Is British Gas Homecare Worth it? Our 2021 Review
British Gas HomeCare provides cover for gas boilers and heating systems. Any household with a gas central heating system has to deal with services, repairs and maintenance at some point but how does the British Gas cover measure up?
What is British Gas HomeCare?
Aside from supplying energy and providing smart household products, British Gas also provides insurance cover for your boiler, heating system and many other household appliances. HomeCare cover offers four levels of service and support for your home, named HomeCare One, Two, Three and Four.
An important thing to note about British Gas HomeCare pricing is that what you pay depends on where you live and whether you choose to include an excess in your cover. There is the option to pay no excess at all or to include a £60 excess. The prices quoted here are a guide and represent the price paid by at least half of new British Gas HomeCare customers, choosing zero excess.
|HomeCare One||HomeCare Two||HomeCare Three||HomeCare Four|
|Annual cost of paying 12 monthly payments||£246||£288||£396||£456|
|One annual payment||£234||£276||£384||£444|
What is covered?
All four levels of HomeCare plans include an annual boiler service and a customer helpline that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, if your boiler breaks down you will be covered for repairs to get it up and running again.
There is no limit to the number of times you can call out an engineer and you’re also covered for accidental damage. So that’s what you get with HomeCare One. Now let's look at what the other three levels of HomeCare cover give you.
Boilers and heaters
The basic HomeCare One policy covers boiler breakdowns and repairs, but interestingly, repairs to your central heating system are considered separate and they incur an extra charge. Here we take a closer look at the intricacies of what is and isn’t covered in the four different British Gas HomeCare policies.
Annual boiler service: included in all HomeCare policies. The gas pressure and flues are checked, the parts are cleaned if they need it and a few tests are done to check for leaks, including carbon monoxide. You can sign up for annual boiler services without taking out a HomeCare policy but be warned that you will be charged extra for any repairs that need to be carried out.
Boiler and controls breakdown cover: included in all HomeCare policies. Covers repairs to thermostats and the boiler programmer as well as the boiler itself. Instead of taking out a HomeCare policy, you can take out cover for boiler breakdowns only. This does not include an annual service for your boiler.
Central heating breakdown cover: included in HomeCare Two, Three and Four. Covers repairs to immersion heaters, radiators, hot water cylinders, thermostatic radiator valves and all central heating pipes. If you have no heating or hot water the issue will be identified and fixed. You can take out central heating breakdown cover only without a HomeCare policy, but this does not include an annual boiler service.
Plumbing and drains
Depending on which HomeCare policy you choose, you can be covered for all repairs to your household plumbing and drains, with unlimited callouts. Take a look at the details below:
Plumbing and drains cover: with HomeCare Three and Four you are covered for plumbing and drains repairs, which includes cold water tanks, overflows and rainwater drains. Alternatively, there is the option to pay for a repair to your plumbing and/or drains plus ongoing cover for a year after the initial repair.
Plumbing and drains repair: if you don’t want to splash out on a HomeCare policy that includes plumbing and drains cover you can go for a more pay-as-you-go approach. British Gas will send an engineer to repair your drains and/or plumbing but it will cost you at least £90 for a drains repair and upwards of £85 for plumbing.
Appliances and electrical
British Gas offers a range of breakdown and repair services for appliances (gas or electrical) as well as cover for household electrics.
With the HomeCare Four policy, you are covered for repairs to your mains electrical system and wiring, including replacement of parts that cannot be repaired. You’re also covered for accidental damage to your household mains electrics. Repairs to doorbells, light switches, extractor fans and smoke detectors that are connected to the mains wiring are all covered.
Alternatively, you can simply pay for Home Electrical cover without taking out the HomeCare Four policy. From just £30 for the year-long policy, this gives you the same cover for electrical repairs as you would have with the HomeCare Four service.
Apart from the mains electrical wiring in your house, British Gas has a couple of different options for insuring your gas and electrical appliances against breakdown and accidental damage. Pricing is determined by the number of appliances you want to include.
What gas appliances are covered?
With British Gas appliance cover for gas appliances, you get an annual service, repairs, and replacement of anything that cannot be repaired. Here are all the various appliances that are covered:
- Back boiler circulator
- Gas cooker
- Gas fire
- Gas grill
- Gas hob
- Gas oven
- Multipoint water heater
- Single point water heater
- Wall heater
- Water heater
What kitchen appliances are covered?
