Well Hancock didn’t do the Gov briefing today so you’re all spared another posting about his pronouncements. Hurrah! However don’t worry, my infuriated levels remained very high today with a different subject. This time it wasn’t a disingenuous politician but my next favourite bete noire, the car insurance company. Grrr…..
We’ve been with our current company for a year and it’s policy renewal time. As is usual with online contracts it happens automatically unless you take steps to change things. But here’s the thing none of our circumstances have changed over the year except that the value of the car has reduced and currently our mileage expectations are heavily reduced – both should mean a reduction in our premium. We did have a claim back in September but it was down to a third party reversing into our car parked in a residents parking space. The other driver admitted liability immediately and his insurers covered all costs of course. So no cost implications for my insurer.
I was expecting a small uplift in the premium (it never goes down) in line with inflation. Well imagine our surprise when they notified us that the annual charge would go up from around £370 pa to over £500. I tried to get in touch with them by phone but they have no staff on the Iines at present so I tried the online chat thing. I gave the advisor our details and asked them for a new quote as I was unhappy with the quote they’d provided. She wouldn’t do it saying I need to give her a quote from another company. So I just said don’t worry I’ll just cancel the renewal and go with another provider. No you can’t do that as it needs the policy holder to confirm that. As it happens Carol was away on the first day of a new job. So, slightly annoyed by her unhelpfulness, I just said we’d be back. I could have just said oh here’s Carol now and continued but I couldn’t be arsed continuing to chat to her virtually. This is how it felt…
This morning, refreshed, I got onto Confused.com, filled in our details and came up with any number of new quotes offering similar coverage at prices as low as £300 pa. We decided that the quote from the AA was the best. So we got back onto our insurance company’s chat line, told them it was Carol the policy holder and advised them of the new offer from the AA. Within seconds they came back with a counter offer of about the same value. Amazing. But it was with a company we’d never heard of. I told them we’d probably rather go with an insurer we’d heard of – like the AA. She came back and said well don’t worry it’s really our company and as well as being a broker we’re also an insurer, and this policy is exactly the same as the one we’d just had for this last year. All we had to do was just say let’s continue at the reduced rate – a decent annual saving of around 16%.
Now I liked her honesty but here’s the thing. Why couldn’t the company offer me that in the first place instead of trying to screw me with a premium increased by nearly 40%? Because they are a grasping cynical organisation. Wouldn’t you jump for joy if your car/home/contents/life insurer said look we’ve had a scout around and think we can reduce your year-on-year costs by 10%. Is that OK? You’d probably jump at it wouldn’t you? Do they just think oh it’s Paul and Carol, they’re old fuckwits let’s just stiff them with a quote of over £500. They’re so old and senile they’ll probably just accept it unquestionably. Do they think we are idiots and don’t have access to broadband and comparison sites which do all the search work for you? It took me about 10 minutes to find the new quotes.
Insurance companies; I hate them. When we had a claim they passed on responsibility to an accident management company who then passed me on to the company who supplied our replacement vehicles and eventually a law firm. I had to relay all the details over the phone endlessly with call handlers from each company who then proceeded to send me online forms to fill in asking for exactly the same details. They also sold on my personal details to a bunch of ambulance chasers who pestered me for months with calls beginning we understand you were involved in an accident which wasn’t your fault…fuck off!!
So you can imagine how I responded to online chat advisor Meghan (who was actually quite sincere and responsive) when she asked if I wished to proceed with their new offer. If she hadn’t been so helpful I would have said that I’d rather be tethered naked with pesto smeared all over my body and have rats slowly chew off all my extremities. But we simply said no thank you, we’ve gone for a better quote from a responsible organisation. Please don’t automatically renew and try and withdraw money from our account. She acknowledged and agreed gracefully. If I had a business I’d pluck her out as she must feel so desperate trying to justify her company’s actions.
Too late we’re AA people now. Call me cynical but I’m sure we’ll go through the same exercise in a year’s time…sigh. I’ll keep you posted.