Tag Archives: AA

Car Insurance Frustration

I hate trying to sort out insurance! In general the whole thing seems incredibly complex, and even minor changes can have a big effect. I’ve just ended up getting a total mess with the policy for Beth’s car.

On paper it should be a simple job, she does a relatively low mileage, and has never had to make a claim, however when the renewal turned up from our existing broker, A-Quote, it was the best part of £500, with only one year no claims bonus – despite Beth having had five years without an accident, and the previous years policy stating that she had those five years no claims bonus.

Anyway, I got a quote from the AA, where I explained the situation with the bonus, and she said that I would need proof of the no claims bonus from the insurance company – fine I thought, it says so on the policy. The price was good in comparison to A-Quote, so I went ahead.

I then went back to A-Quote to try and get a letter out of them to confirm the bonus. It is worth bearing in mind at this point that the reason we are with A-Quote, is because LRG, the broker in Rickmansworth we’d used for years before that decided to specialise in financial advice, and sold their insurance business to A-Quote. To cut a long story short, although our other policy transferred correctly, it now seems that two years ago, the no claims bonus that I was getting from LRG was somehow lost in the transfer. The five years listed on last years certificate was an introductory offer, which for some reason comes up as five years on the policy document, hence the most they will offer me is two years no claims bonus, which is all they can prove from their records. Running the figures through the AA site again, with two years no claims, the price that A-Quote can offer is much the same as the AA. So what I’ve now had to do is to cancel the policy with the AA within five minutes of setting it up, and I’m now carrying on with A-Quote. All of which has taken the best part of an hour on the phone skipping backwards and forwards between insurers.

It actually reminds me of a number of comments that a viewer e-mailed in to the BBC this morning about the increased competition in the electricity industry. One complained at how much hassle it was changing, and another that the relatively small savings that could be made didn’t justify the amount of time wasted comparing tariffs, and trying to factor in standing charges and unit charges based on your usage. The same seems to be true here, the variations in cost for the same cover seem comparatively small, looking at the fine detail, the variations were down to the no claims discount, and slight variations in the cover. I’ve put in the same details to different web sites, and over the phone a number of times, but was it really worth the hassle? I guess in this case it was, as the argument with A-Quote did get some money off, and showed up that it had extra cover that I didn’t need, but ultimately it was a lot of hassle to get that far.

Update: Ok, we can add flights to that list. Rather last minute it has been decided that myself and one of the salesmen are to attend a meeting tomorrow afternoon in Brussels. Going through flights, there seemed to be a lack of cheap seats, and in the case of the salesman, who is coming from Kettering, only an expensive fully flexible economy from East Midlands airport, or a really early start from Birmingham. However talking to one of the other salesmen on the way home, he said that there was a more convenient flight from Birmingham, but only the BA website would show it, none of the multi-airline sites brought it up. Thankfully with his fully flexible exonomy ticket from East Midlands he was able to change the flight and get a later start time. No such luck for me though, still got an early morning trip to Heathrow. 🙁

That Sinking Feeling…

It was all going so well. Although I’d spent about twenty minutes sat in the queues in Wokingham to get across the level crossing, I’d had no problems retrieving the money I’d contributed to the SSE Sharesave scheme over the years from the branch of Halifax in town. Whilst it wasn’t anything like the amount that would have come back in shares based on the current price, it was still a nice sum.

Going back down towards the office, there was what looked like two muddy tracks on the road coming out of a building site, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. I pulled into the car park, and then reversing into the space the steering felt a bit heavy. I got out to a really audible hissing noise, and the front wing of the car slowly sinking…

Space Saver Spare

Anyway, it was tipping down with rain, and since I didn’t much fancy struggling with the weedy little tools in the wet, and after the quick work they made of it last time, I took the easy way out and made use of my rarely used AA membership, and got a patrolman – complete with big beefy jack – to change over to the space-saver spare.

Thankfully, the patrolman appeared in what turned out to be one of the few dry periods in the afternoon. As before, he had a full sized trolley jack, and made quick work of getting the tyre off, the only point of difficulty being the traditional struggle to shift the machine tightened wheel nuts. When the AA man got the tyre off, we had a look around it to see where the hole was – and at first site, it seemed absolutely fine. After a closer look the AA man spotted a small split in the tread, but no sign of the cause. I had a quick look around the car park, but there was nothing obvious, so whatever had caused the puncture must have dropped off pretty quickly. Annoyingly it wasn’t a puncture in the old tyres on the back either, but in one of the two new tyres I bought just before Christmas – I’d got just three months use out of it! Anyway, I put in a call to Ridgeway and ordered in a replacement. Slightly amusingly, after forgetting to note down the tyre details before phoning them last time, I made sure I had all the tyre details, however I needn’t have bothered as Ridgeway had kept a note of them from last time! Hopefully with the relatively new tyre on the passenger side at the front, there won’t be an issue with uneven tyre wear. My experience with the first set of front tyres on the Golf is that the drivers side seemed to have worn a bit quicker than the passenger side anyway, possibly something to do with having most of the weight on that side of the car most of the time I guess. The new tyre will be in by tomorrow lunchtime, so I’ve been allowed to leave work early tomorrow afternoon to get it fitted. I guess I should be more careful of what is in mud on the road in future too!