Friday, July 18, 2008


Insurance, don't you love that time of year when it needs renewed? Especially if there are changes to your circumstances or to the details of what you want covered.

I've been with my current car insurer/broker for a few years now. I went to them initially because my ex-wife was about to learn to drive and I'd been phoning around getting lots and lots of quotes, all of which were in the region of £1000 pa for the Rover 416 we had at the time (see photo, although that isn't the actual car).

To put that in context, the insurance for me on my own to drive that vehicle was in the region of £200, but put a learner driver on the policy and the insurers want to screw you!

I eventually phoned this broker, who were actually to do with the staff federation (sort of a union) of my employer, and when I gave them all the details they quoted about £200. I patiently repeated that my wife was a learner, to which they replied, yes sir, £200. I explained, in case they hadn't fully understood, that my wife hadn't even yet applied for her provisional licence, and they sighed, and repeated, yes sir, we understand that, the price is £200. So the gist of it is that as long as it was my spouse, and she lived at the same address, then there was no change to the cost of the premium. Needless to say I immediately became their customer and have been for the past several years. I even insure my house and contents through them now.

Now wind forward dear friend, and if you are a regular reader of this Blog then first of all God help you, have you nothing better to do, and secondly you may realise that I passed my Advanced Driving test in January of this year. Membership of the Institute of Advanced Motorists costs £18 per year plus £10 per year if you want to be a member of a local group (in my case the Glasgow North Group) although local membership is not obligatory. But there is the carrot of cheaper insurance for Advanced Drivers (and Advanced Motorcyclists too, but I've that to look forward to later this year). You see where this is going don't you?

My car insurance is due for renewal. The quote from my current insurer was £285 pa to renew with no changes. That's including 6 years (protected) no claims bonus.

I called IAM Surety, the people who provide motoring insurance for the IAM (via the broker Adelaide). Their first quote was £245, a saving of £40. The annual IAM membership fee looks to be worth it then!

But wait! I've decided to add an extra named driver to my policy. Better get alternative quotes from them both. And I should mention that bizarrely, but coincidentally, both brokers are quoting only for policies via Royal and Sun Alliance!

With the new driver's details added, current broker, £338, IAM Surety £313. IAM win again!

But to be honest, £20 isn't really enough of a difference to make me change. I can't be bothered with the hassle of providing proof of no claims bonus etc, so I decide to stick with the current broker.

So, a call to the current broker to take them up on their quote of £338, and I find I have to give them all the details of the extra named driver again. When I do so they regenerate the quote and it's £370 pa! Hang on here, it has been a matter of 4 days since I was told it'd be £338. Why the difference? Sadly, because I'm in the "renewal" period they couldn't save the quote from 4 days previously, and they didn't know why there was a difference this time. But wait! There is one person who could explain it, and maybe sort it. The person who manages the database. But sadly she's on holiday. Perhaps I might want them to ask her to have a look at it when she returns in a couple of weeks? No thanks, perhaps I'll just go elsewhere! So I have to send back the new insurance certificate they sent me for next year. Yes, no problem.

So, at £57 cheaper, IAM Surety wins after all!

So I call them to take out the policy, and find that this was for a single payment of £313. I had already, in my initial enquiry, told them I wanted to spread this out and pay by monthly Direct Debit, but they seem to have forgotten to add the surcharge for this. OK, what's the new quote then? There's a 10% surcharge plus a £10 fee, bringing the new correct total to about £351. Still only £20 cheaper than the current broker's newly inflated quote. Hmmm, what to do?

I am pissed off by this point. Not with the individuals to whom I'm speaking, but with the whole setup.

Thanking the very helpful chap from IAM Surety for all the calls between us, I regretfully tell him he's lost out. I've already told the current broker they've lost out.

I look online at Money Supermarket, and enter all my details. Let's see if there's anyone else in the ballpark then.

Holy Shit, what's that? Admiral are quoting £161 based on exactly the same details. That can't be right surely? I look more closely. Yes, under "protected no claims discount" it says "check with insurer" so that's clearly going to up the cost. Similarly for monthly payments. Oh well, nothing to lose, I'll call them.

The extra cost involved in having protected no claims discount will be £5. The new total cost for fully comprehensive insurance with an extra named driver, is £166. If I want to pay monthly it'd be a total of £195. Woohoo! At these prices I decide to pay it all at once.

So, to cut a long story short (is there anyone still reading this far?) my quote to renew with no change was £285, to add an extra driver and take advantage of IAM membership would have been £351, but I have actually paid only £166.

A few days of hassle, and to be frank if it hadn't been a hassle I would just have chosen one or other of my current broker or IAM Surety, and I have saved myself £185.

So, just the bike insurance to look forward to in a couple of months!

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