Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Fast Cars

Most people have a car insurance story, definitely most fellas my age do. Here's mine. I bought my first car this time 7-years ago. The insurance was £3,000 odd at the time. A year later it came down to £1,800 but then I had an accident that summer. On the old N1 there's a turn for Donabate/Portrane about 40 yards past the crest of a hill heading towards Dublin. A car had stopped dead at the junction and, as I trundled over the hill doing 50mph odd, I didn't have enough breaking time and hit the guy's car at maybe 5 - 10 mph. A rear-end is always your fault but I wasn't too upset because all I did was squash his bumper and break one of my own headlights. I offered to pay for any repairs and got on with my life waiting for a bill.

However about 6 months later I got a solicitor's letter informing me of a claim - the guy was claiming for an injured shoulder. You'd be amazed how low the wording of a solicitor's letter, telling you you've been negligent, can make you feel. As a result my insurance went back up to £3,000 for 2001. Then it was €3,000 in 2002; €2,700 in 2003; €1,600 in 2004 and €850 in 2005. As may be obvious from those figures, I had a fairly quiet life from January 2001 to January 2004. This year I get my full No Claims Bonus back - effectively my accident is wiped off the system. I was quoted €529 for 3rd party fire and theft on a 2001 1.4 Seat Leon.

Now I've recently moved - to an apartment on the other side of the road from where I was. Being claims free and due a change of car anyway I decided to treat myself to a spanking new 2006 1.6 Leon. When I collected it the other day I contacted the insurance company to change my details and renew the cover. They told me that fully-comp on my new car would be €1,100. I was surprised it went up that much, but paid it anyway. But it was nagging me then that it couldn't be right, so I entered my details into a few websites and was quoted between €600 and €700 every time. So I rang them back and asked what the story was.

Long story short, by changing my address the insurance on my old car was to go up to €880. The new car bumped it up that bit further. That's an incredible 66% increase on the original quote because I moved to the other side of my street (using the same parking facilities). I tried to point out to the girl on the phone this morning how crazy this was and how I was obviously just going to cancel my renewal and go elsewhere. She could do nothing for me, she said. But I see on my mobile they've tried to ring me back three times. Now either they've copped themselves on or they're going to try refusing me a refund. I'll wait and see, although considering they intended overcharging me without a whimper after loading me for 5 years, I might tell them to stuff it. €18,000 in 7-years. I'm surprised I can type that without... damn there's the tears of rage now...
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