British Gas Homecare for Landlords
Boiler insurance for accidental landlords
I am not a property portfolio holder or professional landlord. I became an accidental landlord in 2009 after my family outgrew the 2 bedroom flat we bought in 2006.
I do not have a great deal of money at my disposal so paying call out fees for plumbers and electricians would be a problem for me. I therefore decided to take out an insurance policy with British Gas should my tenants have problems with the gas or electrics in their flat.
This guide will explain what British Gas Homecare 400 for landlords provides, my experiences with the service and how you can negotiate a good price for yourself.
Level of cover provided by British Gas Homecare
Although there are other levels of cover available I chose to go for the most comprehensive which includes
- Annual Gas Safety Check (a legal requirement for all British Landlords)
Annual Boiler Service
Electrical cover with unlimited call outs, parts and labour
Boiler, controls and heating cover with unlimited call outs, parts and labour.
A 24 hour emergency helpline for any problems linked to electrics, boiler or heating.
The Cost of British Gas Homecare 400 for Landlords
Before I took out the policy I did a comparison check of other companies which offered a similar service. These were the AA, N Power and Homeserve. I worked out the annual charge for each company and then deducted any cashback that these companies offered through sites such as topcashback and quidco.
With this information I was able to phone British Gas and negotiate a premium of £28.00 per month (£336.00 per year). As a boiler service and gas safety check would cost £140.00 per year I reasoned that the cost for unlimited call outs, parts and labour would be £196.00 per year.
Positive experiences with British Gas Homecare for landlords
When carrying out an internal inspection of the property I noticed some shiny new plug sockets. I asked about them and the tenant said they had stopped working and she had phoned homecare. An electrician had visited and replaced the sockets the same day.
Similarly the boiler in my flat is a condensing boiler and stopped working due to a frozen condensing pipe. The plumber who visited said that insulating the pipe would help stop this problem in the future. He said that technically he should not carry out this work but as he had some spare insulation in the fan he did this work for free.
Negative Experiences with British Gas Homecare for landlords
My second tenant phoned British Gas and after the boiler stopped working. An engineer was sent and arrived at around 6pm. He spent a lot of time complaining that he had to get home but managed to get the boiler working within an hour.
However two days later the boiler cut out and a second engineer visited. He started laughing and asked my tenant if the previous engineer had asked to borrow a hair-drier from her. Apparently he had and had used this to “jump start” the boiler as a quick fix but had not left any notes of the work he had carried out. The second engineer explained that apart would need replacing but it would need to be ordered. He arrived two days later with the part and fixed the problem.
Tips when buying British Gas Homecare 400 for landlords
- Make sure you have researched the prices available from all companies that supply similar services. Check the AA, Homesevers and N Power. This will put you in a strong negotiating position when you take out the cover.
- Check cashback sites such as Topcashback and Quidsco for all companies that offer these services.
- Drainage cover will be included as standard with any policy. However if you own a flat with shares pipes you will not be covered even of you have the policy. If you have a flat make sure that you ask that the drains cover is removed.
Is it worth buying?
For peace of mind alone I think British Gas Homecare for landlords is worth the £28.00 per month I pay. My tenants have access to a 24 hour helpline and I know whilst some of the engineers may be lazy or make mistakes they will all be fully qualified. Any mistakes that are made a re dealt with quickly at not extra charge.