The insurance renewal for our main car (a 2005 Saab 9-5 estate) came through yesterday. I was about to pick up the phone and renew when I was struck that the premium seemed higher than I expected — £823.62 for the year (plus the extra 10% they charge you for paying monthly instead of up front). Sure enough, when I checked last year’s renewal, I found it had been only £569.22. So they’d tried to slip a 45% increase past us.
The insurance company in question, in case you want to know to avoid them, was Direct Line.
When I called them to ask about this, they offered me a discount for having both our cars insured with them (£61.48) and a “loyalty bonus” (£55.12) which together brought the price down to £707.02 — but that would still have been a 24% hike over last year’s price.
That was exploitative enough that I was prepared to face the hassle of changing insurer. I don’t enjoy this kind of thing at all, so I just used Google’s car insurance comparison site. It was a pain entering all the details of the car, myself, and the named driver, but I suppose it didn’t take more than ten or fifteen minutes. It gave me quotes from ninety-odd insurers, of which I simply picked the cheapest. (I won’t name them, because I’m not out to advertise any individual company.)
The upshot is, I just paid a lump sum of £371.64 for the year. That represents a saving of 59%, or £534, on what I would have paid had I blindly renewed the existing insurance.
So folks, I know it’s tedious, but do make fifteen minutes here and there to look for better deals on things like your car insurance, your electricity supplier (we saved about £300 per year by switching a few months back) and I guess your house insurer. (That one’s next on my own list. It’s currently Direct Line, as it was for the car, but I bet someone else can do it cheaper.) There are non-trivial amounts of money to be saved for very little effort.
I suppose the lesson here is: don’t be greedy. If Direct Line had restrained themselves to ask for only, say, a 5% rise, I would never have questioned it and so I would never have found the much cheaper alternative. It’s only because they made a crazy-ass grab for a 45% hike that I was cracked out of my comfortable apathy.