/ Money

Do you know what you paid for your insurance last year?

insurance renewals graphic

We’re calling on insurance companies to show last year’s premium alongside renewal quotes to help people save money. Have you been inspired to look for a better deal when your insurance is up for renewal?

With your help, we’re calling on insurance companies to provide last year’s premium alongside the renewal quote and explain any differences.

We also want insurers to provide customers with their number of years of no-claims-bonuses and make sure renewal letters are received by the customer at least three weeks before the insurance is due to renew.

Printing last year’s premium

This comes as new Which? research shows that 85% of people support having their previous premium on their renewal quote and 62% find it annoying that it is not included.

Clearer information would empower you to more easily compare quotes and could help you save money. Two-thirds (68%) say having last year’s premium would prompt them to look for a better deal with other insurers.

And our major new car insurance renewal investigation has once again highlighted that you might get a poor deal if you trust your insurer to continue giving you a competitive deal into the second and third year of your policy.

Haggling policyholders

Car insurance policyholders who haggled and switched providers on their car insurance managed to save an average of £131 on their renewal offer. While those who did nothing paid just £4 less (due to the company itself applying a small discount between renewal offer and payment).

Those who switched providers saved £105 on average. People who were happy to stay with their current insurer, but took the time to question the renewal rate, saved £38 on average.

What’s been your experience of trying to get a good deal on your renewal from insurance companies? Would providing last year’s premium on your renewal docs help you to find a better deal?

Comments
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

It would be great if Which? can get insurers to show last year’s premium and current no-claims-bonus on renewal invitations. I don’t expect they will be keen to do this because it will draw attention to price hikes that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Car breakdown services should be asked to do this too.

Profile photo of william
Member

I can’t remember ever having a car renewal being a competitive quote. And when you mention you can get it cheaper as a new customer or elsewhere they’re quite quick to drop the quote, but push them to also match cashback that’s where they stop, so you just so bye and go and get a further £70 cashback elsewhere.

When I’ve asked they why the new customer quote is so much cheaper the answer is always to attract new customers. Well maybe if they did more to keep existing ones they won’t need to offer such low rates for new customers.

I’d like to see a ban on any time required to be considered a new customer. Or a maximum of 1 day.

Member
suesu says:
20 February 2014

Just got my partners’ renewal. Never made a claim in over 30 years. Been with AA for 5 years. Renewal £543.41 up over £100. Gone with AXA for £220. Like for like policy. Saved £323.41.

Member
Davem says:
20 February 2014

My car insurance with LV was due for renewal in December 2013. The quote was £431 which seemed high. I checked comparison sites and then phoned LV. They reduced the quote from £431 to £131. This is a reduction of 70%. Can anyone beat this? I think it is appalling that they overcharged me by so much for so many years.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

I keep a record of my premiums and check before renewal. However I must say my motor insurance – Co-Op and LV – have not pushed up their premiums after year one, and with another a broker does the switching for me very effectively. But why not show the premium and no claims on the renewal? However, we should all know by now that for many things we need to shop around to get the best deal – you can’t expect a commercial company to do the prompting.

Profile photo of hamzabahu
Member

Just got my partners’ renewal. Never made a claim in over 30 years. Been with AA for 5 years. Renewal £543.41 up over £100. Gone with AXA for £220. Like for like policy. Saved £323.41.

Profile photo of gradivus
Member

Clearer and better information is obviously a good thing.

But, as a general guide, I neither haggle nor complain.

If a company (insurer or whatever) tries to rip me off, or is unsatisfactory in any way, I simply go elsewhere. For good. They never, ever get another penny of business from me.

If we all did this, the bad companies would quickly go out of business.

Member

problem is…there would be no companies to deal with…..because….they ALL take the opportunity to rip us off!!!! But yes ,leave when you do get ripped off.

Member
Pauline says:
21 February 2014

Saved around £70 haggling with existing home insurance provider and complaining about the renewal cost!

