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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?

Comments
Member

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.

Member
Helpful says:
26 September 2013

Mortgagees not mortgagors

Member

Thank you Helpful.

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

Member

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

Member

should have said house contents and buildings insurance.

Member

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

Member

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.

Member

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.

Member
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 .