Monday, September 01, 2008

Insurance. The sequel.

Ah, the satisfaction in a Scotsman's heart when he knows he's saved himself some cash! It's a warm feeling, I can tell you. I may celebrate by having a small whisky later. Oh, OK, make it a large one!

Regular readers, if there are any, will remember that I had a bit of a runaround recently when trying to renew my car insurance because I had the temerity to have passed my Advanced Driving test, and I also wanted to add an extra driver to the policy. This culminated in me saving the thick end of £200 by choosing a new insurance company. I mentioned in that post that I had the same hoops to jump through when the motorcycle insurance came up for renewal later this year.

It's now later this year.

About a week or so ago I was bored, and went online to get some quotes for the bike. About £160 was the best quote, which compared pretty favourably with what I have been paying. I was only looking for an idea of what I might end up paying, but I made a fatal mistake. I filled in the box when they asked me for my mobile number. Since then I have had daily phone calls from an 0871 number (most of them missed, since I don't have access to my mobile while at work) which have been the insurance company trying to give me a better quote. And that's without me telling them whether their online quote was good bad or indifferent. So today's tip, children, is don't give them your mobile number. Give them someone else's if you must, but you will be plagued by unsolicited Spam calls (are any Spam calls solicited?)

Anyway, today the real renewal letter from my broker arrived on my doormat. To renew with the same insurance company was going to be £287, but the broker suggested an alternative quote of £168 which seemed more reasonable.

So I called IAM Surety, and this time selected the "motorcycle insurance" option rather than the car one. To cut a long story slightly shorter, they are quoting £145 including Class 1 Business use so I could use my motorcycle for work (those who know me will realise that I can't do this!) and would be covered while doing any IAM Observing. It also includes Protected No Claims Discount (which the existing broker didn't) and Legal Cover (which the existing broker also didn't) and allows me Third Party cover to ride any other motorcycle as long as that motorcycle is insured by someone else. On the face of it a damn good deal, which makes the IAM annual membership worth the £18 (plus optional £10 to belong to a local group).

I called my existing broker, because after all they have been fine to deal with for the past couple of years and when I first went to them they managed to secure me a big wodge of No Claims Discount even though I hadn't had a motorcycle for a few years so probably wasn't really entitled to it. They checked, and checked, and finally came up with a comparative quote, including business use, protected no claims, and legal cover, of £155. Still about £11 more than IAM.


The IAM membership fee is probably going to rise from £18 to £28 a year soon (although fortunately after I have renewed for this coming year at the old price) because of their (I believe self-confessed, but I could be wrong) mismanagement (there is apparently a HUGE shortfall in funds) which is being VERY much talked about on the IAM members forums. So including the optional membership of the local group, there is an extra £38 to add to any IAM Surety Insurance quote, because if you aren't a member you don't get the special price.

And let's not go down the route of pointing out that becoming an advanced driver/rider is plugged by the IAM (and rightly so) as a Skill for Life. It's even called the Skill for Life Package! So if you then stop being a paid up member of the IAM do you instantly lose that skill and become a less safe driver/rider who will be more prone to being involved in an accident and therefore more likely to make an insurance claim? No, don't be bloody stupid, of course you don't. So anyway, I am going to continue with IAM membership for the next year, because it's at the old price, but if at the next AGM the proposed increase gets the thumbs up, then they will get the two fingers up from me for the following year. maybe even the single finger too. So if I leave the IAM I won't get a good price from IAM Surety (if they even quote me at all) for subsequent years.

Coincidentally, after speaking to IAM, I received another call from the 0871 number, so allowed them to try to get my business. They went through all the guff I'd already provided online, failed miserably to extract from me my email address, landline number, car insurance renewal date, and house insurance renewal date, and came in with a quote of £197. At the end of the call, when I told her she was way off, I asked if the daily calls would now stop, and sounding rather crestfallen, she agreed that they would.

So I have pretty well decided that I'm going to stick with my current broker, Websters since you ask, and pay £11 more than the IAM Surety quote, but with the knowledge that I can stop my membership if I want without having to dick about changing insurers again.

So, in summary. To renew with the current company (Norwich Union) would be £287, but Websters recommended an alternative at £168, and managed to chop it down to £155 with lots of extras thrown in when they were presented with some opposition.

I've saved myself £132 on my bike insurance this year, making a total saving on vehicle insurance of £317, so really I've got one of them for free compared with last year!

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