Home Emergency Insurance: Is It Really Worth It?

Home emergency insurance plans can provide a valuable service for homeowners, offering quick and efficient repairs for all kinds of household problems. But with annual costs up to around £350+ for more comprehensive plans, are they really worth it?

Home emergency insurance provides peace of mind for millions of homeowners in Britain, guaranteeing repairs to household problems such as broken heating systems, plumbing problems and electrical problems. Such specific emergency services are not usually included as part of standard home insurance policies.

The home emergency insurance plans available in the UK market today range from the very basic, which only cover repairs to your boiler, to the very comprehensive, which can cover heating systems, electrics, plumbing and drainage, and appliances as well as pest infestations.

There are a number of suppliers offering home emergency insurance, either as standalone packages or as add-ons to your home insurance policy. We investigate, looking at the service offered, how it’s structured and thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages to help you then assess whether this cover is really worth having.

British Gas Homecare®

A boiler installer with his customer

With the wide range of boiler cover from British Gas, you’ll be sure to find a package that suits you and your home.  All boiler insurance packages include boiler breakdown cover and annual boiler servicing, and you can upgrade to a variety of HomeCare® packages to include plumbing and drain cover and much more.

The British Gas Homecare® different packages currently available are

  • Essential: Annual boiler service, boiler and controls, central heating.
  • Classic: As Essential, plus plumbing and drains
  • Complete: As Classic, plus home electrics

Looking at the British Gas Homecare® Essential package, the lowest cost option, in more detail, it includes:

  • Unlimited call outs per contract year
  • All parts and labour included
  • Repairs to your gas central heating system, including boiler, controls, radiators and hot water cylinder
  • Annual service of your boiler to make sure it’s running safely and efficiently. Your annual boiler services may be more than 12 months apart
  • Accidental Damage
  • Up to £1,000 to gain access and make good for each repair
  • Flexible excess levels – for example £0, £60 or £99. If you have say a £60 excess, you’ll pay £60 for every completed repair. If you don’t have a repair, you won’t pay any excess.
  • Customer helpline line 24/7
  • Most boilers fixed first time, 99% in two visits

This Essential level of British Gas Homecare® does not include:

  • Removing sludge or scale or repairing the damage it causes if we tell you it might be a problem for your system or boiler
  • Showers or taps
  • Faults caused by someone else you used for repairs or design faults.

Moving to the highest cost option, the Homecare® Complete package, it additionally includes services around plumbing, drains and electrics:

If you want to add further cover for items you can, for example you can add:

  • Kitchen appliance cover, including fridge, freezer and cooker
  • Gas appliance cover, including gas heater and oven
  • Home electrics cover, including wiring, switches and sockets.

Is British Gas Homecare® Cover Worth Having?

Plumbing for a boiler

Ultimately you need to assess the pros and cons of having home emergency insurance. To help, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to consider:

Homecare® Advantages

  1. Comprehensive Coverage: Homecare® offers a variety of plans that cover a wide range of issues, including boiler breakdowns, plumbing issues, and electrical problems, allowing you to choose a package that best suits your needs.
  2. 24/7 Customer Support: Homeowners can access customer support round the clock, ensuring help is available at any time, day or night, in case of an emergency.
  3. Qualified Engineers: British Gas employs experienced and certified engineers, providing quality and reliable service when you need repairs or servicing.
  4. Annual Service: Included in all Homecare® packages and this will help maintain the essential systems in your home and help identify any potential issues before they escalate.
  5. Parts and Labour Included: Means you know the monthly and can budget accordingly, and you’ll be protected against unexpected costs.
  6. Defined Levels of Service: British Gas offers a defined set of target response times – Emergency, Priority and Standard and so you know when you should expect an engineer to be able to help you based on the severity of the issue.

Homecare® Disadvantages

  1. Cost: HomeCare plans can be quite costly, especially the more comprehensive plans.
  2. Service Delays: Although they offer 24/7 customer support, during peak times, there might be delays in service due to high demand. Also, in some regions of the UK, service availability might be limited, potentially leading to longer waiting times for repairs or maintenance visits.
  3. Pre-existing Issues: Problems existing before the policy inception may not be covered. This means any issues that are already present before you take out the plan might not be eligible for repair under the policy.
  4. Annual Price Increases: You can anticipate annual price increases, which will obviously make the plan more expensive over time. Factors that can affect price are boiler age, number of claims made, changes you make to your cover, wider economic factors such as inflation.
  5. Mixed Reviews: While many customers praise the service, there are also a considerable number of negative reviews citing issues with service quality, customer service, and response times.
  6. Limited Customisation: The packages come in predetermined sets of services, which might include services you do not need, or conversely, miss out on services that you do require, offering limited flexibility in tailoring the package to your specific needs.

These are potential advantages and disadvantages for you to consider. As you decide whether to buy a HomeCare® plan, or any other insurance or financial product, it’s essential to review the specific terms and conditions to understand fully what is included and any potential limitations or exclusions and assess the product in terms of your own specific needs.

British Gas Boiler Only Repair

Installing a central heating boiler

If you want to, you can opt for a boiler only repair or you can opt for the boiler repair and add ongoing cover.

With a boiler only repair, what you pay depends on how long your repair takes, with a minimum charge. 

If you add ongoing cover, the upfront charge is less, but then there is a ongoing per month charge.


HomeServe are one of the country’s leading home assistance providers and have over 25 years’ experience in looking after UK homes. They have very good reviews on Trust Pilot.