Member
Stepht says:
22 February 2014

When I asked AXA to match another insurance quote last year, they said they were unable to. As I had left it a little late in the day I just agreed to renew with them, but had to update my debit card details.The next day as I had some time free, I decided to check my e-mails (I don’t always have time & very often only do it twice a week), much to my horror there was an e-mail saying how sorry AXA were, that I had chosen NOT to renew my insurance with them!
Luckily I had taken details the previous evening when I had been on the phone with their representative, & was able to prove that I had as far as I was concerned renewed my cover.
I pointed out that I had because of their incompetence driven to work completely unaware that I was NOT covered, & had indeed narrowly missed being involved in an accident involving 3 vehicles (including a colleague of mine), & if I had been I would have given insurance details only to find I had none! It would appear that in updating my card details they had accidentally cancelled my policy! Due to this error, I was able to at least insist that as compensation they now match the other quote I had found. It did not occur to me to ask for anything else, although my brother-in-law said I let them off too easily, & should have asked for the whole year free!
Anyway, the moral of the story is, just BE CAREFUL when changing/amending or updating any insurance details/policies. I could have been in all sorts of trouble if I hadn’t happened to check my e-mails that day!

Member
Philip Owen says:
23 February 2014

I have never haggled with insurance companies, tyre fitters, holiday companies or anyone else that offers to price match. I always compare companies and choose the one that offers the best deal on the day. (Not cheapest, but best deal, I do also take other factors into consideration.)
My rational being to give my custom to the one that offers the deal. Not find the best deal to go back to the first (or bigger name) just because they said they would price match. If the first one wants my custom all they need to do is offer a good deal and not think that I wont walk somewhere else.

Member
Heather Edwards says:
24 February 2014

After reading your article on car insurance I went online and got quotes.
I was paying extra for breakdown cover with Churchill.
When I compared prices I found that I could get breakdown for less plus cheaper car insurance.
For new customers Churchill was offering free breakdown.
I called them and they came back with a cheaper price when I pointed out that new customers got free breakdown and that I was a long standing customer with my house insurance plus my husbands car insured with them, he match the internet price.
Would have paid £253.34 plus £146.28 breakdown.
My price now is £183 .38.for the year including free breakdown.
I can’t thank you enough for the tip.

Member
NukeThemAll says:
24 February 2014

I don’t get stressed when my policies come up for renewal – I merely treat the proposed premium as the first step in the negotiation process. First step is to check what I paid last year. If I feel the premium is unjustly high(er), I challenge the company and so far, when I’ve needed to do that, I’ve always been offered a price which is very acceptable. If that ever proved insufficient, I’d then shop around, taking into account Which? recommendations, since I place a great deal of emphasis on customer service (if you ever need to claim, you really, really, don’t want a company that messes you around at a very stressful time).

I agree with others though – there should be legislation to force companies to include previous year’s premium with the renewal quote.

Member
Chris Hargreaves says:
27 February 2014

I think we have to come to terms with the fact there is no such thing as loyalty anymore.

Insurers rely on people (mainly more mature policyholders) to renew. These people tend to stick with the same provider out of loyalty, but tend to be paying over the odds for their insurance.

My wife is insured with a well known insurer. Every year she switches and gets a better price than the renewal. Now here’s the crazy bit. She switches but is still insured with the same insurer but through a different broker.

Member
Evelyn Ferris, London says:
7 March 2014

Just renewed my car insurance with Sheila’s Wheels and was surprised that after 18 years and 74% no claims the quote was £3.44 higher than last year at 17 years and 73% no claims. As to why I was told this was because the ratings of the post code had changed but the insurer does not disclose this rating to the general public. I asked for a quote if I was a new customer, it was higher. However, in the process of working out this quote it showed up that the insurer had my car as first registered on 1 January 2009 when in fact it was first registered on 10 March 2009 as the Registration Number shows, being LG09…. The recalculation then showed the price of £192.48 whilst the original quote was £209.10. A saving of £16.62 which I accepted.
E Ferris

Member
Yvonne Allen says:
28 March 2014

I did not get a chance to haggle. Insured with Tesco Bank, renewal on my car became due on the 26th March and I duly received a renewal notice for £262.45, an increase to last year. . As I was sitting down on the 18th March to deal with this a knock on the door tells me that my husband is unjurt but has had an accident with the car. Tesco Bank Insurance duly writes the car off and pay me their offer price. Quickly settled. I then receive a letter on the 27th March to tell me that Tescos Bank have taken £326.29 out of my bank automactically as I had not instructed them otherwise. So they knew there had been an accident, uploaded the premium and took the money from my account for a car that they had written off and was no longer in existence. I had to phone and argue with them. They now say they are sorry and will return the money but it will take at least one week, although banks can make payments same day. I am not haggleing with them for my new car I am going somewhere else.

