Why being loyal drives up the cost of breakdown cover
Our latest research into car breakdown cover has found that renewal prices can leave you out of pocket. Is it right that existing loyal customers are asked to pay more for breakdown cover than new ones?
We have just completed our annual survey of car breakdown cover, comparing companies like the AA, RAC, Green Flag and Britannia Rescue to see if any of them have made the grade as a Which? Recommended Provider.
Our surveys cover waiting times, repairs, customer satisfaction and value for money – it’s this last one that I’m feeling slightly irked about today.
Put simply, I don’t think the costs of breakdown cover are transparent enough. Headline prices look tempting (just £23 for a year’s roadside recovery with Green Flag, for example), but many providers only offer a discount upfront if you agree to automatic, year-on-year renewal.
And your premium’s likely to go up quite a lot after that first year is up, unless you shop around.
Don’t just accept your renewal quote
People regularly contact us complaining that their breakdown renewal premiums are far higher than the previous year’s cover. So we used a real case of someone renewing with the AA.
Our case study had cover for two people and two cars, with roadside assistance, and AA’s ‘relay’ and ‘stay mobile’ cover. The renewal quote they received was £205 – £65 more than the £140 they would pay if they took out a new policy with the AA online. This quote was also £100 more than they would have paid with Aviva, and £85 more than Britannia Rescue.
So our case study called the AA and pointed out the discrepancy between the renewal quote for loyal customers and the price charged for new ones. After a short delay, the AA offered to cut the price to £135 – not quite as low as elsewhere, but a hefty discount nonetheless.
Shop around for the best deal
This problem of inflated renewal premiums isn’t confined to breakdown cover, of course. I recently saved money on my home insurance renewal by entering my details into a comparison website. I ended up insured by the same company, but saved £40 in the process – not bad for 10 minutes work.
Has your renewal price for breakdown cover gone through the roof? Let us know how much you were quoted, and whether you were able to make a saving after a bit of haggling.
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