HomeServe cover a wide range of home services such as heating plumbing and electrics. They also offer packages for landlords which include a boiler service and gas safety certificate . Their combined service cover offers different levels of service at competitive prices, these at the time of writing are:

Cover NameDescription
Gas Boiler Gas boiler, gas supply pipe
Gas Boiler and Central HeatingGas boiler, gas supply pipe, gas central heating
Heating and PlumbingGas boiler, gas supply pipe, gas central heating, plumbing and drainage problems, water supply pipe
Heating, Plumbing and ElectricsGas boiler, gas supply pipe, gas central heating, plumbing and drainage problems, water supply pipe, home’s electrics
Heating, Plumbing and Electrics PlusGas boiler, gas supply pipe, gas central heating, plumbing and drainage problems, water supply pipe, home’s electrics, security and roofing issues, pest infestations

Note that these Homeserve emergency covers are for homeowners only, protection for mobile homes, park homes, business premises, council and housing association properties is not available.

Should the worst happen, you can also call upon HomeServe for fixed price repairs, even if you are not subscribing to their monthly plans.

A plumber at work

They back up this service with 12 month guarantees and have a 24/7 hotline that is open 365 days per year, should you need them.

Other Providers of Home Emergency Cover

There are a number of other home emergency insurance providers, including PlusHeat, 247 Home Rescue, Hometree.

Add-on to Home Insurance

A number of insurers provide home emergency insurance as an add-on to their home insurance cover. Insurers that do this include Direct Line, MORE THAN, AXA UK, NFU Mutual and Liverpool Victoria (LV=).

We’ve looked at Direct Line and MORE THAN in more detail to explain the sort of cover offered and how the add-on works. The other insurance products will be variations on this, based on their own home insurance products and any specific nuances they have.

Direct Line Home Emergency Cover Add-on

A plumber repairing a sink

Direct Line offer three levels of home insurance: Home Insurance, Home Insurance Plus and Select Premier.

The Home Emergency cover is included in the Home Insurance Plus (up to £500) and Select Premier (up to £1,500) products, and is an optional extra for the basic Home Insurance product.

Home Emergency cover will cover any incident in the home that:

  • Makes it unsafe or unsecure for occupants
  • Results in a loss of heating, lighting or water

For example, if your boiler has stopped working, you’ve got an uncontrollable leak or the lock on your front door is broken, that’s an emergency. However, a dripping tap wouldn’t class as an emergency under this cover.

Once authorised, emergency assistance will try and secure your property from further damage. This means, for example, that our repairers may turn off the water supply to stop a leak, but they won’t fully repair the pipe.

Whilst this emergency covers a number of things, it also doesn’t cover some, such as roof damage or repairs, fitting replacement locks or repairing alarm systems. There are others and you’ll need to review all the cover and associated terms and conditions very carefully.

MORE THAN (Trading name of Royal Sun Alliance) Home Emergency Add-on

MORE THAN home emergency can only be taken out as an add-on to Home Insurance. You can get home emergency as standard if you choose the Extra cover. Or you can add it to your policy with Essentials and Standard.

You’ll get access to a 24-hour helpline and approved tradespeople. So you’ll have extra peace of mind if the unexpected happens. You have to use an authorised tradesman for any work and under the policy you have up to £200 of cover

Your boiler must be serviced annually with a registered tradesperson. Boilers over 15 years old or with an output of 60kW or more will not be covered.

The Value of Home Emergency Insurance Policies May Depend on The Age of Your Property

Front of new detached house with parking space

Consumer review websites seem to generally suggest that home emergency insurance is very much worthwhile if you are living in an older property where you are more likely to have problems with heating, plumbing and electrics.

If you live in a newly built home with a new or very modern heating system, it may be more economical to pay for problems as they arise.

Clearly this is a very general view and you need to delve a little deeper.

As part of this, make sure you understand what cover you already have in place before you pay out for any new insurance, whether a standalone package or an add-on to your existing home insurance.

For example, a new boiler comes with a warranty period. This varies by manufacturer but will be at least 2 years. Some manufacturers also offer extended warranty, albeit at a cost and it will invariably require you to have an annual boiler service at your expense.

Some boiler brands, such as Worcester Bosch and Valiant, also now come with a guarantee not just a warranty which means you’re covered for any parts, labour or call-out fees if they go wrong.

Is Buying Home Emergency Insurance Worth It?

paper with insurance written on it next to laptop

There is always a risk that when you look at the monthly cost of a service, it seems affordable, however when you multiple it by 12 to see the actual annual costs, you realise how much these plans are really costing each year.

Quite simply, if you are paying £20 per month, then this plan is costing you £240 a year, but that cost is very likely to rise if you have made claims, or for example you boiler reaches a certain age, you change your cover requirements or through wider economic matters such as inflation.

If your plan creeps up to £30 per month, then you are shelling out £360 every year, and that starts to feel expensive, but as we’ve touched on above you will be getting a wide range of cover for that annual charge.

This is why it’s important you assess the cover and costs based on your own particular home setup and requirements. For example, as we’ve touched the age of your property and boiler could be a factor when thinking about these home emergency insurance plans.

Home electricals are generally reliable (Question for you to answer – have you experienced any electrical issues recently?), and the latest boilers are also becoming more reliable too. It’s more simple problems such as stuck valves in the heating system that cause issues and these may be cheaper to fix.

With competition between providers, it is ensuring that prices are reasonable and it is reassuring that any tradesman who visits will have been vetted by the company and has the backing of a large concern rather than from a one man band.

It is also important to decide whether you want to take out standalone home emergency insurance cover, via perhaps the British Gas Homecare® packages or that offered by HomeServe, or whether you want to opt for a Direct Line type add-on to an existing home insurance policy you have.

