/ Money, Motoring

Rip-off car insurance fees just to change your name

Sneaky fees illustration

Car insurance. It’s one of those costly but necessary transactions that comes round once a year. But then it’s all done and dusted, or so I thought until my friend got married and was charged to change her name.

Like so many of us she’d shopped around for the best deal, and then she thought no more of it until her name change resulted in a hefty admin fee.

Her story isn’t an exception. As part of our Sneaky Fees and Charges campaign we’ve uncovered a whole raft of admin fees stinging car insurance customers for the smallest of things.

How much to change my name?

To change your name, address or job the highest amount charged was £35 by IGO4 Insurance. That’s £10 above the average price (£22.79). Only five of the 44 companies we investigated didn’t have any ‘adjustment fees’.

Some providers also added fees for paying monthly, paying by credit card, getting duplicate documents, setting up premiums, renewing premiums and cancelling policies.

Car insurance

The highest fee we found was £75. IGO4 charges this much if you want to cancel during the 14 day cooling-off period. And you’ll also be charged £75 by Budget, Endsleigh and IGO4 for ending your policy early. The average cost for this is £49.55, whereas Age UK, NFU Mutual, Volkswagen and Volvo don’t charge anything at all.

Stop rip-off fees

Previously two thirds of consumers told us they think companies use separate fees to trick people into thinking the product or service is cheaper than it is. With such a huge variation between providers, we want companies to justify why they’re charging such a high amount for what are, in some cases, just simple policy tweaks.

All fees for setting up, amending or duplicating an insurance policy should be reasonable and no more than the cost to the company. We also want companies to set out all their fees and charges clearly so you can easily compare between providers.

What’s the craziest fee you’ve been charged by your car insurance provider? Was it for something simple like changing your name?

Kevin Smith says:
17 June 2020

Some other car drove into the back of my car last July. I have looked at renewing my policy and they have penalised me for someone else’s careless driving. How are these companies being allowed to do this. The government need to look at this.

David says:
16 March 2021

Why are insurance companies asking more money every year, during Covid I have driven less than 1,000 miles, but insurance increases.

David – It is possible that your insurer has been exposed to higher risk factors [e.g. it insures a higher than average proportion of high value vehicles that are more expensive to repair or replace]. It would be worth shopping around and seeing whether you could insure your vehicle for the same or less next time.