Next time your car or home insurance comes up for renewal, make the company explain why it’s putting up the premium.
These days, greedy insurers have become so addicted to hiking prices that they try to sneak them through every year — even without having a good reason.
Cyril Laity, a Money Mail reader from Cornwall, says insurer NFU Mutual has raised the cost of the policy on his and his wife’s cars by 36 pc, or £190.38, without providing any sort of explanation.
Dan Hyde says next time your car or home insurance comes up for renewal, make the company explain why it’s putting up the premium
‘We have made no claims, had no speeding fines and the vehicles are one year older — it just does not make any sense,’ he says.
Cyril couldn’t get an explanation over the phone, and when NFU Mutual wrote him a letter, it said merely that ‘the premium you have been charged is correct’ and the firm is ‘not obliged to provide our customers with detail of our rating factors, as this is commercially sensitive information’.
What utter cobblers. If asked, they should have a duty to give a breakdown of exactly why they’re pushing up prices.
My advice to Cyril is to ditch NFU Mutual pronto. They don’t give two hoots about your loyalty. Either that or use an old trick that works most of the time: shop around for a better quote then call your insurer and say you’ll leave if they don’t match it. I suspect the quote will tumble very fast.
Sadly, you could swap NFU Mutual with the name of any other insurer. Every week I receive letters and emails from insurance customers equally baffled by unexplained price hikes.
If you’re with me on this, let’s stage a fightback. Challenge your insurer to provide an explanation every time your premium is raised and see what they say. I want to hear your stories and will use them to hold these firms to account.
My suspicion is they simply make it up as they go along and that’s why they don’t have a reason for putting up prices. I’ve never seen any evidence to the contrary.
Rest assured, I’ll be taking this up with the Association of British Insurers, the industry trade body which has just appointed a new chairman, Zurich chief executive Amanda Blanc.
Get it covered
One way to help the cause would be a free shopping around service for the elderly, disabled and anyone who is unable to access the internet.
We need a dedicated phone line where you can provide your details and someone else shops for good-value car, home and travel cover.
GET MORE FROM THIS IS MONEY
A letter from Money Mail reader Evelyn Reason, 67, shows what a difference this could make. Evelyn, who has had some health issues, found three travel cover quotes for a planned 13-day holiday to China with her husband, 82.
Staysure quoted £2,193.59 with all medical conditions included. LV wanted £1,352.04 excluding the conditions. Insurancewith, a specialist travel insurer for those with health problems, asked for £515.46 covering all medical conditions — a huge saving of £1,678 for the policy she wanted.
‘I thought my retirement would be great but I spend many hours just trying to ensure that my husband and I get the best out of our savings and pension income,’ she says.
‘I have a dear friend who is the same age as me but is not computer literate. She is always having problems, and I worry that many older people are just being ripped off.’
Surely a shopping-around service would the perfect first project for Amanda Blanc at the ABI?
Have you noticed the new trend for banks, telecoms and energy firms to call us and say something along the lines of: ‘Before we proceed, can I just ask a few security questions?’
Whenever I hear those words I say I’ll call back and put the phone down. You can’t be too careful these days, with crooks desperate to obtain personal data they can use to raid our bank accounts.
There’s no way of knowing the call is legitimate — fraudsters can ‘spoof’ telephone numbers to make them seem genuine.
So surely we should be able to force banks and utility firms to confirm a password on our account before they can ask us? Only then should they be allowed to put us through all those infuriating but vital security checks.