British Gas kitchen appliance cover is similar to gas appliance cover in that repairs, servicing and accidental damage are included. However, replacing items that cannot be repaired is not automatically part of the kitchen appliance cover. Instead, British Gas will contribute 30% towards the cost of replacing a broken appliance that’s three years old or more. For newer appliances, i.e. those that are up to three years old, you will receive a replacement if the repair cannot be fixed.
Here are the appliances included in British Gas kitchen appliance cover:
- Gas cooker and electric freestanding
- Gas cooker
- Fridge freezer
- Ceramic/halogen hob
- Gas hob
- Microwave with oven
- Gas oven
- Spin dryer
- Tumble dryer
- Gas tumble dryer
- Washing machine
- Large washing machine
- Twin tub washing machine
British Gas home insurance: buildings and contents
As with most insurance providers, British Gas cover is available as contents insurance only, buildings insurance only, or combined buildings and contents insurance. The type of home insurance you need depends on your circumstances. For example, if you rent your home, you will only need contents insurance. However, if you’re an owner-occupier, you will most likely want to consider combined buildings and contents cover.
British Gas HomeCare customers are also eligible for British Gas Rewards. Check out our complete Rewards guide to see what's available.
What isn’t covered?
It is important to establish exactly what is and isn’t included in your HomeCare plan before rushing into anything. Most insurers will explain their coverage in a terms and conditions style document. However, most customers don’t have the time or patience to read through these usually very long and dense pages. That’s where we come in!
After having read the small print of all the British Gas HomeCare plans, we should warn you that there is an obstacle in your path before you even sign up. Remember we said boiler servicing and repairs are covered in all the HomeCare policies? That is true but on one condition: a British Gas engineer has to visit your home first to check that your boiler is on the British Gas approved list and that it doesn’t have any pre-existing faults.
Something else we were surprised by was a well-hidden clause in the kitchen appliance cover. For the first 14 days of your plan, your appliance is not covered for any repairs or accidental damage or any other occurrence at all. That means that, essentially, your coverage doesn’t even start until two weeks after the start date on the policy.
One more thing — if you are lucky enough to have a swimming pool at your house, you’ll be disappointed to learn that you will need separate cover for any repairs to the plumbing associated with the pool.
Here’s what else we uncovered in our fine-tooth comb examination of British Gas HomeCare cover.
Not included in British Gas: boiler and controls cover
- Existing scale and sludge build-up
- Damage caused by limescale
- Repairs to central heating systems
- Boiler design faults
- Repairs to any shower parts
- Repairing or replacing smart technology equipment connected to the boiler or heating system
- Repairing or replacing flues
Not included in British Gas: central heating breakdown cover
- Existing scale and sludge build-up
- Damage caused by limescale
- Repairing or replacing taps
- Repairs to any shower parts
- Repairing or replacing electrical parts of radiators
Not included in British Gas HomeCare Three and Four: plumbing and drains cover
- Repairs to any shower parts
- Water softeners or filters
- Water meters
- Any water pressure boosting equipment
- Guttering and rainwater pipes
- Shared drains
- Cleaning drains
- Plumbing in outbuildings that are not connected to the main household water supply
Not included in British Gas HomeCare Four: home electrics cover
- Domestic electrical appliances, burglar alarms and camera systems
- Electrics in outbuildings that are not connected to the main household electricity supply
- Complete rewiring
- Electric showers
- Power cables between the main house and any outbuildings
- Electricity supply cable up to the fuse box
Not included in British Gas kitchen appliance cover
- Wine coolers, cooker hoods and extractor fans
- Unpacking and installing new appliances or disconnecting and disposing of old ones
- Appliances bought outside the UK
- Second-hand appliances
Why should you choose cover?
Perhaps you tend to be a worrier and you prefer to have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re covered for any eventuality, although, as demonstrated in the What isn’t covered? section, there are so many exceptions you might start to question whether the plans are worth the paper they’re written on.
Nevertheless, when it comes to gas boilers, there’s something to be said for annual servicing and repairs to keep it running smoothly, even if it’s just for safety’s sake if nothing else. Without a boiler repair plan, you could find yourself facing hefty bills if something goes wrong, especially with older boilers.
