That time of the year again and I got my insurance renewal notice through today from Direct Line. Obviously expected it to be a bit more than last year, but wasn't expecting the hike from last year - jumped up from £415 to £560!!, an increase of £145!! Same cover as last year with Protected (maximum) NCD, Motor Legal Protection and Guaranteed Hire Car.
The biggest cause of the rise was in the basic premium from £325 to £445 an increase of 38%!! The other factor was the NCD Protection which went from £55 to £76 - 38% increase again!!
So I rang them to find out what the deal was and see why it was so much, and if they could do any better. The best I got them down to £505, still £90 more than last year but a lot less than the renewal notice! This was taking into account having Mrs Duncan's car policy with them as well as our contents and buildings insurance.
The person said that the two main reasons for the increase were the way the premiums are worked out on the area you live in. Even if you live in a decent area, if a number of people have claimed in that area in then that can then affect the premiums for everyone in that area. Another reason, which I was expecting, was the fault claim I had last year. I thought that may have an effect, but even given the car I hit a 38% initial hike is just silly. Given the way they dealt with the two incidents last year (one fault and one no-fault claim), I was happy to stay with them but wasn't going to pay through the nose for it!
So I decided to go onto their website to see what a quote came to with all the same details. The only thing I couldn't add was the couple of mods I'd declared on the policy - but seeing as they had made no difference when I declared them I couldn't see it making any difference now. So, the online quote was......... £421!! That was with all the same info including the claim etc. A little bit more than last year, as you'd expect, and waaaaay less than the renewal notice. It also confirmed that what the first person said about the claims in your area affecting premiums was a load of as the online quote was obviously with the same address.
To add insult to injury, when you sign up as a new customer you can pay by instalments for no extra charge. When I renewed last year I must've missed it on the paperwork, as I'd been paying an extra 8% to pay by instalments last year. (9% on the latest renewal year!!)
So, I rang back armed with the online quote and got somebody who wasn't awfully helpful and I explained about my online quote. She said that sometimes it works out like that! So I asked if she could renew my policy with the quote I got online. No was the basic answer, she said I'd need to let the current policy lapse and take out a new one starting from that date. I thought - that's just nuts. She also said that the online quote would've had the 10% online discount. I pointed out that I should have that already applied as their TV ads state that you can renew and still get the online discount - and that the first guy had told me that it had been applied.
I also asked about the 0% instalments and why loyal renewing customers are 'penalised' and never get these offers again. Her answer again was not exactly helpful. So as I was getting nowhere with her I finished the conversation.
Whilst looking at the online quote I'd got, I noticed it had a different number to ring if you wanted to discuss it further - so I did. Thankfully I got a guy who was both helpful and knew what he was talking about and where I was coming from!
In the end, he matched the online quote I got and renewed my existing policy and amended it so that I paid by instalments with no extra charge. This meant my existing history and mod etc. all remained on the same policy, without having to add them to a new policy if I'd done what the last person said! It only took an hour on the phone talking to three different people!!! Worth it in the end as I dropped from a renewal quote of £560 to one of £421, which is only £6 more than last year, but if you take into the 8% charge I was stung for last year (and hadn't realised) it actually ends up being £27 less than last year.
As per the title thread - why oh why do insurers make things so difficult?!
Oh, rang Adrian Flux as well out of curiosity. Best they could do was £560 - coincidentaly the same as the initial renewal price from Direct Line.