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?

selling by inertia

We moved house in November – I phoned Saga, our contents insurer, the day before, and gave them the new address details. “Oooh” said the woman on the phone – it’s going to be quite a bit more. She promised to phone me back the following week, but didn’t, and I never got round to chasing it up.

This week, I finally got around to doing the domestic paperwork for the first time since the move, and discovered Saga had put the insurance premium monthly payment up from £55.25 to … wait for it … £139.20. I rang, and was Polite. The chap I spoke to had great sympathy, said that of course I should have been phoned back, that they had sent out a new pack with details to this address (I never got it), and that if I wanted to cancel a) there’d be no refund, and b) there’d be a £35 cancellation charge, just to add insult to injury. He advised me to write in with the details, which I have done, and they can sodding whistle for the cancellation charge.

We were also paying £23 per month to Northern Rock (god bless ’em) for house insurance. They wrote and said that they were now moving it to Axa, who would bill direct at £28 per month.

So I went on to confused.com and got a quote for contents and house insurance. Have just signed up with someone for £48 per month (which is a substantial saving of *£119* per month, which I find utterly astonishing.

So fuelled with success, I dug out the car insurance renewal docs (it falls due on Tuesday); last year I cut about £300 off the premium using Confused.com, but we had a much less sedate vehicle then. But I thought I’d have a look – saved £120 by moving from Chaucer.

So that’s FOURTEEN HUNDRED QUID saved this year by just not accepting these things – insurance companies make their money from customers’ inertia, so don’t let them!