Homeserve - Good or Bad?


I need to arrange central heating cover for my aged mother. The options seem to be limited to British Gas or Homeserve. She's had BG before, with mixed results. Are Homeserve any better or worse?
Any other options? Bearing in mind she's 80+ years old, hasn't got a clue how to work anything invented after 1939, and lives in a different city to me, so some kind of emergency call-out is essential.
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Hugo Nebula
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It's time to start thinking about a bit more than boiler lids.
If no one on the internet wants a piece of this try another newsgroup. This is D-I-Y. Think about it.
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On 14 Apr 2007 02:48:27 -0700, a particular chimpanzee,
and produced:

Boiler lids? Do boilers have lids? I must say, up to now the thought of boiler lids has never crossed my mind. Not even once.

You are, of course, absolutely right. Except that these groups have covered areas outside of the narrow definition of "do it yourself", and have given helpful and informative answers to people asking questions on matters such as home improvement and maintenance. Or even http://groups.google.com/group/uk.d-i-y/msg/75c50b94867b1e17 on the subject of Jesus's appearance.
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Hugo Nebula
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... And when do we ever get around to discussing DIY ?
Hugo, what area is she in ?
I might have an alternative
also, have you tried finding out who looks after the local area social housing? They might offer such a deal
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geoff

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On Sat, 14 Apr 2007 20:35:16 GMT, a particular chimpanzee, raden
Liverpool.

I wouldn't trust Liverpool City Council (nor, to be honest, any large, urban Council) or the local Housing Associations with anything like this. I wouldn't want to get into the situation of my mother having to ring a call centre and having to deal with "press button 3 for..", as she's no longer up to following simple instructions.
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Hugo Nebula
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I think that you slightly misunderstood
It's very unlikely that it would be the council as such who do the work, they subcontract the work out (under tender) to firms who take on x homes for Y pounds / house for z years
Here in Watford it's a company called Mears
so, they are set up to provide the service she's after, they have to have a satisfactory level of competence, they are big enough to cope etc
and, they are not British gas, and they don't have the insurance company in the loop taking their cut of your subscription
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wrote:

Don't know about homeserve but old lady up the road has had no hot water for 6 weeks and they've just charged her 560 quid for a flush out and that's with the bg cover

Is she eligible for a brand new heating system for free? BF's aunty got one and its guaranteed for years and they did all her insulation too whilst they were at it.
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IANAL
Before she loses the plot completely, think about trying to back-date an Enduring Power of Attorney form asap - it'll let you look after her finances if she has problems in the future.
The rules changed at the beginning of the month, and the new paperwork is a lot more expensive / in-depth than the old forms. You don't need to "activate" them, just get them signed (last month...)
I've got a copy if you need them !
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On 2007-04-14, Colin Wilson

Do EPoA arrangements set up before the rule changes remain in force? We have one for my M-I-L.
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IANAL
That's my understanding - check on some recent threads (at least one of which I started) on the subject over in uk.legal
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On 2007-04-14, Colin Wilson

S'okay - I'll give the solicitor a bell.
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"Colin Wilson"

I am also not a lawyer but I was talking to one last week about the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and she confirmed that the new provisions affecting enduring power of attorney do not come into force until October 2007. From October 2007, EPA changes to lasting power of attorney.
On the issue of emergency household cover, I pay an extra 9.99 per YEAR on my house buildings insurance that covers all emergency call-outs affecting gas, electricity, plumbing and drains. Norwich does a similar scheme but it costs 7.99 per MONTH. See http://www.norwichunion.com/home-emergency-cover/index.htm . For annual gas boiler servicing I use a local CORGI plumber who charges about 50 per service (Baxi Bermuda gas fire with back boiler).
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On Sun, 15 Apr 2007 06:46:45 +0100, a particular chimpanzee, "DIY" <secret> randomly hit the keyboard and produced:>On the issue of emergency household cover, I pay an extra 9.99 per YEAR on

Thanks, but what she needs is a 24-hour emergency call-out number, rather than a 24-hour _claims_ number. Paying for a plumber in an emergency isn't the problem; finding one is.
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Hugo Nebula
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I know two 80-odd year old girls who subscribe to the BG maintenance contract. The contact telephone number is pasted across the boiler. They get the yearly inspection (and repairs if req'd) and both have had swift and painless callout experiences at time of need.
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Tony Williams.

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On Sun, 15 Apr 2007 10:42:40 +0100, a particular chimpanzee, Tony
produced:

She had a BG contract for years. Yes, they turned up promptly, and were there if needed. Each time a call was put in, a different fitter would call, would diagnose something different than the previous guy, and would undo what had been done before (usually to the detriment of the system). My OP was trying to elicit an answer to whether Homeserve offer a better or worse service than that.
The nightmare scenario I have in mind is; it's the middle of February, there's ice & snow everywhere. At 9am on a Monday morning, I get a call from my mother, "Hugo, the heating's not come on". After establishing that she didn't touch anything (at her mental age, the safest way to keep the system running is DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING), and a few basic questions, I come to the conclusion that it's nothing I can get her to fix by giving instructions over the phone. I have to then ring up work and ask for a morning or whole day off work, ring up people I was supposed to meet and put as many off as possible, ring around colleagues and get them to cover the jobs I can't, ring up the people attending the meetings I was having later that day and try and rearrange. I then drive 30-odd miles to my mother's, and assess the problem. If I'm lucky, it's something as simple as replacing a fuse to the boiler; if I'm not, it will involve ringing around every plumber in the Yellow Pages, all of whom are busy as it's the coldest day of the year, and everyone's system has decided not to work today either. If I find one, this will then involve me staying until he arrives and can diagnose the problem, as I don't want the risk of him trying to sell my mother a 2000 Franackapan valve.
Of course, the other solution to this problem is, 'sheltered housing', but mention this to my mother at your peril!
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"Hugo Nebula" wrote:

My insurance company calls out the appropriate tradesperson and pays the tradesperson afterwards, it is nothing to do with me making a claim, I just tell the insurance company the nature of the emergency.
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Hugo Nebula wrote:

There's also an outfit I've heard of call www.coverheat.com - don't know anything about them though.
Try looking into local options, as well as national outfits. I have cover from a local company for a let-out house - excellent value and great service the one time I had to use them.
David
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Don't waste her money. Ring a few plumbers up and get an arrangement with a good local one. Firstly that he comes and services boiler etc every year and that he will come and fix any problems if you have them. It is much cheaper. Forget these contracts they just pray on peoples paranoia
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Do remember that there is a difference between emergency cover and maintenance cover.
While some of the emergency cover companies do bend the rules to be helpful. In general you have to have an emergency, such as water gushing out everywhere or no water at all in the home. If even one tap works okay then it's not an emergency.
Likewise having no heating is not an emergency. You do have various options such as using blankets or using electric heaters. I know as British Gas told me to use both while i waited a week in near zero temperatures to fix my heating. Having a 75 year old in the house cut no mustard either.
So the advice below to find a good local plumber/heating engineer who is willing to come out at any day/time. But that seems more difficult than anything these days.
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