The choice is yours, but it can certainly pay to shop around. Critically too it is important to decide on the cover you want alongside the cost you can bear and review these policies carefully before signing on the dotted line.

Note: This article is provided for your information only, you need to assess whether a product or service meets your requirements and make your own decision on whether to purchase or not. Information is correct at time of writing.


  1. Warning, Homeserve is totally not worth it. They raise the annual cost each year, I have been paying extortionate amounts. Then, when called out it can be a long time, up to weeks for them to come. They have inflexible slots, 8.00 to 1.00 or 1.00 to 5 which are undo-able with children to take and pick up from school or with work. With a holiday house it means paying for the housekeeper to be there for up to 5 hours for gas boiler and radiator cover. I have just had a plumber on the plumbing and pest cover, asked for on Wednesday, he spent 2 minutes, said what needed doing would not be covered. This is the first time I have called plumbers out and have had the policy for many years! I have waste of my time staying in for a planned 5 hour slot. I have cancelled that and am cancelling the boiler cover. I have had literally thousands of pounds taken across the years for a lot of hassle on the few occasions I have called them out. Just written this to offload, yet again!

  2. Has anyone tried to speak to a real person at B.Gas and been successful without having to wait hours or sometime day’s, I have tried on many an occasion and failed miserably . Yes it is easy to sign up and give them your hard earned cash but just try to get through and speak to anyone with a query.no chance. I shall keep my money and just use local tradesmen.

  3. Hi, I took out a boiler insurance with HOMESERVE about 3-4 years ago when I had a new boiler fitted, I never had to phone them in those years until last January and my monthly d/debit was £33.00 in November last year they raised it to £53.00 without notice which they denied? In January when we had the freezing cold weather I came home to find my heating not working, the next morning I phoned them( which was a joke trying to speak to someone) I finally spoke to a lady who said they would try and get to me sometime the following week, I said that was not good enough and considering I had paid all that money each month, I said because it was frosty every night I would get my own engineer to come out and that I was cancelling my insurance from that moment. I phoned the engineer who fitted the boiler and he fixed it in 10minutes and charged me £40.00. These companies like most today are ripping us off and getting rich off the proceeds.

    • Thanks for sharing your bad experiene with HomeServe. I am glad that you sorted out your boiler problem so easily in the end.

  4. Homeserve use a scam like method of getting custom. I had a small policy with them, just £4 a month but decided to let it run and then cancel at the end. By default I now find that they have charged me £12.85 for the last four months, they tell me that fifteen months ago they were in touch and that this would happen automatically. I am sure that they never sent me any documents and that I agreed to no such thing. They refuse to refund me. As an eighty year old man I am disgusted by their stance.
    Will be very pleased when the Ombudsman sorts this out.
    Would not touch them with a barge pole.

  5. British Gas have no customer relations we had a homecare electrical appliances but after 4 visits and 6 weeks our washing machine still does not work. No one listens and no offer of a contribution towards a replacement!

    • Hello Jeff. Thank you for your comment. I am sorry that you have had bad experience with British Gas Homecare. I have had many problems with them and in fact I have cancelled our appliance, electrical and plumbing cover with them. We now only have boiler cover, and I’m even considering cancelling that too, as it doesn’t seem like good value (the monthly subscription adds up to a lot of money when you multiply it by 12 for the total annual cost).

      I have written a long and detailed article about how to complain against the poor service offered by these large companies. I strongly urge you to read it and then pick up the phone and call British Gas customer services. You will see that I have been very successful in making complaints against British Gas, but I shouldn’t have had to go to all that trouble to rectifiy their poor customer service.

      I hope your problems are rectified soon. Let us know how you get on.

      • Ive just come across this article and I to am having a nightmare with British Gas. They have yet to complete a repair satisfactoraly. I have read your article on complaining and will definately be making a call tomorrow. I will also be cancelling all policies as soon as possible. Thought using such a well known though slightly more pricey company would give me peace of mind – no such luck.

          • Hi. I have recently taken over my Mother’s estate following her death. She was 81 years old.
            My Mother was part owner of a flat in South London which I am now selling.
            As of the preparation to sell, I arranged a boiler service under BG service contract. The BG service engineer did not show or even let me know of the cancellation. I checked the contract.
            Looking into the details, I found that my Mother was paying well over £800.00 yearly for her service contract. The last DD was £72 month! BG’s top HomeCare Four service contract is advertised at £21.08 per month.
            I contacted BG ‘Chat’ online and complained about the no-show and they apologised blaming industrial action. I then challenged them about the cost of the service contract. I was informed that each household was assessed individually and that my Mother’s contract also included four kitchen appliances cover as well as the HomeCare.
            I pointed out to the BG advisor that one could purchase a gas stove, small fridge freezer, microwave and washing machine for less than £600 new. For the £800 BG annual premium my Mother could have replaced all these appliances every year and still had enough to pay the HomeCare Four package!
            The advisor said he would check to see if he could reduce the contract premium.
            He came back with a quote, and I quote:
            “Ryan: On 10/0/21 you paid £71.97. If you accept this discount today, I can bring your payment on 10/4/21 down to £57.69 and on the 10th of every other month, £57.56.”
            Ryan excused the £72/ month by saying that:
            “you have unlimited repairs , which if you see from our website, is considerably more expensive every month. You also have 4 appliances covered too. Everyone’s price is different too, so your price will be a risk assessed one.”
            I informed Ryan that I would be going to the Ombudsman and he said:
            Companies are able to charge whatever they like for good/services. The Ombudsman will not be able to help you with thisI’m afraid.”
            I cancelled the contract.
            My Mother was a very independent woman who insisted on handling her own affairs until the end.
            She was an 80 year old lady, living on her own with her cat on a ‘state pension’.
            She was paying out more than £800 per annum to BG for a service contract that goes back to at least 2017. The BG contract was costing more than £50 per month even then!
            You can imagine how furious I am that my Mother was effectively conned out of ‘several thousands of pounds of her ‘state pension’ by BG because She trusted them!
            I am ‘still’ waiting for a service on the boiler under the contract.
            Apologies about the lengthy message but I am extremely upset with the thought of this.
            Is there anything I can do?

