaction. What we did manage to do, however, is trawl through the reviews for British Gas in general looking for those which mention the HomeCare service. It has to be said that the reviews are less than glowing. We did manage to find the following good review:

“Sept 2020 Breakdown Heating & Hot Water.

Sept 2020 Breakdown Heating – Homecare Engineer booked. Engineer (Luke) reported on schedule and quickly diagnosed the problem. Problem involved two major components (Pump & Heat Exchanger) Pump replaced immediately. Heat Exchanger had to be ordered. As a temporary means of recovering heating Luke reprogrammed both, Hot Water and Heating, timer settings/sequences to enable a limited service from both systems until the new exchanger was received. it worked fine. H/E Unit was soon received.

Luke fitted the unit (a major operation) and thoroughly tested all operations. Whilst waiting for boiler temperature/ timing controls to be tested, he carried out various other system checks throughout the house (radiators, loft plumbing, etc) All settings were finally cleared. Job done ! Luke’s courteous manner and his quiet self-assurance together with his communication skills were most impressive and deserving of a 10 Star rating.

Thank you British Gas Homecare.”

This review was more than balanced out, however, by several, all posted within a period of one week in Autumn 2020, which gave the service a one star rating and included comments such as:

“Terrible service and I have giving them thousands of pounds and I have never called them out for years and they have the nerve to ask me for a 50pound excess”

“Every year since I took out the homecare 4 package,which is in excess of £300+ per year,I have had to chase them for a date to service my boiler in spite of them saying they’ll be in touch when the service is due. VERY shabby for a company of this size.”

“HomeCare contract is just useless. Once again they made a no show, living us with no heating neither hot water.

No customer service, no customer care.”

British Gas Homecare information

 

British Gas Home Care for landlords

As a landlord you have two overriding obligations when it comes to the electricity and gas supply for your tenants. The first of these is simply to ensure that the people paying rent to you aren’t left for a prolonged period without heating or hot water if the boiler in a property breaks down. The second is to ensure that the gas and electrical safety standards in your property are checked by qualified professionals on a regular basis.

British Gas HomeCare for landlords offers the same level of cover as the standard HomeCare One, Two, Three and Four, with the major difference being that the engineers will also supply a gas safety certificate. There is a price to pay for this extra service, with British gas Home Care for landlords currently costing around £30 per year more than the standard cover.

If, as a landlord, you don’t want or need to invest in full HomeCare cover British Gas still provides gas safety checks and electrical inspections, both of which are a legal obligation for any landlord. At the time of writing the minimum costs for these services were as follows:

  • Gas safety check and certificate – £75
  • Electrical inspection and condition report – £210
    If you wish to make an enquiry about British Gas HomeCare for landlords the contact details are as follows:

Telephone: 0808 1593485
Phone lines are open Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday 8am-6pm

British Gas HomeCare for businesses

Any business might want to protect themselves against the risk of unexpected expense for repairing or replacing a boiler and heating system. The British Gas HomeCare for business plan offers varying levels of support similar to those offered on the standard HomeCare plans. In other words, a business can decide whether they want to pay for one-off repairs and an annual service or else invest in more comprehensive cover for a wider range of possible scenarios. The current prices are as follows:

  • Business Care Core £228 per year + VAT – this includes a response time of the next working day when there is no hot water or heating, unlimited labour and a £50 to be paid for any parts, per appliance per breakdown
  • Business Care Essential £324 + VAT – this includes a response time of the next working day when there is no hot water or heating, unlimited parts and labour
  • Business Care Plus£384 + VAT – this includes a 24 hour response time when there is no heating and hot water, as well as unlimited parts and labour

If you wish to make an enquiry about British Gas HomeCare for Businesses, the contact details are as follows:
Telephone: 0330 037 3539
Phone lines are open Monday to Thursday 8.30am-6pm and Friday 8.30am-5pm

What else do I need to know about British Gas HomeCare?

Before deciding whether you think British Gas HomeCare is worth investing in it’s probably worth taking a look at a list of some of the things which aren’t covered by the policy. Many of these items are fairly hard to find amongst the terms and conditions attached to the policies. For example, the most basic level of cover for boilers and boiler controls doesn’t include existing scale and sludge which might have built up and any damage caused by limescale. Other issues not covered under various parts of the plans are as follows:

Central heating systems

  • Faults caused by the design of the boiler
  • Repairs to parts of a shower
  • Repairing or replacing any smart technology which has been attached to the boiler or heating system
  • Repairing or replacing any damaged flues
  • Repairing or replacing any damaged or faulty taps
  • Repairing or replacing the electrical parts of any damaged or faulty radiators

    Plumbing and drains

  • Repairing any shower parts which are faulty or have been damaged
  • Repairing radiators
  • Repairing or replacing water filters or softeners
  • Repairing or replacing water meters
  • Repairing or replacing any equipment fitted to boost the water pressure
  • Repairing or replacing any rainwater pipes or guttering
  • Repairing or replacing any shared drains
  • Dealing with faulty or damaged plumbing in outbuildings when those outbuildings are not connected to the main water supply

    Home electrics cover

  • Repairing or replacing domestic electrical appliances, burglar alarms and camera systems
  • Dealing with the electrics in outbuildings when those outbuildings are not connected to the main electricity supply
  • Undertaking the complete rewiring of a property
  • Repairing or replacing electric showers
  • Repairing or replacing any power cables between the main house and outbuildings
  • Repairing or replacing the supply cable running up to the fuse box
  • Kitchen appliance cover
  • Repairing or replacing wine coolers, cooker hoods and extractor fans
  • Repairing or replacing appliances purchased outside the UK
  • Repairing or replacing pre-owned appliances

    Is British Gas HomeCare worth it?

    Answering this question depends, to a large degree, upon how much you’re willing to take the risk of a boiler or heating system breaking down, leaving you with a potentially very large bill for repair or replacement. You may opt instead to simply pay for an annual boiler inspection and service, but whatever you choose it’s worth shopping around for the best value. As we’ve seen, the customer ratings for British Gas HomeCare were variable to say the least, so you might want to check the reviews of other providers and opt for their cover.

It’s also worth noting that many boilers, heating systems and other appliances come with insurance plans offered by the manufacturer, and these also might be less expensive and/or more comprehensive.

Contact details for British Gas Homecare

The contact details for British Gas HomeCare differ from those for British Gas in general. If you wish to enquire about the various plans on offer you can do so in the following ways:

Telephone: 0333 202 9604
Telephone lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am-8pm and Saturday from Saturday 8am-6pm
Postal Address: British Gas, PO Box 227, Rotherham, S98 1PD
Email address: customerservice@britishgas.co.uk

Once you’re a customer of British Gas HomeCare you can manage contact via the smartphone app, which also enables you to book your boiler service, track the engineer allocated to you and submit meter readings.

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Written by eleanor

Updated on 24 Feb, 2021

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