Insurance and my dislike of the genre

Insurance stuff does my head in.

I don’t trust insurance companies, end of story.

I have a natural dislike for the whole slimy, toady, self-interested, self perpetuating industry that masquerades as a public service whilst at the same time tries to screw the public every which way it can, whilst conversely the public try and screw it every which way they can – the public get the insurance industry they deserve and vice-versa.

It all came to a head some years ago when Suzanne was leaving a car park in our car, at the entrance to the car park was a bloke in a Range Rover who admitted that he was lost and in that ignorant self obsessed manner that most drivers of that marque tend to have, he’d parked right at the entrance of the car park to look at a map, oblivious that his ugly monster truck might be hindering access and egress.

She stopped her car behind the Range Rover, put the hand brake on and waited for the fool within to realise that there were other users on the road that day.

Without warning he put the Range Rover into reverse and drove it into our car.

He was most apologetic and at least had the decency to admit fault and declare that “He hadn’t seen a car parked behind his”, that he hadn’t thought to look was fairly obvious, still no harm done, we submitted our insurance claim.

Several months later our insurance company wrote back to us to tell us that they had settled on what they quaintly call “knock for knock” in other words no blame had been levied on either party, both insurers had paid for their own clients repairs and that was the end of it, other than the fact that we then lost our no-claims bonus.

Of course I wrote back to them, I wrote back to them to ask them how a person could be 50% to blame for an accident just by sitting stationary in their car with the handbrake on while someone reverses into them, presumably they would be 50% to blame just for being there – they of course did not reply, chances are you see that somewhere within the machinations of the insurance business the same underwriters were responsible for both vehicles and to them there was no mileage in trying to prove blame, especially not when you could then hit both of your own clients with the loss of their no claims bonuses.

Am I cynical about the insurance business ?

You bet your arse I am.

So I have in front of me the renewal notice for our home insurance, its from Direct Line Insurance and its for £275.60 this year, has it gone up from last year, yes its gone up from last year, do I believe that Direct Line search the internet to offer us the best value quotation in the world – do I fook.

So I did the usual insurance price comparison gubbins and found hundreds of insurers offering me a basic product from £140 upwards, but surprisingly when I started adding in all of the “extras” that Direct Line had listed on their quote those £140 quotes all started to come in at around … £275.

So I look closer at what exactly it is I am insuring…

1. The Building – just in case it falls down one day, its compulsory for me to have this as part of my mortgage agreement, there is no way around this, cover is unlimited so at least if this house did fall down I could presumably have it replaced by a ten bedroom, ten bathroom mansion with a cinema projection room for Suzanne (old movie fan), (that is she is a fan of old movies, not that she is old and a movie fan, I need to make that point clear for legal reasons) and an art studio for me – or maybe not.

2. Contents – They estimate the contents of this house at £50000 with accidental cover included but with a £200 excess on each claim. I’m not sure that we have anything worth over £200 in this house or at least if we have then its not going to be worth claiming after they’ve knocked £200 of the price, other than a fire I can’t imagine any reason why any of our stuff would be lost, I mean when was the last time that your local scrote broke into a house in your neighbourhood and stole the family three piece suite, a dining table and six chairs and three wardrobes from upstairs ? they don’t do they, they steal small items that can be sold in a pub within the hour, and cash – so why would I want to insure the rest of my furniture especially when you consider that the insurance company will more than likely send around a “loss adjuster” (their loss adjustment not yours) to point out that the five year old value of a three piece suite is almost nothing and then they take the £200 excess off it – I mean, whats the point ?

3. Personal Possessions – now here is where I definitely have a laugh, I am covered for “unspecified items” in the sum of £5000, a £1000 money limit, £5000 for credit cards and £1000 for a bicycle – I don’t even know under what circumstances I could claim for “personal possessions”, presumably its stuff that I carry around with me – I carry around  nothing, I’m the person to travelled to Barbados once with a small gym bag of clothes and $25 in his pocket, when I go on my monthly trips to Birmingham in this country I have my train ticket, £10 and about £3 worth of clothes in a bag, I hate carrying stuff, I don’t have cash, don’t use it, have no use for it, if I wanted to buy anything right now than I’d have to go to a cash machine to get some cash, I have a handkerchief in my pocket, nothing more, why the fook would I want to insure my handkerchief for £5000 ?

4. Family Legal Protection – its re-assuring to know that I have £100,000 worth of legal protection should the need ever arrive to sue someone or something, however its more re-assuring to note that in the 54 years of my life so far I have not yet been sued or needed to sue, and its even more re-assuring to note that my eldest daughter will be graduating with a law degree in just three short months, well there’s £25.44 that I can knock off my insurance bill then.

5. Home Emergency Assistance – I can claim up to £500 for “any emergency at your home”, I think they mean stuff like plumbing, electrics and so on and so forth, I do that stuff and the last time I put a nail through a central heating pipe just two minutes before I was due to leave the house to go to a rugby match (full story somewhere on the internet) I forgot completely that I had full insurance cover for such dumbfookery and instead just turned the water off and went to the rugby. We could probably strike this option off the quote too.

Best of all, if I call Direct Line to inform them that I don’t need one or more of the above options they will charge me £15.90 to change the policy, if I ring them to tell them I don’t want to renew they will charge me £25.60 to cancel it.

The insurance business distrusts its own clients almost as much as they distrust it.


3 thoughts on “Insurance and my dislike of the genre

  1. Sadly all correct. What a try on the whole insurance game is. Life insurance is cheap and pensions are expensive for a very good reason. I work with barristers (good luck to you daughter) and they get bad press. But insurance? What a shark infested pond that is. I just got a renewal through from Admiral I nearly laughed my onion off. I won’t be renewing that’s for sure.

  2. Direct Line “we search all the insurers to ensure we’re the cheapest” = £275

    Sheilas Wheels home insurance for exactly the same cover = £140

    Sacked Direct Line today, signed up with Sheilas Wheel, so what if my policy is on pink paper ?

  3. Too true. I always ring up, even if I just want to renew – whinge a bit and always a get a reduction. In many cases it is possible to self insure – AA / RAC type road assistance is a good example – if you put away a hundred quid a year into an account, you’ll almost certainly amass more money that you would ever need to pay for roadside assistance. Same with all the household boiler cover type insurance. After all these guys pay huge commissions and make a profit

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