Car insurance: The unfair game of cat and mouse

7 January 2013

Another year and another game of cat and mouse with my car insurer to get a decent price for renewing my policy. I share my insurance with my fiancé. We have a five-year old Ford Focus, currently worth about £2,700, and last year our policy with Admiral cost us £550. To renew it for the next 12 months, Admiral wanted us to cough up another £100.

Naturally, we weren’t best pleased so we set about tracing the steps we took precisely this time last year. We shopped around for some online quotes and found a couple which were around £200 cheaper than Admiral’s best offer. We found two quotes for £430 from Elephant – part of the Admiral group – and Diamond.

Armed with the two quotes, we called Admiral, informed it of our online research and were very pleased when it agreed to match the quotes. We saved ourselves a third of the policy price Admiral had initially asked us for, just by knowing how to play the game.

And we’re fast becoming seasoned players – because we’ve done the same thing for the past three years.

But should it really be a game at all? Financial services companies regulated by the Financial Services Authority are required to treat their customers fairly. But how is it fair to charge an inflated price and only knock it down should a savvy customer come along? Shouldn’t insurers and banks actually commit themselves to treating all customers fairly? And not just new customers or the ones who know how to play the game. I know I’m being idealistic but I’m also bored of the same annoying phone call to Admiral each year.