There are few things in life as depressingly pointless and irritating as car insurance renewal day, with the possible exception of Piers Morgan.
Every year we are forced to waste seemingly endless time going through the same ridiculous cat and mouse price-chasing game with insurance companies, which basically goes as follows:
Step 1: Current insurer sends you your renewal price which, on first glance, you know is going to be higher than whatever you find on any comparison site.
Step 2: Log on to same comparison site you used last year, forget password for comparison site, go through whole drama of resetting password, eventually log in.
Step 3: Update endless list of details in regard to car, job, journeys, whether you drive around with royalty in the back etc.
Step 4: Comparison site gives you list of roughly 70 insurers that are cheaper than your renewal quote.
Step 5: Call up current insurer, press a sequence of roughly eight digits to pass through an overly complex menu system, wait hours on the phone to be connected, go through tedious security steps, tell them about the cheaper quotes, wait while they ‘run it through the system’ – get put on hold.
It is at this point that I imagine the person on the end of the phone either goes off to make a cup of tea or plays a game of ‘how long can I keep the sucker on the end of the phone waiting’ with the greasy-haired colleague sat next to them.
Step 6: The insurer gopher reconnects the call and, low and behold, tells you that they have done all that they possibly can, and as a huge personal favour to you, will price match the comparison site quote.
Step 7: You thank them, for effectively wasting 45 minutes of your life, and hang up the phone.
Why does it have to be this way? Surely there must be a simpler and more efficient way of buying insurance, of any kind (because I’ll be doing all this again when the house insurance is due)?
Why do insurers inflate their renewal prices in the first place?
Are there people out there who don’t check them, blindly assuming that their trusty old insurer is giving them the best possible deal every year? I can only assume that there must be, and that these are the same people who deliberately avoid sale times in order to pay top dollar for everything.
I understand of course that prices are driven by market forces, but I cannot think of a single other product that sells for such vastly different prices.
Imagine going to buy a book that you believe to cost £4.99 from a book shop, only to be told when you get there by the shop assistant that the book is actually £9.99. Upon looking around the shop, which incidentally only sells this one book, you then proceed to find it on a variety of shelves at a variety of different, lower prices. The asssistant really isn’t sure what he can do for you at this point, as the copy he has in his hand has £9.99 on the price tag. Nevertheless, he goes off to talk to the manager, who looks arond the shelves himself before reluctantly coming back to you and agreeing to sell you the aforementioned book for £4.99.
Unfortunately for the manager, by this point you’ve left the shop, written a profanity-filled review and bought your book on Kindle instead.
Even if I could afford not to care about paying extra for my car insurance, I don’t think I could stomach the thought of lining the pockets of some faceless fat cat more than is absolutely necessary.
So, reluctantly, I will follow the process again next year, and the year after, until someone does something to better regulate this nonsensical industry.