The Car Insurance Merry-go-round

June 24, 2015 | By Paul Mackenzie Ross | Filed in: random.

The Car Insurance Merry-go-roundOver the years I’ve been with a number of car insurance companies, usually opting for the one that will give me the best deal.

Initially I used to do that through an insurance broker but then shopped around, went direct or used comparison websites.

It’s been a mixed bag…

Direct Line were once very competitive but when I informed them that my wife was no longer on a US/International driving licence and had passed and was driving on her new UK driving licence, they initially left my pregnant wife stranded at work. She’d driven 17 miles to her office in Reading but, on being informed of the new UK licence, the insurance company wouldn’t insure her on a 1.8 Mercedes. For the year previously, as a US citizen with over 20 years’ driving experience, yes, it was OK, but on a brand new UK licence she was not allowed to drive “that sort of car” through Direct Line.

I cancelled that policy and shopped around until I decided to call my long-term broker, Adrian Flux. They found us a decent policy and so we went with their recommendation for a year. Once that year was up the renewal was not so competitive so I used a car insurance comparison website and ended up with Admiral and their multicar policy.

After a year, Admiral’s policy shot back up again so I shopped around again and found a great deal with Aviva.

After another year, the renewal came in from Aviva and, despite the loyalty discount of 15%, the online discount of another £20, the figure was more expensive than last year despite adding another year’s worth of trouble-free No Claims Discounts (NCDs) and reducing the mileage on on of the policies.

I went to the comparison sites and they were not easy to get multicar discounts as far as i could see, so I went back to Admiral. They beat Aviva’s quote by around £60, so we’re back with them again.

So the moral of the story, as if you didn’t already know, and a note to myself is:

  • Don’t blindly accept the renewal quote from your car insurance company – it is not always, and is unlikely to be, cheaper than last year, despite anything you do and any discounts you’ve earned to drive it down.
  • Be prepared to spend time looking for a new quote. I spend at least a two hours of my life every year looking for better quotes and even the price comparison websites don’t save me that much time nor money.
  • Use multiple sources – go direct to reputable insurers, use a broker like Adrian Flux and use the price comparison websites like GoCompare, Compare the Market, Money Supermarket or whatever others are out there. Bear in mind that the time you spend researching is worth money so there comes a point when the law of diminishing returns kicks in – If you’ve spent half a day and saved just £20 then think about how much of your time that hour is worth.
  • Use your good judgement (head, heart, experience, gut) to weigh up the pros and the cons of excess you may have to pay, legal services etc. and factor the risk of those into the price you pay.

So thank you to all the insurance companies and brokers we’ve used and here’s to another year of trouble-free, happy, low-cost motoring before getting back on the car insurance merry-go-round again next year.

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