Picture this; it’s the dead of winter in the UK, and your hot water stops working... Next, your heating stops working too.
Broken heating systems in your house make for an uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous living experience. When you and your family are shivering inside your house, are you going to wish you had home heating and boiler insurance?
This is where British Gas HomeCare comes in.
Not many people think about their boiler or heating until it stops working, most of us take it for granted. Unless you’ve been stung with a bill recently and investigated home plans, you might not know how to begin navigating boiler cover.
First, understand whether you need a boiler cover at all. As with any insurance, it will be useless when everything works smoothly but absolutely crucial when things go wrong. When it comes to your heating and living in the UK, you don’t want to be caught with a broken boiler or heating system in the winter. Therefore, the boiler cover allows you to swiftly call someone to fix a broken boiler or associated controls getting the boiler back in working order.
A boiler cover is important for many people, should you have some sort of cover? Even if you’re confident and think your boiler won’t break anytime soon unless you are an industry professional gas engineer (or a handy DIY hero) the peace of mind of having a backup plan is invaluable for many of us. British Gas HomeCare offers various kinds of cover and services, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
The first detail you must know is what kind of boiler you have. There are three main kinds of boilers — combination (combi), system, and heat only (or “OV” for open vent). Combi boilers create instant hot water and heat from one box. System boilers utilise some type of unvented hot water cylinder store but incorporate a pump and sometimes a diverter valve. The heat-only boiler is very basic and just creates the heat for your central heating system and hot water to be stored and used later. For a far more in-depth look at different boiler types check out this article.
Not knowing what kind of boiler you have could make the process of getting cover more difficult, as some technicians might not work on older or obscure boiler models. Fortunately, the customer services team will be able to talk you through the process of identifying your boiler and other heating components, the manual will be a good place to start or if that is no longer in the home then a data badge on the boiler will give either a G.C number or at least a make and model. Familiarising yourself with your boiler only aids the boiler cover process.
Of course, not everyone needs boiler cover. If you have experience on how to fix boilers and have the relevant Gas Safe qualifications, you can forgo getting cover and use your knowledge to fix any issues should any arise.
Maybe your neighbour is a gas engineer, if you have friends or neighbours who work in the industry and would be willing to help you out, you could again forgo boiler cover for the cost of a cup of tea and some biscuits. Lastly, tenants usually won’t have to pay for boiler cover or repairs either as that’s the landlord’s job in most cases.
You should also think about how old your boiler is, all new boilers have a warranty provided they were registered by the original installer. The warranty on your boiler will be a minimum of two years after purchasing the boiler and could be as long as ten years. In fact, some manufacturers are starting to offer twelve years on particular models, whether that is sustainable or valuable is explored more here. If you want to save some money, you could forgo the boiler cover as your boiler is already covered under the warranty. The manufacturer or appointed agent will repair the boiler for free under this warranty, the waiting time could be longer than with a care plan however, some boiler manufacturers can take longer than others to respond and there can be circumstances under which they will refuse the service, again we go into more detail in this article.
Boiler cover can be a necessary expense for those without access to people with boiler expertise or those with no boiler expertise themselves. If you run out of warranty on your boiler, you should invest in a boiler cover. Also know that while a standard plumber may be able to help clear the pipes coming out of a boiler, most plumbers aren’t trained to fix boilers themselves. For that, you’ll need to contact a heating engineer, such as the ones at British Gas HomeCare.
British Gas provides boiler and heating cover for UK residents. They also help you manage and reduce your heating bill, arrange home insurance, help you get plumbing and drain cover and repair and help you implement high-tech gadgets like Hive to create a Smart Home. British Gas is the UK’s largest domestic energy provider and has been a leader in the boiler cover market, but its competitors Worcester Bosch and HomeServe also provide high-quality boiler and heating covers.
British Gas HomeCare services are great for homeowners who want options. You can opt for a simple annual boiler service, in which an expert will check up on your boiler and ensure it’s in working order for the next year. If you don’t want to pay for an annual service and only pay for cover when the boiler breaks down, there’s an option for that too. You could opt for the boiler and control cover for a little over £2 a month or repairs to your boiler, controls and central heating system for just over £5 a month.
