Friday, 19 July 2013

Frugal Friday

It's that time of year again - Car Insurance Renewal Time! Scary stuff - how much will they want this year, what explanation will our current providers come up with for the extortionate increase in premium, and how much cheaper will we, with just a little legwork, be able to get our policies for?

I roughly follow Martin Lewis' guidelines on getting the cheapest quotes - this year I've used Confused, MoneySupermarket and those pesky Meerkats. I haven't bothered getting the stand-alone quotes from the companies he suggests this year as the past few times I've tried they have given me comedy-quotes! So far it's looking good - my insurance looks like dropping by around £25 for the year, with MrEH getting the benefit of a more substantial drop by around £70 for the year.

Garage - Kirkwall
Like most people I'm always short on time to get this sort of thing sorted - so over the years (and this applies to ALL insurance renewals) I've developed a strategy for getting the best price in the shortest time. I simply can't be bothered with the "dutch auction" situation where you call your current provider with the figure someone else has quoted, and they then tell you that they can "take a look at" their original quote, and suddenly they find they can knock £100 off the price they quoted you in the first place, in spite of the fact that NONE of your details have changed since last year! Instead, I do my shopping around, decide who to go with, buy the policy from them, and then call my previous year's provider and tell them "thanks, but no thanks". Invariably they suggest that they might be able to do better, and my response is always the same "Well I can't see how that would be possible - you've quoted me for the renewal already and that would have been your best price, wouldn't it?!" If everyone followed this strategy, insurance companies would start realising that they were losing business, and thus would reduce their renewal quotes accordingly. As things stand currently they know full well that 50% of people just renew without even really looking, and probably another 40% will succumb to the "let's see if we can do better" con.

Think carefully when you're looking for quotes - don't under any circumstances be tempted to lie, but things like job descriptions for example can vary the price you're quoted - you might be an Administrator, but equally you might also be a Personal Assistant, Secretary or around with the options without straying off a description that could reasonably be attached to what you do, and see what you get. Likewise think about the mileage you do - maybe you've changed jobs and your commute has shortened, or you simply use the car less these days due to the cost of fuel? My mileage reduced from 20,000 per year to under 10,000 a few years ago and my insurance plummeted! Other things to bear in mind are that Fully Comprehensive cover is not necessarily more expensive - some insurers seem to think that the very fact that you are looking for fully comp suggests you are a better risk - and that sometimes adding an extra driver to the policy can reduce costs - so long as it's the right sort of person though, a MrEH to add on is great (although he's not on offer - sorry!), a 19 year old son or daughter probably not so much so!

Petrol Pump - Shapinsay
If you DO have a claim of any sort - keep paperwork carefully. Insurers commonly ask about claims within the last 5 years and honestly, are you going to remember the exact date of that innocuous little bump that somehow caused a 4-figure sum of damage 4½ years later? No - thought not! If your car goes to a garage for repairs ask for the value of the repairs too - many insurers ask about this. having that sort of information to hand can make a huge difference if you want to go through a cashback site for your policy too - leaving fields on the online form blank might result in the policy having to be finalised by telephone, and many companies won't pay out, then!



Scarlet said...

I do the same - find the new policy, buy it, and then ring the existing one to tell them I'm not renewing. I recently got the same level of building and contents insurance for my Mum for around half the price her existing provider quoted!

lonestarsky said...

I avoid that 'dutch auction' thing too - really can't be bothered with it and it always winds me up!