Friday, 12 August 2011

Insurance Woes

I'm writing this blog in a bit of a blind rage at the moment. My insurance company has made a change to the detail of my policy which has resulted in it being pushed up by an additional £300! My policy for my first year of driving was around £400 - pretty good considering I was insured at the age of 18 and my car of choice is an old Land Rover. Fair enough, I was on a limited mileage policy, my excess was massive (making me drive far more cautiously to be fair) and I was a named driver, but a £400 premium for a new, young driver isn't bad. Now, when my renewal came through the price had tripled to £1200. So, I had a year's experience, but my insurance had gone up threefold? Obviously, we didn't want to accept that so we moved to a new company (ironically, the Green Company for my hardly green Landy). The premium was still more expensive than my first year (probably due to the 'credit crunch' or whatever the news is labelling it as now), but only by another £200. Brilliant, I was still able to drive my car.

Now, today my insurance company have made a change to my policy which means that my insurance is nearly £900 at the flick of a switch. Why should this be? I have no idea. Oh and don't forget that this includes admin charges which we never called for in the first place! So, unless they explain why it's that much more expensive or put the charges back down it looks as if I'll move companies again - or give up driving until I'm at the golden age of 21 where insurance starts to move to sensible prices.

In preparation for get more insurance hunting, I went on and looked up prices. Three months ago my average quote was around £600, which was pretty much the limit for us. Today, my average quote is over £1000. I can't afford this. I have an inkling that the reason for the price increase is the new legislation which means insurers can't charge men and women different prices any more. A big drive for gender equality means that women's insurance has gone up, rather than men's coming down. Well done feminists. Sorry. It's probably not their fault, but I feel there's a lot of short-sightedness in that they expected men to have cheaper insurance. What self respecting company would miss an opportunity to make more dough? So, a failure on the campaigners' part I feel as now we're all worse off. Ok, I'm the world's worst feminist (can't stand the movement but that's not for delving into on this blog).

So, while we're now worse off but equal on gender terms, where are the campaigns against age discrimination? Why should I as a young driver pay more than an older driver? You could argue that it's down to experience. Well, I've run an experiment into this. For me to drive a Peugeot 306 1995 as a 19 year old, non-home owner, student living at home, holding a driving licence for 1 year and 5 months it will cost me at least £1400. Change the date of birth to a 39 year old but keep all other details the same? £800. Why should someone with the same level of driving experience have their premium nearly halved? Where are the laws preventing age discrimination? Simply, there are none. This is wrong.

Now, another experiment I ran was with my Land Rover quotes. For me to be a named driver on my Dad's policy it will cost me over £1000 as I said earlier. For my Dad to insure the car without me on the policy? £85. Honestly. No, I haven't missed a '0' off the end. It really would cost £85 over a year to insure that car - but because I'm aged 19 and have only held my licence for just under 2 years it costs over 10 times the amount. Crazy or what?

So what of my quandary? I can either stop driving for two years until my premium goes down to something I can afford, try and plead with my insurance company or try and find something cheaper. Whether I succeed in this is a different matter. Hardly seems fair that my insurance is so high because of my age. Maybe I'll start my own campaign. Except what would happen? Older people would have to pay more, rather than young people paying less. Isn't capitalism great? I'll update you on whether I can keep driving at a later date. For now, I'm going to try and calm down by filling myself with tea!