          • Hello Idera. Thank you for telling us about this. Without knowing the exact situation, other than what you’ve kindly explained, it seems that British Gas have been taking advantage of your mother. They’ve probably been increasing the annual premium year after year and then uplifting the premium if there has been a call out. I know from experience that they increase the renewal premium if the customer has requested a repair. In my long article about how to complain and win, you will see tha I have (unfortunately) had many battles with British Gas and I have always won and received significant (very justified) compensation. I did threaten to complain to the Ombudsman once, and was very prepared to follow through and make thet complaint. When I explained this to the BG customer service manager (once I had escalated my complaint to that person), she offered me a substantial compensation to stop me approaching the Ombusdman. The reason being, that statistics of complaints to the Ombudsman are compiled and published so energy companies try and reduce the number of serious complaints so that their performance doesn’t look bad with the industry regulators, and in the press. If you feel strongly about the terrible treatment with your mother then I would talk to BG customer services and escalate your complaint as far as you need to get some recompense. I also suggest that you look into how you can complain to the Ombudsman and be totally prepared to contact them if need be. Follow my guidelines about how to complain effectively. I can tell you with certaintity that the approach that I describe in that article has never failed and I have received £1,000’s in compensation as a result. You MUST be polite but very persistent and must always seek to escalate your complaint to a decision maker. It is not fun to do, but if you feel strongly about it, and are obviously justified, then you owe it to yourself and your mother to sort this out with British Gas. I wish you the very best wishes with this and would be grateful if you could let us/me know how you get on.

  6. There is always the Finance Services Ombudsman, claim financial abuse, breach of contract Miss Selling and Financial Fraud There is also Action Fraud, always copy to or inform C.E.O.

    If a member of a minority claim Racism.

    It is commonly known as fighting fire with fire, right to local and National Media.

    We left BG, after have a new boiler fitted by the manufacturer, because 10 so called BG engineers, condemned the boiler. It took a weak Manager declaring he could not order the engineers to remove their block.

    That was I requested the Managers details and advised that by the time he got back to the office, BT’s
    Public Relations, would have moved all his personal possession to the exit do not come back door.

    But BG is not alone, this is ripe-off Britain and the Government could not care less.

  7. I was with BG some tyime ago for some years until I realised that the money I was spending was far more than any repair that i might have needed. My advice is to keep your money and hire out a good local plumber when needed.

  8. We had the Homecare 200 for 5 years and was more than happy with the service,they would service our boiler and it had one or two parts replaced and that was it.Recently a letter came for renewal and was virtually double what we normally paid.I called them to ask for an explanation, they couldn’t give a reason but blithered for about half an hour until I threatened to leave having pointed out to them online the price was half what they were going to charge me!Eventually I managed to get Homecare 400 for £26.50 a month,but I now find they are charging me for both services in one month!!Looks like I’m going to have to call again…

  9. We live in an old and ‘complicated’ house. BG I have to say have been great.
    Yes, we also had – and needed – a power flush.
    Needed one again this year – all done free by BG.
    So, happy here. Just need to be a little savvy, when the suggestion of a new boiler comes up…

  10. I have found British Gas to be useless. I had homecare 400, It took me several weeks to get appointment for enginers to come out to do any repairs. I needed my toilet fixed as it was overflowing, British gas gives their plumbing contract to DYNAROD, however they said they gave me a morning appointment, morning appointments are between 8am and 1pm. I gave them my mobile number and they said they would call 30 minutes before attending I waited all day despite but they did not call or turn up and when I called them to state I had been waiting all day they saengineer had already been attended the attended the appointment and had called me when they had not called or attended the appointment. I have now cancelled my homecare insurance with them

  11. I used to be with British Gas Homecare 400 plan, they told me too that I needed the £650 flush, even though it had been done only 2yrs ago when I had a new boiler put in!
    They said the heater system would no longer be covered, fair enough.

    A year and half later I had a small drip/leak around the toilet pipes. Dynorod came two days later and he said he’d fixed it and legged it. When I went upstairs the room was starting to flood, instead of a drip.
    I called them again and he came back the next day (I had to turn off my water).
    When he came he insisted that it was fine and not his fault at all, was something I’d done n made it a little better but not fixed. After many phone calls some other chap came and said it was the basin cracked which of course the other chap could never have done.
    I got another plumber in and he said it would be hard to say if it was the bloke or not and would cost a fortune because I would have to take them to court to sort it out (since they were already saying it wasn’t anything to do with them).
    So he went and bought and fitted another loo for me.

    I also found out that my ‘electrical’ check, that they do free of charge after having the plan with them for over three years, was registered as being done but they’ve never ever been to my house to do it!

    The gits

    Anyway like all the others I tried to cancel it but they took the money straight out of my account without my authorization but I never realized for some months due to family health issues I was then told it was going to cost me more to cancel it and it was all my fault! So I went and cancelled the DD so they weren’t able to take it out this October and I’ve not heard anything from them.


