Car Insurance Renewal Time – what a bloody pain in the arse. More so for me, as due to a very generous present in my youth with a spare car, my insurance is up each year on my birthday. That bill is not the best present I get each year! This year’s was particularly bad as it came through yesterday at £1220. Not good as the previous year was about £800. When I had calmed down a bit, I did some web-based work and what occurred has serious pissed me off…
I have two cars, owner on both with the wife as a named driver on both. Apart from a low-level bump she caused last year, all our histories are clear with regards to accidents and points.
I did a quick run through on one of the cars (as the multicar policy had come through with separate premiums for each) on a competitor site and it came out more! Surely things hadn’t changed that much in 1 year that premiums have gone up this much! Now due to the incredibly annoying and ubiquitous advertising that irritates the crap out of me, I never wanted to do it, but………I Go Compared !!!!!
Well, it was an eye-opener straight away as the premiums at the top of the list came out MUCH cheaper. Then again, I fail to believe such attractive offers are real and are just meaningless gimmicks to grab your custom. However, it was the fifth entry down that really made me sit up and take notice. It was from the same company that I was with, but with a significant difference in price, as you can see:
Cost on renewal letter: £644.46
Cost via Go Compare: £370.82
Now this baffled me somewhat – the same car, the same drivers, the same address and the SAME INSURANCE COMPANY. How the hell can there be such a difference? I thought that there was either an error on my part or a ton of hidden costs that would eventually boost it up.
So, I did the other car too:
Cost on renewal letter: £576.43
Cost via Go Compare: £361.28
I rang them up and told them that I had found insurance cheaper elsewhere; they were surprised, but said that if I could prove it that they were able to price match. They were even more surprised when I told them that it was with them, and even provided the precise Quote References from their own systems that the Go Compare process had created!
After 53 mins on the phone with a very lovely customer service agent, they had run though both quotes, compared them to my existing policy, and found just one discrepancy (a data entry error on my part) and it turned out to be a combined cost of £799.88.
So, to run through the difference clearly:
Policy Renewal Price on their letter: £1220
Policy Renewal Price after they compared with themself: £800
That’s a VERY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE of £422, just over 34%
I know after all this you could quite rightly call me a ream of names for what I did next, but I did renew it because: a) changing companies is a pain (and they prey on that) b) it is a large company and I prefer to deal with them when things go wrong and c) the service they did when there was an incident last year was first class. It was also Friday night after a busy week and I didn’t want to go through this all again to find a slightly cheaper premium with an unknown company.
However, I am extremely concerned that a company in these days of so-called financial regulation and consumer protection have the freedom, morals and standard approach of fleecing customers with such disregard. Where was the reward for the customer loyalty? Where was the transparency in the difference in the costs (they couldn’t explain it)? Who the hell is actually regulating this industry and identifying how the hell these figures are calculated? For someone like me who will spend 20 minutes on the web and an hour on the phone going through this process, there is bound to someone who won’t. I shudder to think of the amount of money that corporations like this take (or maybe extort, steal or acquire fraudulently may be a better description) from innocent punters, especially ones with whom money is tight. They are making it up and taking the piss.
The media is always telling us of corrupt institutions operating in other countries – what’s this then…. accepted practise?