/ Money

Snoozing is losing when it comes to insurance renewals

Series of colourful alarm clocks

While some people are happy to shop around for their insurance, others among you become frustrated with the way that companies fail to reward loyalty. So have things improved since our investigation in 2012?

The main gripe you report when it comes to insurance renewals is that loyalty isn’t always rewarded. Some insurers will put your rates up in the second and third years, even when you haven’t made a claim. Meanwhile, new customers are offered rock-bottom premiums.

One Which? member expressed his frustration at the perception that customer loyalty isn’t acknowledged ,or welcomed, by insurers:

‘What is wrong with encouraging loyalty and saving all the extra advertising and switching costs?’

Automated renewal if the deadline passes

Automatic renewals are another area of contention for car and home insurers. While desirable for some time-pressed people, there’s a feeling that they can catch out the more disorganised of us with large premium hikes.

‘The whole process is tedious and when the policy tends to double in year two, you’d be mad not to shop around. As they renew it automatically if you do nothing, I can see how they make money from people who are busy.’

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) agrees that there’s a problem here and is looking into this market. The regulator is particularly concerned with ‘differential pricing’, ie better rates for new customers than existing policyholders, and the use of auto-renewals.

The idea of insurers being compelled to put last year’s premium rate on the renewal letter, which we’ve advocated for a while, is one recommendation being looked at.

Insurance renewals still an issue?

We’re scoping out some new research into insurance and auto-renewals  and would value your input. Do you believe there’s real detriment in this area or it is ‘just the way that it is’?

It may be that you think people that don’t query their rate deserve what they get and cheaper prices should be the preserve of the ‘informed hagglers’.

How much money have you saved by being a bit canny when your renewal notice drops onto the doormat?


Auto renewal of vehicle insurance which is a legal requirement for use on the roads is helpful but I always check via two or three of the comparison sites that my insurance is within reason against the loss-leader offerings.

House insurance is a different matter and I find it unreasonable that there should be auto renewal on something which is voluntary (albeit the 37.3% with mortgagors will require it).

A supermarket-like price comparison on the renewal invitation would be a welcome addition just as I have had some £20 in credit notes on comparison groceries this week.

Helpful says:
26 September 2013

Mortgagees not mortgagors

Thank you Helpful.

When I had a mortgage I as the mortgagor had to pay for insurance. I was unaware it had changed.

I think he was referring to house contents insurance not what we used to call mortgage protection insurance.

should have said house contents and buildings insurance.

I think the point being made that it is a requirement of the mortgagee but as you say paid by the mortgagor.

Auto-renewals are handy but I would prefer the regulator to force the companies to prominently display a message in auto-renewal quotes that it may be cheaper elsewhere. This will encourage people to shop around.

My next door neighbor (who works for one of the top UK insurers) once told me that only idiots accept a renewal quote without challenging the prices. I was quoted £210 this year for my car insurance & one simple phone call to the insurer brought it down to £182 and also had a NCD protection thrown in at no extra cost. Few years ago, my home insurance renewal quote crept up to £235 and a phone call reduced to £140, i.e. a whopping £95 savings. I was amazed at the reduction but was told being a loyal customer (hey.. just 1 year with them) and they were giving away FREE contents cover.

Auto-renewal is certainly worth it but should also carry a message that the price may be cheaper elsewhere.

I never agree to auto renewal. I still get renewal reminders and then have the annual ritual of ringing up and getting the price reduced.

Takes about 15 minutes by normally saves about £30.

Willie 078 says:
6 October 2013

I have been with the AA many years I have had no call outs in the last five years or so but I still noticed that my annual renewal kept going up until I told them to cancel it. The price went down by £100+. So it does pay to phone .

Peter Spooner says:
20 November 2013

I do it every year. Find out what it would cost as a new customer and challenge them with it. They usually come close to it (whilst maintaining any extra benefits you have accumulated as a long standing customer). A threat to take your business to the opposition also helps them “sharpen their pencils” a bit.l

“…others among you become frustrated with the way that companies fail to reward loyalty”

Tell me about it! I took out life insurance 10 years ago and I haven’t died once during that time. But do they offer me a no-claims discount? No sir, they do not.

Nationwide has gone down in my estimation.I have been baking with them for about 30 years. They not only give better rates of ISA savings to new customers, they are also one of those who auto-renew home and content insurance, saying they will just take the money from my credit card.
Is it right organisations can keep my card details this long?

Also, I don’t like the tone of the renewal notice. They try scare tactics, stating that if I choose to go elsewhere, I may find other insurers refuse to cover my home altogether, or require different terms and condition………I have never had problems insuring my home and if it were a problem their price hike of £25 for home and contents would be a lot worse I am sure. What they say is strictly true of course, but it is trying to deter you from looking elsewhere.

Very disappointing.

I like the idea of insurers being obliged to put last years premium on the renewal letter. I had assumed being a loyal customer for 30+ years ( with about two claims in that time) would have kept my fathers house insurance low, but when he became unwell and I had to take over arranging things I was surprised to find out how much he was paying.

Both my car insurance and AA cover were hiked in the last two year renuals, both times I phoned and got them reduced quitting comparison websites.

I have Sky TV the sky box is getting unreliable locking up requiring a re boot to clear it. Phoned to report it, their solution is to sel me a new box but that is not all, I would be put on a different costlier HD tarrif that I do not want I point out that at 68 my eyes are no longer HD I can no longer see the difference.
If I was stretching the picture to a 40 inch I probably would but at 32 inch I can’t see the difference.
As I see it only solution is to cancel then next the next month enrol as a now customer where I get a new box but unfortunately a new costlier contract.

I use price comparison sites for my insurance every year. I often wonder at the huge gap between cheapest and dearest and tend to avoid the very cheapest on the grounds that there must be a catch somewhere. My experience with haggling is not good! Last year I was insured with Saga and there renewal quote was very high whilst at the same time they no longer appeared on the comparison sites!??!
When I phoned and informed them of my intention to move elsewhere unless they could match the quote from another insurer they simply said they couldn’t so I said “OK, please discontinue my insurance”. Each year I have to go through the same old rigmarole.

Mike Obree says:
9 August 2014

My Father is 83. He ignored his car insurance renewal quote from Tesco and went with a better quote. Problem is he just noticed they took premiums all last Year. Havent phoned them yet but wondered were he stood as it must have auto-renewed. Yes he should have noticed bt didn’t but he is getting on. Advice please. Thank you

Dennis says:
29 September 2014

Just got my home and contents quote from saga. YOY house sum assured up 7%, premium 21%, contents sum assured up 2.5%, premium 16%. No claims, no change in circumstances, no explanation ! Indices to which sums assured are linked not available for examination as saga say they just get a number from the underwriters Royal Sun Alliance and the figures anyway are trade sensitive so therefore confidential. Under those circumstances they could just be made !?