gouging of the insurance variety

We changed our car this week – the GermanBarge sailed through its MOT without a murmur, and we thought it a good time to get something new.  The Merc, though solid, had a bizarre footbrake arrangement that I couldn’t master; fine around the flatlands of Hull, but hopeless for me if I encountered a hill start, and also I found the driving position very uncomfortable.

So we went car hunting, and whenever we saw something promising I went to confused.com and got a rough estimation of insurance costs. We settled on a 1999 Saab estate (one whole year younger than Das Barge!), and i organised a temporary cover note at iniquitous expense while we sold the Merc. And when it was gone, yesterday, I phoned Budget Insurance to swap the cover.

I took the insurance out in February, at a cost of £335.89. And the premium for the Saab was to be – wait for it – £778.98. Plus a £30 admin charge. This seemed odd, as I had fed the registration number into Confused at the weekend, and got quotes of between £250 and £350. I asked for a price for cancelling, and was given £75. I said I’d call back.

I went back to Confused – on there, Budget (my insurers) were quoting me £259.70 (WTF?). I settled on another company, bit more expensive but lower excess plus recovery services. I phoned Budget back and asked why they felt it was OK to charge me three times as much to upgrade. The girl said it was because the site assumed I was a new customer. I told her I was now an EX customer, and we went through all the details again for me to cancel.

At the end of the conversation, I said to her that I realised that this was in no way her fault, and that I was more than happy with the way she personally had handled my calls, but I would like her to pass up to her superiors that I felt that their gouging of existing customers was iniquitous, and that nothing on God’s earth would ever induce me to deal with Budget again. She said she would, with what sounded like a muffled snigger in her voice 🙂

All joking aside, it really is revolting the way insurance companies deal with this sort of thing, don’t you think?