  12. Have Landlord Homecare 400,

    Boiler broke, BG want 2+k to replace the boiler,
    BG say as its over 7 years old (part of T&Cs)
    BG knew this when cover was taken,

    I decided to withdraw cover as it was clear it was not worht the paper it was written on; BG said that they would send me refund, get this, by Cheque as opposed to sending monies to the account it originated from?

    My advice : before you step into ANY agreement with British Gas READ the T&C’s first as they cherry pick the most common/expensive parts which may go wrong and exclude them from any policy.

    Buy beware…

  13. I also have homecare400.What a waste of money.I have been with them for 5-6 years
    and only called them twice,when they sent Dyno-Rod.First time was a leaking toilet,the first
    engineer spent 2 hours trying to fix it,then his mate came and flushed the system,and then
    the toilet started overflowing.They packed their bags and left with the comment they couldn’t do anymore and it wasn’t covered.I fought long and hard with BG and eventually got my £50
    refunded.Next time I had no pressure in the kitchen sink,two days later a man from Dyno-Rod
    came out spent 5 mins fiddling with the tap,said oh you need a new tap,and that’s not covered,
    I called a real plunber he came fixed it within 1hour £79.99 and all he did was put a new insert.
    .I am a pensioner living alone and cannot afford for them to come out,charge me and
    in the end not fix anything

  14. I have just come across this discussion. We had a brand new BG Flexi boiler fitted in 2009 at £4000 cost. We also have a homecare 400 agreement.
    Ever since the boiler was fitted there have been numerous callouts due to failures. Most engineers can’t find the problem.
    In addition our homecare premium kept rising – currenlty £65 per month. I queried this and was told that the premium is partly calculated on the number of call outs the previous year.

    So – BG have sold me a boiler that requires a high number of call outs – then it bases part of the homecare premium on that number of call outs.

    Is this what they call a scam?? I have written to them but they just fob me off with sending me to the (wrong) ombudsman.

  15. I have homecare400 with BG, they have responded well to all my various call outs over the years. However, I am now retired and find the cost of keeping up this service to be very high.
    I would like to find another provider with similar level of service.

    Yes, last engineer that visited to carry out the annual service did recommend a flush; I have ignored this as I cannot afford £700+ he quoted.

    British Gas has served me well, but for the price.

  16. i was with British Gas Homecare400 for many years and was happy with their service but stopped last year as i felt it was pricey. Switched over to DIAL A ROD. Today i tried to contact them for another policy. I tried to contact them on several numbers. In reply i could get: a message that was inaudible or Wrong number or send an email and some one would contact me some time later. it was first time i had an occassion to call them.

    How can i trust they will be there when i need them. What happens in a real emergency. I wonder if they are a real or phoney company?

  17. Just had homeserve renewal in, felt it was way to high. On going on other sites was proved right a call to them resulted in an immediate reduction in price almost a third of the original quote!.

    This is not the first saving on renewals this year lots out there want your business ALWAYS compare .

  18. We moved house last September and decided to take out the British Gas Homecare 400 plan because we knew that we could have unexpected expenses in the first few years at the new address.

    When BG came to service the boiler for the first time the first thing the engineer said was I know this boiler very well as I have had to replace the heat exchanger in it twice before – despite the boiler being 6 years old. He did what he wasn’t supposed to do and showed me the full service history (relating to the previous house owner) and their repeated recommendations for a power flush of the system due to sludge build-up in the CH system (you could heard the boiler constantly kettling).

    Obviously this was news to me and BG would only take on the system if I agreed to a power flush which I decided to agree to. The BG charge was higher in comparison to other providers but they explained to me that it’s a lifetime deal for as long as the Homecare 400 agreement is in place and it would be free if needed again.

    Six months later, boiler starts leaking – heat exchanger blown again. This was supplied and fixed by BG in short order with no additional cost to us.

    They have just come out today to fix a radiator where the auto-vent wasn’t working, again no cost to us. They (Dyno-Rod) are also coming out to us on Monday to fix a leaking toilet (seal gone) again at what should be no cost to us.

    They also cover the electrics and having checked the policy I’ll be calling them out to fix a faulty bathroom fan in the near future.

    I suspect that the premium may go up at the end of the first year as a result of these call-outs but for us the plan has given us a peace of mind and so far I can recommend it given our particular circumstances.

  19. I’ve had a British Gas Homecare 400 agreement since the early 1980’s. I truly have witnessed changes since they signed up with the mother company, Centrica. The latter has been in the news and investigated by Ofgem for profiteering – so beware! (Not the only energy company to be criticised either.)

    My recent experience proved a literal nightmare with an engineer who tried to repair a motorised valve unbenown to me at the time on my central heating system. The fault had started with all radiators cold and the boiler firing up to supply only hot water. The engineer had told me from the start the fault lay with this actuator/motorised valve but nothing was documented on his engineer’s report for that day! Subsequently, sometimes I experienced when I came back from work the room temperature was chilly and the rads: lukewarm, other times the heating was fully kicking in. The heating was complelety erractic.Three further visits ensued, where a powerhead and valves were replaced, then the whole pump – before suddenly I was back to square one with NO central at all. (During the course of these visits I’d had to take off time from the small business I run and was losing money fast.) Lucky for me that a RELIEF manager intervened who recommended the motorised valve was replaced entirely, as opposed to being tinkered with. Thie incompetent engineer prior had been reliant upon on his OWN field manager. (The latter individual had tried to sell me a Power Flush at £897 to include a magnabooster – strangely enough I had baulked at the price!) Please don’t fall into the trap – the sales pitch is distinctly noticeable..

