I often find I’m down to two choices. PC and Mac. iPhone and Android. And now, the two top boiler cover companies in the UK — British Gas and HomeServe for boiler insurance. As with any choice, it’s difficult to decide which one is best for you, as you don’t want to be stuck with the wrong decision.
Here’s an article review comparing the two companies to help you decide which breakdown cover is right for you.
There are three main boiler types: system, heat-only and combi. System boilers only provide heat without hot water. Heat-only, aptly, only provides heat as well. A combi boiler provides both heat and hot water. If you don’t know what kind of boiler you have, you won’t know where to begin diagnosing problems should your system break down.
In addition to the type of boiler, know how old your boiler is. While the age range varies, companies may not offer to work on a boiler older than 7-15 years old. They also might not work on boilers that are no longer in production or very rarely in circulation, as the heating engineer might not know how the old boiler’s system works. If you have an ancient one, you might not be able to get cover in the first place.
First and foremost, have one of the three main boiler systems. If you have some other type of heating system, the cover might not apply to you. Next, be sure you are responsible for your boiler — most renters are not.
Finally, be sure you are not under any other coverage for your boiler, such as warranty or boiler coverage inside another insurance package you pay for.
A boiler cover will pay for repairs to your boiler, an engineer’s labour in repairing the boiler and spare parts needed in the process.
There may be limitations stipulated in the cover, such as a restricted amount of hours spent on the repair, the number of claims you can make in a year and/or a ceiling to the cost of each repair. Other limitations may include the age of your boiler or its model, in addition to the time in which you can make your first claim after purchasing boiler cover.
If a heating engineer deems a boiler beyond economic repair, you might be ineligible to purchase coverage. In that case, a boiler company’s heating engineer may offer a replacement boiler at a reduced price or cash payout to use toward buying a new one.
Because the rules within different boiler cover companies range widely, familiarize yourself with the company’s policy before purchasing.
For the most part, renters do not need to buy boiler insurance as it’s usually the landlord’s duty to ensure a working boiler. Homeowners are more likely to need boiler insurance, but they should check if the boiler cover is included in other insurance they pay for such as buildings and contents insurance.
You will not need cover if it is still under warranty, as boiler companies will usually offer free breakdown repairs or replacements under warranty.
The warranty is itself a sort of free boiler cover. Even if your boiler breaks down and it isn’t under warranty, you can still forgo insurance if you’re dedicated enough to teach yourself boiler repair techniques. There are plenty of guides and tutorials on the internet, but DIY boiler repair runs the expensive risk of potentially messing up and doing more damage to your boiler.
As a general rule, the people who need cover are those owning aged boilers without insurance and who don’t want to risk screwing up boiler repairs on their own. Boilers can cost anywhere between £500 and £2,500, so it’s important to not jeopardize such an important machine.
Most companies, such as British Gas and HomeServe, will offer basic boiler cover that includes other protections for a higher price.
A homeowner can get not only boiler covers and annual checkups but plumbing and drain covers too. While more expensive monthly, a broader boiler package prevents you from outsourcing various home services, such as plumbing and pest control, to other companies and potentially paying more money for the same services.
See if the boiler cover company has any time restrictions as to when you can make a new claim. Some companies forbid claims within the first 30 days of signing up for boiler cover to ensure customers don’t simply sign up the same day their boiler stops working.
If such is the case, you may be unable to get the repairs you need on your boiler and you could be left for nearly a month without heat or hot water. Other companies provide boiler repairs even if you’re not a customer, but you’ll have to pay more for the same services.
Some companies offer monthly or annual payments. Typically, it is cheaper to pay for annual coverage, but different companies have various tricks to differentiate prices.
There will usually be options for the type of excess you would pay should a boiler breakdown occur. Options may fall between £0, £60 and £100 payments of excess, where higher excess means cheaper monthly payments. Of course, a package that includes more perks, such as boiler cover, plumbing, drains, electrics, and gas supply pipes will cost more monthly.
British Gas is one of the largest home assistant companies in the UK offering a wide range of services for customers, including boilers and then some. They offer four service packages. The first package covers annual service and repairs on your boiler and its controls. The fourth and largest package costs both boiler services in addition to central heating, plumbing, drains and home electrics.
In addition to monthly payment packages, customers can choose to pay one large lump sum annually. You can save a bit of money if you choose to pay annually. You can also choose to pay a £60 excess and further reduce monthly or annual payment costs.
If you don’t want to pay for annual repair or monthly coverage, you can pay a £99 excess and get either £2.50 a month for boiler repairs or £5.50 for repairs for boilers and their controls along with repairs to your central heating system.
Repairs to your boiler usually happen within 24 hours of placing a claim, although some delays may occur as British Gas prioritises vulnerable customers such as the elderly or families with young children. Any product you choose includes a 24/7 hour customer helpline, unlimited callouts and a 14-day cooling-off period if you cancel services.
While they offer many options to customers, many people using British Gas disapprove of the services they receive. The company currently has a nearly 50% bad rating on a trusted customer review site. Some people have reported dealing with incompetent heating engineers, engineers never showing up to repair appointments, long wait times when calling customer service representatives and unrelenting payment difficulties.
British Gas positions itself as an affordable, hassle-free company. That experience may have been true for some people. However, a majority of people have had the opposite encounter, leading to a questionable reputation of a large company.
HomeServe is as large as British Gas in terms of its reach over the UK. It provides five service packages that range from basic boiler cover to protection over boilers, gas central heating, gas supply pipes, water supply pipe, plumbing, drainage, electrics, security, roofing and pest infestations. The most expensive package HomeServe offers, offering all these services, is only £0.50 more than British Gas’ most expensive package (offering far fewer services).
Some HomeServe packages have the option to pay a £0, £60 or £100 excess, others only £0 or £60. There’s free boiler service included for all packages, but the first and fifth packages have free service for only the first year. HomeServe offers a 24-hour UK helpline and a 12-month guarantee on most repairs. Parts and labour are included in coverage limits. Should your boiler frequently break down, you can buy a high-quality boiler from HomeServe at a reduced price.
If HomeServe can’t repair your boiler, they’ll replace it. If it’s under seven years old, they’ll do installations for free. There is an annual boiler checkup option. Should you want to try your hand at fixing your boiler and other issues with your home yourself, HomeServe offers free tutorials on how to accomplish most DIY tasks. Even if you’re not a HomeServe customer, one of their engineers will still service your home if requested.
A HomeServe engineer will check the health of your boiler to ensure it can be covered and serviced. You can make as many claims as you like for gas boiler breakdowns as long as the machine isn’t beyond economical repair. Overall, Homeserve has high customer review ratings on trusted review sites suggesting that the engineers are competent and punctual, all services are done properly and that customer service is efficient.
Want an in-depth review? Read our detailed HomeServe Boiler Cover review here.
While British Gas and HomeServe offer roughly the same services, HomeServe is the clear winner. With slightly cheaper monthly costs covering more services, HomeServe outperforms British Gas in quality and quantity of services. HomeServe has a much higher rating on trusted customer review sites, suggesting that HomeServe actually lives up to its words despite how highly both companies talk about themselves.
HomeServe will provide high-quality care of your boiler and its controls at a starting price £5 cheaper than British Gas. While you can’t pay annually, the reduced price for basic boiler cover will pay for itself the longer you use HomeServe’s services. The heating engineers working for HomeServe are polite, competent and courteous to customers, leading to very low poor company ratings online.
HomeServe will help you keep your house in top condition at a more affordable price compared to British Gas. It is the better option for those looking for a high-quality boiler cover.
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