You may already have some form of cover through your home insurance, manufacturer's warranty, tradesman guarantee or home emergency policy. Make sure to check your boiler isn’t already covered through one of these policies. If you do have one of these policies and your boiler isn’t covered, you are able to extend it to cover your boiler or any other household products, but the extension might not come with an annual boiler inspection. Be sure to check all details before accepting an extension.
Is HomeCare really worth it?
The independent consumer survey website Which? estimates that the average annual cost for a boiler cover package is around £288. This is a lot of money to spend every year, especially considering that a yearly boiler service only costs around £80. If you're generally risk-averse, however, it will seem like a good investment when you consider that the cost of repairs can be astronomical!.
High energy bills? Call Selectra — Find out if you could pay less.
Our Energy Team can sign you up to one of our partners’ tariffs fast.
British Gas HomeCare Contact
There are various ways to get in touch with the British Gas HomeCare team depending on whether or not you’re already a customer or if you’re thinking about taking out a policy for the first time.
Always remember - if you smell gas call the Gas Emergency Services on 0800 111 999.
For other queries relating to HomeCare, you’re likely to find the answer in this list of Frequently Asked Questions. You will also be able to access the online webchat service from the same page as the FAQs. The webchat connects you to a real person, who may be able to answer your query immediately but is more likely to refer you to another department.
If your query isn’t resolved by the online FAQs or live webchat, you can call the British Gas team directly
If you aren’t a British Gas HomeCare customer
If you would like to contact British Gas HomeCare about taking out a policy, you can do so by calling 0113 298 0900 and selecting Option 2.
Remember, you don’t have to take out a HomeCare policy to use British Gas engineers for boiler and heating repairs and services.
British Gas HomeCare Login
Logging into a HomeCare account is the same process as logging into a British Gas account for energy bills and meter readings.
If don’t have an account yet, setting one up is a simple process. You just need an email address and your home address details. You’ll then be able to access your account online with your email address and a password.
British Gas HomeCare Address
|Postal address:||British Gas
PO Box 227
If you are an existing British Gas HomeCare Customer
For existing HomeCare customers, there are a few different avenues of communication for different issues. With the British Gas smartphone app, you can manage lots of different aspects of your British Gas account, including booking a boiler service and submitting meter readings.
Book an engineer, book a boiler service, track an engineer
All of these services are in one handy place. You just need to log in to your British Gas account to book a boiler service, make an appointment with an engineer or to arrange a callout for any kind of repair that’s covered by your HomeCare plan.
You can take your British Gas HomeCare plan with you when you move house, but you will need to contact the HomeCare team to let them know. They may arrange an engineer visit to your new home to make sure the boiler meets the British Gas criteria for HomeCare cover
Make a complaint
If you would like to make a complaint or contact British Gas in writing, you can either write a letter to the address given above for British Gas customer services or contact them directly by phone.
HomeCare for landlords
As a landlord you cannot afford to cut corners when it comes to gas and electrical safety inspections, nor can you leave your tenants without heating or hot water if your boiler breaks down.
British Gas HomeCare for landlords is essentially the same four levels of cover as HomeCare One, Two, Three and Four for standard customers, but with landlord cover, you also get a gas safety certificate. Of course, this makes HomeCare for landlords a bit more expensive than standard HomeCare.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to commit to a full HomeCare plan, British Gas offers stand-alone gas safety checks and electrical inspections for landlords. These reports are required by law in the UK. Here’s what it costs to get your rental property legally compliant through British Gas:
- Annual gas safety check and certificate: at least £75
- Electrical Installation Condition Report: at least £210
British Gas HomeCare for businesses
Similar to domestic HomeCare plans and HomeCare for landlords, British Gas offers different levels of cover for businesses. From one-off repairs and annual servicing to comprehensive cover for all sorts of eventualities, here’s a breakdown of the different plans.
|Plan||Business Care Core||Business Care Essential||Business Care Plus|
|Price||From £17 per month + VAT||From £23 per month + VAT||From £28 per month + VAT|
|Guaranteed response time for no heating/hot water||Next working day||Next working day||24 hours including evenings and weekends|
|Parts and labour||£50 excess for parts, per appliance, per breakdown.
All three Business Care plans include an annual service, unlimited callout and a 24/7 customer helpline.
You should note that, although the response time of British Gas Business Care is fast when your heating or hot water fails completely, British Gas will take up to five working days to respond to more minor faults.
If you only want an annual service, it will cost at least £99, plus more for any repairs that are needed.