Profile photo of Grey Bunker
Member

I am amazed that people do not know how much they paid last year!
This change will probably cause premiums to rise to cover the computer system amendment costs required as these are likely to be substantial.
What use is last year’s renewal premium if you have amended your policy during the year e.g. changed your car, added another driver, moved home, added cover for your wife’s birthday present or your new golf clubs?

Member
Liza Jane says:
17 June 2014

I’d like to join the 85% who really want their previous premium to appear on their renewal quote. I’ve just had my quote for house and contents insurance . Now I have to retrace documents from a year ago, just to find out by how much it’s gone up.
Companies aren’t coy about telling you about all the ‘extra’ benefits they’re going to offer you this year. But they’d obviously rather die than risk pointing out how much extra you’ll be paying for them. And that includes companies as respectable as John Lewis. They’re all just hoping that we can’t be bothered. It’s all so transparently opaque. And that’s not an oxymoron!

Profile photo of Castle
Member

Totally agree; I just received my renewal for Buildings and contents insurance, which has gone up from £162 to £181 (12% increase), but for same cover and no claims.

Asked our cuddly toy friends to compare and they came up with a price of £158, with you guessed it, the same insurance company. Clearly not a huge saving, but it does show how much our insurance companies value their existing customers.

Juts like to add this has also happened with two other different insurance companies when it came to Motor Insurance this year.

Profile photo of Grey Bunker
Member

As it appears that many people use the online quote systems to obtain a fresh quote at each renewal why do they need last year’s premium? They must surely keep the documents they are sent to use in event of a claim so would have the premium on these.

Where is this going to end? Are you going to expect every organisation that sends an annual bill to show last year’s amount?

As I said before there is a cost to this and the customer will end up paying it!

Next you will be wanting supermarkets to show the cost of cabbages last wee

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

The cost of supplying this information is infinitessimally small as it goes hand-in-hand with all the cover details and exclusions that are reiterated or amended on the renewal notice. If customers want this information, and it seems that many do, then I would have expected at least one of the major companies to provide it as part of the renewal literature [which is normally best weighed rather than counted]; as soon as one company provides it the others would surely follow suit since many of us would exclude from consideration for renewal their existing insurer if they were not willing to assist their policy-holders in this simple and convenient way. So I am led to suspect that there is an unwritten agreement within the industry not to provide this help and that all companies conform so as to avoid breaking ranks. Not necessarily a restrictive practice in the legal sense but nevertheless not in consumers’ best interests.

And I am sorry Mr Bunker but I think it would be very helpful if supermarkets did state the price of last week’s cabbages because, unless I remember to take last week’s till roll out with me, I have no way of knowing; supermarkets don’t seem to show any signs of hesitation or reticence when it comes to announcing lower prices and I suspect that insurance companies would also emblazon it in bold capitals with added highlights if they were actually going to lower your premium on a like-for-like basis.

Profile photo of Grey Bunker
Member

I am not sure on what basis you can say the the cost is infinitesimal. I think you will find that most major insurers have ‘legacy mainframe systems’ i.e they are old and creaking and the IT work involved to include last year’s premium would require major changes. The weight of renewal documentation is because of FSA requirements that were introduced about 2004 to ensure that policyholders had all information they required to make a considered decision on renewing the policy.

Personally, I would prefer a campaign to challenge the use of new customer discounting in all businesses which is crux of this issue surely.

I will now bow out of this conversation as I am obviously in the minority but it is interesting to know that the nanny state philosophy is still alive and kicking

Profile photo of william
Member

@grey, It’s sad that insurance companies like most others think paying huge bonuses to directors is more important than investing in decent computer systems. It’s equally sad the the consumer is the one that has to bear the brunt of such poor management decisions.

Profile photo of Grey Bunker
Member

Sorry 2 things I forgot.

All the motor insurers I have used showed the NCD information.

The FSA requirements mentioned in my earlier post already stipulate that renewal invitations should be with the policyholder about 23 days before renewal date.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Thanks for explaining why printing last year’s premium on renewal quotes would be such a burden for insurance companies. Having read the preamble to this Conversation I thought that was the crux of this issue because, according to Which?’s research, “85% of people support having their previous premium on their renewal quote and 62% find it annoying that it is not included”.

Personally I don’t object to discounting new customer’s premiums; that is competitive marketing. It’s how it’s concealed on first renewal that is the problem.