    Note for fact, BG engineers take commission from the products they sell. Their field managers are subject to target figures and seeking promotion.They ‘seem’ to deploy scare tactics by commenting on how your central heating system should be upgraded, and endless products are listed on their reports. Some £1200’s worth to include a Power Flush!

    Look out for yourselves, British Gas make exclusions to your policy if you don’t abide by their Terms of Agreement by acceding to a Power Flush, (and all besides). For, if they have advised you on a previous occasion of these products they can, and will compromise you under their insurance policy.
    A form of blackmail no less as I see it.

    My situation would not have been resolved by having a Power Flush. The engineer proved incompetent instead. Since the motorised valve was finally replaced my heating has been fine and back to normal. It’s been a trouble-free system for donkey years.

  20. hI

    We have had homecare400 for about 15 years and the last call out we had was in 2005. We are pleased with the service we get but not the price! The boiler is serviced every year. On renewal next month our policy has gone up by £4 a month to £31 a month. Does anyone know of another company who offers the same cover (Homecare 400) but cheaper….. bearing in mind that our boiler is now over 10 years old…. and would a new supplier automatically say we needed a new one? If so, then are we better staying with B.Gas?
    Spoken to BGas re renewal costs and they are prepared to reduce to £27 a month if I do it today!!! Or reduce to £19 a month but with us paying £50 excess on all call outs. We have had no call outs for 6 years but you can bet the minute we go down this route we will need to call them out. We are both pensioners now and so money is really tight. HELP. Any suggestions what we should do?

  21. I have BG100 and the renewal for this year is £18.66 pcm- new customers can purchase cover for £13.50 pcm, almost 40% cheaper! In addition, BG did not contact me to arrange annual boiler service but luckily I remembered in time & phoned today, one day before end of contract. If they could not have arranged service tomorrow they would have refunded a measly £30 in lieu of missed service – where can you get a boiler service for £30?
    They have been great over last 20 years but I feel they are ripping existing customers off – I have cancelled renewal.

  22. We have a British Gas Homecare 400 plan and like many of you I consider it to be a total rip off- The last boiler service took precisely 10 mins and all the engineer did was plug a computer in and then stare at the boiler, A few minutes later he said it was fine. We shall be cancelling this as soon as the contract is up for renewal
    He then went on to say that because the boiler was 10 years old they could not get parts and we should buy a new boiler. Having made enquiries i have discovered that they should remove the front of the boiler and clean it, this has never been done. I also found out that for our particular boiler there are plenty of spare parts available.
    British Gas are only interested in selling selling selling – They attempted to sell a friend of mine a boiler which could have heated a shopping centre let alone a 2 bedroom apartment on the first floor of a 3 floor block.

  23. I have a Homecare 400 plan phoned them at 7am on 24th December to advise toilet would not flush- was asked if this was the only toilet in the house to which I replied yes, then asked if there were any vulnerable adults in the house and replied no- the soonest I could get an apointment is Wednesday 28th December -but I did get the option of a morning or afterrnoon slot & was asked if they could help me with anything else! Lets just say I will cancel this policy in the new year.

  24. Dev,
    I can’t advise on the ‘reset’ issue, without knowing the make/model of your boiler.
    There is nothing to stop you from seeking a 2nd opinion from another heating engineer.
    There is also no clause in your contract that says you have to have a ‘powerflush’ carried out by
    BG. You can have whoever you like to carry out the flush. If it is a combi, I would recommend
    you have a filter installed, such as a Fernox TF1 or a Magnaclean to keep future muck out of the boiler.
    £700 is a lot of money, so well worth finding a local guy to give an opinion 1st on whether it is needed.
    Go to one of the local heating merchants and ask the guy on the counter for the name of a good experienced local engineer.

  25. I am a landlord in scotland and pay over 5k a year for this cover with scottish gas .Over the past year all i get is tenants calling me saying british gas wont come out unless my systems get a power flush .Just recently whilst on holiday they told my tenant they wouldn’t come back unless she got a power flush and when I sent an independent plumber he fixed boiler and took photographs to show it didn’t require a power flush at all.So much for peace of mind .Total con I will be cancelling my polices.

  26. I am faced with substantial increase in BG homecare 400 after being a customer for many years….while all of you have said you cancelled policy no one mentioned whom they moved to …it would be very helpful to know what s the equivalent of homecare 400 at better price

    • Look up moneysupermarket.com, then into Home Energy Services, and then Electrical, Plumbing and Heating Breakdown Cover. This gives a considerable number of alternatives with comparable cover and prices.


  27. Same here, i have homecare 200, bgas have gone to the property and changed a few parts, and now are saying they cannot reset the boiler until i have a “power flush” done for £700!,,,is this even true that they cant reset it!!

  28. Have BG cover for water pipes. Recently main burst outside house. BG sent a third party contractor who excavated and repaired the pipe. In doing so they got grit/dirt into the pipe which blocked the eater valve. The contractors denied that they had allowed dirt/grit into the pipe and made up a story about the water pressure being low before they started. In dispute with BG and going to ombudsman. In the process of preparing for this requested copy of notes/tel calls on job from third party contractor to BG.

    They claimed £730 from my homecare insurance policy. Part of this was for using specialist equipment to find the water valve (£205+VAT) the contractors also claimed that the water main had multiple burst over a length of 3 to 5 metres. Got independent inspection done myself – water valve is on pavement in clear view 18 feet from my front gate. The repair was re-excavated and found to be a single burst – length of replacement pipe 30 centimetres.

