So today I got round to a bit of household admin…. I do all the admin…. It is part of my job…. Which I don’t actually have…. As I am variously classed as housewife/ homemaker/ full time mother/ waste of space…. That last one isn’t on many forms. But the implication is there.
Anyhoo. I do the admin.
During the school holidays the admin tends to pile up. Because I find it hard to concentrate enough to do it with a house full of kids wanting me to: mend and then blow up punctured paddling pools; admire their zip wire constructions which stretch precariously from bedroom window to trampoline and down which teddies pinned by ears to coat hangers career less than gracefully; rescue indoor remote control helicopters from the tops of trees in next door’s garden. More or less all at the same time. On an average day.
In any event the pile had got unwieldy. And was threatening to topple over. And merge with the pile of school/ child extra curricular type admin stuff. I need two piles. To avoid such toppling. School/ child extra curricular type admin is not a priority currently. Them not being at school or doing anything much of an extra curricular nature except watching endless you tube videos involving vloggers or Pokemon Go, avoiding anything relating to musical instruments and football. There is always bloody football. That game just never quits. Ever. I digress. So this other admin pile had also got quite big. Therefore I decided I needed to begin to attack my home admin pile. I had a quick shifty. The pile contained:-
Details of my new mobile phone insurance which bizarrely had been sent to my old address. That needed changing.
A new address card from friends. Again sent to my old address. I needed to let them know we had moved. I could have sworn I wrote our new address in their Christmas card but clearly the message had not got through. I guess this is how people fall out of touch. If the lovely people who bought our old house had not sent our friends’ change of address card on to us our Christmas cards this year would just have ended up in a recycling factory. Sad.
Middlest’s child trust fund statement. This sounds like we are much posher than we are…we aren’t.
A request to book in my annual boiler service. Again. Blimey that came round quick.
A large note to myself saying BOOK MIDDLESTS BIRTHDAY PARTY. In block capitals. With no apostrophe I noticed. Someone had also highlighted the note with pink highlighter. I think I can guess who. Probably not a grammar aficionado.
A letter telling me of a change in our bank account’s terms and conditions. I usually bin these letters as they just tell me how much more I will get charged if I go overdrawn. But I had seen a reference to ‘Travel Insurance’ on the front page and so needed to investigate. Please see below.
The claim forms from my Bank account’s travel insurance company which needed filling in following our recent medical escapades in Portugal. (See Why are there no Aspirin in the Jungle? for more information should you feel the need.)
An automatic renewal letter for the breakdown cover on my oven. Decisions decisions. Do I allow renewal and then ensure my oven never breaks down again or cancel and ensure my oven breaks down a day later….always a lose lose situation.
A renewal letter from my insurer for my home insurance.
I decided to tackle the last item first. I thought it would be a quick ‘win’. Cursory glance to ensure T&Cs still in order. File. Jobs a goodun.
I looked at the premiums for the coming year. They looked a little, well, larger than I was currently paying, but I wasn’t sure. In our house move last year many, many things changed, got more expensive, got more complicated and such like. I wasn’t sure how much we were actually paying. So I checked it to last year’s letter and found out my premiums had gone up by over 20%. Ouch.
Now I am not one of those perpetual comparers. I do not regularly check my energy providers. Switch insurers at the merest whim. I am not the proud owner of numerous meerkats wearing dubious outfits. I am loyal. Which I hoped counted for something.
Clearly not as this seemed to me to be taking the proverbial piss. I had claimed on my home insurance during the year (we broke some doors- well the wind did please see The View for more info). I thought maybe this was skewing the premiums. But, no, I saw that my No Claims Discount had gone up 5% making the price hike even more ridiculous.
My mother arrived. I hadn’t called her for insurance advice. She didn’t arrive in lycra tights with a cape ‘Insurance Woman’…She was coming around anyway. But even without the benefit of superhero powers she agreed the price hike seemed ridiculous.
There was nothing for it. I was going to have to enter a price comparison web site. I have tried to use such places before. To change energy suppliers. I got so bogged down in kilo watt hours and such like that I gave up trying. It had seemed that I needed to refresh my Maths A level before attempting again. I was hoping an insurance site might need less algebra skills.
In the event, although it took a fair while, most of the questions could be answered from my handy, if expensive, renewal letter. And the others I did my best with. I pressed the button. Those few seconds whilst the site was ‘getting quotes’ felt a bit like Christmas morning as a kid when one has awoken too early and is not able to immediately investigate the bulging stocking at the end of the bed. Well maybe I exaggerate a little. But my internet is very slow (something else on the admin pile) and so it did seem that time stretched out a little.
Well when those quotes came up I was staggered with how much less some of them were.
The first thing I did was scroll down to a name I recognised. Call me cautious but I struggle to buy stuff from firms I have never heard of. Plus a lot of them had rather dodgy looking ratings. It is all well and good paying tuppence ha’penny for an insurance policy but if the claims process is going to let you down it seems rather pointless.
Even discounting the more discounted quotes based on my gut feel and innate warning system of ‘if it seems to good to be true it probably is’ I could get my insurance nearly £450 cheaper elsewhere.
I still was not convinced and went through to the well known department store’s actual site and made sure the quote was like for actual like. OK I needed to amend the voluntary excess down a bit which put the price up a bit. Still a £425 saving.
I got a lovely lady. In the UK. Always a bonus. I checked my concerns. Had they understood my claims history? Where my specified items showing? Etc. She confirmed all was in order and urged me to complete the process on line as it would be more expensive to do it through her. Good advice too.
My mind was almost made up. My innate sense of loyalty kicked in. I rang my current insurer to see if they could do anything and anyway I would need to tell them I wished to cancel. I got through their menu system in record time as I had clicked ‘I wish to cancel my insurance’ early on in the process. That seemed to help.
I explained that their insurance was too expensive. The man ‘ran through the renewal terms’ and came back with an offer £200 lower than the original quote. I was flabbergasted. In fact now I was even more cross. I asked him why he was suddenly able to provide me with insurance for £200 less a year than previously quoted.
He spouted some guff about the quote being computer generated and then I let him talk on by saying nothing and his ‘excuses’ got lamer and lamer. In summary what he meant was:
If you are a sucker who does not challenge his insurance quote you will get shafted.
I ‘politely’ declined his offer. Added accidental damage to my new quote and still proceeded to save our family £400 a year less the cost a few phone calls and my time, which as we know costs nothing.
The price of loyalty, it seems, is extremely high.
Oh yeah. All of that. Three cheers for my father in law, he’s like a terrier on a rat when it comes to this stuff.
I think it’s sort of a tax on laziness – if you don’t pay attention, the cost will rise quietly until you notice and switch – and plenty of people will be coming over from other companies to compensate for your leaving. I remember even before direct debits and online automation made forgetting even more easy, that there was usually a lot more competition (deals and offers and intro rates etc) for new customers compared to existing. I speak as a lazy person who keeps getting nibbled by this. Grrr