As for the rules on timely provision of renewal invitations, I have today received a renewal notice for our travel insurance that expires in 16 calendar days. That was from John Lewis Insurance. As it happens I was already alert to the renewal, knew last year’s premium, and started a comparison exercise. I am in the process of changing insurer and saving nearly £40 on last year’s JLI premium and almost £300 on JLI’s renewal quote; that might have shot up because one of us has turned seventy but other insurers provide cover up to age 74 with no increase in premium.

Member
Charlie C says:
27 June 2014

Hi – I am coming to this conversation a bit late, but my home insurance renewals have just come in and I was just thinking how it would be useful to have last year’s premium printed on the renewal notice .. and then saw this!

I would support printing last year’s premium and in fact think it is scandalous to see the increases just hidden like this. Mine were set 20% higher this year, with no changes on my side and no claims. What’s more, when i called them, they just said that’s the price the computer says… they could give no explanations.

(I also object to the fact that I have to pay to sit on their phone lines to enquire about this.)

I would prefer to stick with the same insurer rather than search each year – I do not have the time. But how can they expect loyalty if they don’t treat loyal customers fairly?

Profile photo of william
Member

@Charlie, As of the 13th June 2014 courtesy of the Consumer Rights Directive, most companies should have stopped using expensive phone lines for you to call them on, sadly many haven’t updated websites, literature, etc yet.

Profile photo of william
Member

Sorry but insurance companies aren’t covered by that act. We’re sill waiting on the FCA to do something similar for banks / insurance companies. Some of which have changed numbers so it may be worth checking if your insurance company has a new number but not communicated it

Member
Charlie C says:
27 June 2014

Thanks William – that’s interesting to know! Santander (or their underwriter’s broker – which is who I get put through to!) still charge.

Is there a definition of “expensive”? Or should they be free?

Profile photo of william
Member

The idea is that calls should cost no more than a normal 01 , 02 number. Many companies are moving 03 numbers which should be charged at the same rate.

Member
Liza Jane says:
27 June 2014

It’s Liza Jane again (posted 17th June). Energised by the comments I finally got around to checking last year’s premium, all ready to keep up the pressure by ringing up and complaining. But it turned out to be an increase of less than five pounds! A pretty modest sum to cover various increased cover benefits this year.

Nevertheless I still think that last year’s premium in any insurance renewal would be helpful and good practice. So OK, John Lewis insurance seems to be one of the “goodies” at the moment and I’m impressed. But they could have impressed me immediately and openly in this case. And it could change in year three when I’m ‘off my guard’ – I only switched to them last year.

Member
Brian says:
20 August 2014

Having just gone through a buildings & contents renewal with LV I don’t see what printing last year’s premium will do. My renewal was less than last year’s premium but 30% more than a new quote obtained on-line. As a loyal customer of LV I would expect them to reward the years I’ve been a customer and the five different policies I have with a discount not a surcharge. Better to push them print on the renewal that the customer should go on-line and get a new quote! In fact if renewals were banned we’d all get the best price.

As to why the renewal was higher than the on-line quote LV told me that it was because when I entered the data for the on-line quote I ‘was doing all of the work’ and when they issued a renewal they had the cost of sending out the documents and an underwriter had to check the risk of my post code. I can’t believe that the agent actually believed what she was telling me.

Member

After reading some of the above e mails i feel i should relate my very recent dealings with a well known insurer Sheilas wheels after i received a renewal letter asking me to renew with the company and to be fair it was a resonable quote 281.and a few pence as i was away on a trip through europe ferry/train ect the renewal letter came whilst i was away (i was away several weeks) I arrived home on the sunday night and opened all mail on seeing the renewal letter i realised it was due that very day Sunday putting it on the side i rang the next day to pay the £281 renewal fee only to be told that as i hadnt renewed the previous day (not yet 24 hours ) the amount i now had to pay if i paid in full would be 584.88 !!!! As it had risen slightly since yesterday no amount of reasoning on my part made any difference there was no one higher i could talk to? Sorry but thats the price i am obviously shocked at this increase of 584 pounds in less than 24 hours On speaking to several different companys some said they practised this policy and others said they would have honoured the original quote although they all stated that it was indeed an excessive quote i personally have never experienced this although i shouldnt be suprised at anthing these big companys come up with I place this purely to make others aware in case it sould catch them out for any reason. Holidays/ family crisis ect