    BG are not interested in investigating the overcharge on my insurance policy. I think the overcharging is a deliberate ploy as the max claim/year is £1000 – anything beyond that you pay for. So your £1000 of mains pipe cover becomes only £400 when you take into account their exaggerated/inflated costings. This is a racket and needs to be investigated – has anyone else experienced this?

  29. We have cover with British Gas and our shower wouldn’t stay hot. We had 3 British Gas engineers out one of which told us we needed a new shower. We got a new shower and this problem still kept occurring. In the end we actually found out it was the lime scale around the thermostat!!

    Why 3 times and us buying a brand new shower!!!!

    Be careful!

  30. We have cover with EON – taken out early Feb as I recall. We had the obligatory (free) initial inspection done, and all was well.

    Early/mid March we noticed a damp patch in the lounge ceiling – beneath the airing cupboard. We called EON, who sent an engineer 2 days later. His advice was “leave it, see if it gets worse – if so we’ll lift floorboards in the airing cupboard to investigate”. Late march, it was obviously worse, we called again. 2 days later, another engineer: “Leave it, see if it gets worse, if so, we’ll go in through the ceiling”. This morning, the ceiling collapsed, and we’ve had to shut down our heating and water supply for safety. Despite advising them we have a 5 month old in the house, they dont consider our lack of heating and water to be an emergency, and wont get anyone out before tomorrow.

    Worth the money? Hell no. AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!

  31. Sounds like we are lucky. I have never had a problem with the attitude of engineers or suffered the ‘Powerflush’ saga. My bone of contention is with their pricing. Having had the Homecare 400 agreement for several years I recently took out another agreement for a second house and was offered a price £114 cheaper than my existing agreement. As soon as I queried this the droped the price immediately – Moral of this story Never accept the priced offered and tell them you can get it cheaper somewhere else ( you almost certainly can)!!

  32. Does anyone know if what British Gas is doing is fully legal. I.e. telling people that in order for you to receive the insurance you’ve spent years paying for, you must have a flush done by them at an unegotiable price…and that the equivalent work certified by another company would not be acceptable…this just sounds so dodgy.

    It would also be interesting to know if the service engineers work on a commission basis?

  33. We have the HomeCare 400 Plan. I must say over the last few months Scottish Gas have been as much use as a chocolate teapot. Our sewers blocked several times and they eventually said that part of the sewer had collapsed and our drive would have to be dug up for the sewer to be replaced – but not to worry it was on the insurance – nobody has bothered to contact us regarding this in four months. Obviously it is going to be expensive and I think they are just ignoring us. Our condensing boiler froze up 3 days before Christmas and we were left for 24 hours until an engineer could get to us – it was minus 12 degrees. A rather rude engineer arrived and defrosted the pipe with my hairdryer and then left the hairdryer in the garage covered with snow. His whole attitude was one of could-not-care-less. His parting shot was that he was sure it would freeze up again that night – we were lucky though it didn’t freeze that night it froze late on Christmas Day – we were then without central heating and hot water for 3 days – Christmas was totally wrecked. They are now going to install a heated wire in the outside pipe so this does not happen again – at a cost to us of £200! We then had a light that wasn’t working and they organised an electrician to come out – he stated that it was just a loose connection and he had put the bulb in more securely – 10 minutes after he left the light went out again – so much for loose connections. The latest installment in this sorry saga is that we came home on Friday night to find water pouring through the hall ceiling. We rang them immediately and they said to call back the following morning. We turned the water off and rang the following morning and were told that a plumber would be with us within the next 4 hours. We waited and waited and after 4 or 5 calls we eventually told at 5 p.m. that they couldn’t get to us that day but that a plumber was booked for between 8 and 10 a.m. Sunday morning. On Sunday morning were told that it was more than likely the plumber would not be with us until late afternoon. We had now lost all confidence in their abilities. I rang the telephone number on the HomeCare Agreement and asked for the name and address of a senior manager so that I could write a letter of complaint. The individual on the other end of the line just didn’t seem to comprehend what I was asking and kept saying “Is it a complaint about the call centre or the service” and I said “BOTH” in the end I gave up with her. We are now seeking another source of home care and are considering what action to take against them.

    • Hello – I read Lesley’s long message with interest – we had similar problems a few years ago when the carbon monoxide alarm went off – still don’t know why – and our gas was turned off by BG people and then kept promising to come and put it back on after testing the supply inside our house and this was over the New Year. No one turned up – day after day. So it was time to act – on the complaints on-line facility I sent an e-mail – and repeated it x 10 every few minutes – I was determined to choke the system up if they would not respond which they soon did. Whilst doing that I was already making plans to film myself and then put on You Tube in what I called a letter to the CEO and or anyone else at BG. But then I found quite by chance after scouring th8e internet the
      direct line e-mail of the CEO of Cenitrica and sent a 3 page e-mail complaining. Within one hour his secretary ran me and left a message on my a/mc saying that a senior customer manager would contact me within 24 hrs to take my complaints, by this time I could now prove that BG call centre staff had lied to me and I had their names. Not 24 hrs later but in less than 24 minutes the senior customer service person was on my phone arranging to deal with my complaints. I did not have to You Tube in the end but did send an e-mail to the CEO to thank him. I was a police officer for 30 years so I am not easily defeated you have to be persistent. Always remember 99% of the time the customer can get the last word.