Once again, you should buy a boiler cover only if you think you’re at risk of being left without a boiler if it would break. If you can’t fix it yourself or get the boiler manufacturer to fix it for you under warranty, you should opt for the boiler cover services.
There are four packages for monthly boiler cover — British Gas HomeCare One, Two, Three and Four.
Below are all of the British Gas HomeCare services. Prices vary depending on excess paid (£60) and whether you’re requesting a monthly service. As you can see, extra services such as pipes and drains will cost extra, but you don’t have to pay for those services if you don’t want them. Everything is tailored for you based on your requirements
If you don’t want the commitment of monthly or annual cover, you could pay much less for basic breakdown services, if your boiler stops working British Gas is still contracted to attend to your home. You would have to pay a £60 excess in addition to the monthly options below.
For both above options, removing scale, sludge or the damage caused by both is not included in the annual cost. Shower tor tap inspections, repairs needed to fix accidental damage, the repairs of others or design faults are also not included.
Monthly payments provide peace of mind cover should your boiler, or heating system break down during the year. While expensive, it would be the best bet to protect your home if you think you could be left vulnerable after a boiler breakdown.
However, if you find your optimism over your boiler’s immortality proved false, there are subsequent services to help you when you need quick repairs. You won’t have to pay a lump sum all at once, but rather monthly payments to cover the cost of the boiler repairs. The breakdown cover would be best for individuals who might be unable to pay for the full cost of boiler repair and still want a warm home. You can book a heating engineer for any hour of the day (subject to availability and time of year). They’ll come out as quickly as they can, though they prioritise vulnerable customers such as the elderly or families with small children.
What Others Have to Say
We searched tirelessly through the internet to find what people really think about the British Gas HomeCare cover. Online, the company has received some bad reviews for expensive services and occasionally difficult customer service, but we found other reviews that are rather positive.
Take this one from Lois:
This one from Malcolm:
And this one from Dr Williamson:
Other users have had worse experiences. Issues have ranged from engineers cancelling appointments last-minute, rude administration and inefficient customer service. There’s an example from Nicky Arrowsmith below:
However, below every review, a customer service representative from British Gas thanks the reviewer for their positive comment or helps out someone who has had a negative experience.
While it’s unclear how British Gas has helped resolve Nicky’s bad experience, it iss clear the company is at least trying to assuage the customers who have had bad experiences with them. It is worth bearing in mind that reviews are mostly from extremely disgruntled people or extremely pleased people, the vast majority of customers who are somewhat satisfied are unlikely to review any business unless incentivised.
If you don’t want to go with British Gas services, here are the following options for you.
A local or smaller-chain heating company: There will be numerous boiler installation and maintenance services in your area that could help you besides British Gas. While they usually don’t offer boiler cover services, you could simply call the company when your boiler needs a repair and not pay for cover when your boiler works fine. A local business could give you faster service since engineers have to travel less and could potentially be cheaper too since you’re not paying for monthly cover. Local businesses are better for the economy and will offer a more personal service as you are likely to always have the same engineer.
Homeserve: Another large UK home assistance provider, Homeserve provides boiler services in addition to plumbing and electric ones. They offer heating repairs even if you don’t have cover and up to £500 pounds off a new boiler if you’re a Homeserve customer. You can find an insurance policy on the site to cover your boiler and heating system and compare the services available with this company. Over two million UK customers use Homeserve services, and you can find out how to become a customer on their website.
Worcester Bosch: “The UK’s most popular boiler brand” has been providing boiler repair and cover services for their products for over half a century. You can get an instant price and a new combi boiler in under 72 hours, and you could also find an accredited Worcester installer by entering your address on the site. The company not only sells boilers but provides boiler services for those who have not been customers with them previously.
In the UK, a broken boiler won’t only be inconvenient — it could be dangerous depending on the time of year, the people in your home and the weather. Can you risk leaving your boiler unprotected? British Gas HomeCare will give you peace of mind during good boiler times and quickened service at a reduced price during bad ones. They provide reliable service for boiler and heating systems in addition to any other home repairs you might need. Check out British Gas Homecare boiler cover services on their website.
British Gas Homecare number - 0333 202 9604
Note: Prices, facts and opinions are based on the facts as of June 2019
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