      • I had terrible problems with BG homecare400, currently I am paying £443. and too have had the your system needs a powerflush saga, it took several visits and many contrasting stories for the engineer to come up with this. Needless to say I am cancelling and going with Corgi. Two summers ago I had collapsed sewers which meant I could not use my bathroom or kitchen, I was left more than 6 weeks, my disabled Dad and daughter who had just come out of hospital were living with me. I had a terrible fight, no one would tell me the problem, the solution or a date for the work to be done. After creating hell and being blatantly ingnored and sidelined for weeks, the contract was taken from Peterborough Dynarod, to Notts (who did an amazing job). Peterborough insisted my kitchen needed gutting and were trying to claim through my private household insurance at an extortionate cost. Basically I was trapped in a price tug of war. I asnt even told that my kitchen maye need taking apart and digging up. Once Notts took over, the work was completed bu digging under the edge of the house at a slice of the price. I complained and after MANY rude converations and bullying by BG staff I got compensation, not even close to my annual fee, I just wanted closure, it was a hideous time. This company need to be investigated independantly. I am a psychologist, I know what impact this sort of ordeal has on people, I can defend myself but not everyone is as fortunate. They are praying on peoples vulnerability.

  34. hi..i used to have british gas flexi 400.never made a claim for 3 yrs and then my toilet cystern started leaking..yes u guessed it…..it wasnt covered…then they try and charge me 50 quid for telling me it wasnt covered….complete rip off.cancelled policy straight away

    • We are a long term customer of British Gas Homecare 400 with no claims for years. We then had one call out last year to repair a fan in the boiler (well it was actually counted as 2 call outs because their engineer did not fix the problem at the first instance). Then on this year’s renew they raised the premimium from £27 to £37 per month. I challenged them why such a huge hike on price but did not get anywhere. So I decided to cancel the agreement at end of June. Just recently my wife realized they were collecting monthly direct debit all these months even though my contract was to be cancelled 3 months ago. Phoned them up to complain but only was told, “yeah we made mistake but will refund your money. If you have any problems write to our customer relation team on the address you can find from your original terms and condition sheet”!! Such a rude and arrogant organization.

  35. May 1, 2010
    British Gas is a rip off organisation. I suffered the same fate as others POWERFLUSH SAGA!!
    I was desperate as the boiler was noisy and would not heat the house. They refused to come
    back till I do the powerflush. They told me if I insisted on them coming back they will have to charge me for the visit. This is pure blackmail!. 10 days ago they had put a new pump and sill I had a problem. Out of desperation I called an independent engineer only to be told that British Gas had put a faulty pump. He changed the pump and everything was fine. He even told me that there is no need for powerflush as the water is clean in the radiators. I a now cancelling my agreement and moving elsewhere. Any advice?

    • “I was desperate as the boiler was noisy and would not heat the house. They refused to come
      back till I do the powerflush. They told me if I insisted on them coming back they will have to charge me for the visit. This is pure blackmail!. 10 days ago they had put a new pump and still I had a problem. Out of desperation I called an independent engineer only to be told that British Gas had put in a faulty pump. He changed the pump and everything was fine. He even told me that there is no need for powerflush as the water is clean in the radiators. I a now cancelling my agreement and moving elsewhere. Any advice?”

      Try taking them to court. They didn’t honour the terms of the agreement. You could go to CAB and they’ll tell you how to do it. Or ask on the forums of moneysaver.com

  36. British gas has just been ripping the consumers pocket. we have been a customer for years and yet when we make a claim they will turn up and say they don’t cover the repair (even if im on a home care 400)because of silly reasons then will offer you that they can repair it for a cost of £76 per hour.. how ridiculous. i have cancelled my policy coz this happens a few times and looking for reliable honest and efficient provider .

    • I have also had exactly the same experience- I was quoted £650 for a power flush- this then went up to £1200. A private heating engineer repaired the system (it needed a new pump) for under £200. Needless to say I have cancelled the policy.

  37. Also having the same problems with British Gas, seems its a standard thing for them to suggest you have a Power Flush for almost £700. You report one problem and they come up with major repairs. Does anyone know anyone who provides the same cover but who are more reliable and dont try to rip you off. Also someone whose response time is better than 6 hours. unbelievable, we actually have to work so we can pay these plans!!!

  38. We have British Gas Home Care400 plan. We have had this high level of cover for a good few years but like Vic and Paul we are now searching for another provider as the same situation has arisen. British Gas are insisting that unless we buy the power flush from them at £650 they will not cover boiler repairs etc. We agree with the others that this is way over priced and have told BG that we will have it done professionally and provide proof but they still wont accept this. We will be voting with our feet as they say! I can’t believe that British Gas are prepared to treat long term customers in this way.

  39. I have british home care 400. was very happy so far but recently they have started to mislead customers. They started to charge for heat exchanger in combi boilers. They want to powerwash your system for £650.00 which is too high the charge which otherwise cost between £350/£450. Heat exchanger will not be descale even if you powerwash the system it need to replaced or remove and descale.

    • I have had exactly the same experience as Vic. I also have the British Gas Flexi 400. I have experienced problems with my boiler and British Gas first tried to insist that it required a new heat exchanger and now insist that the system needs a power flush at a cost of £650. British Gas have said that unless I have the power flush done they will no longer repair the boiler.

      • hi I can testify to this blatant act 1 I had a leaking rediator over 18 months ago the engineer stated that we would need a power flush and said he could book us in for one , but he then said it was not covered by our plan and the cost would be £650 , my husband and I declined , but last summer we did get the system flushe by a timeserved and corgi registered plumer this took 4 hours.
        2 weeks ago another radiator had a pin hole leak I called BG and engineer came out , my husband called me at work and the engineer stated that as we had not gotten the flush done by them we were not covered for out radiator I have now put in a complaint to customer services. and will be taking await my customer after 20 odd years!!!

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