Wednesday 7 March 2012

Time for a rant

I don't think I've had a major rant for a while, well I am having one now. I have a health insurance policy, you may not agree with this but having never been in hospital or touch wood had any major illness in my life I do have something of a fear of these places I'd like to think I might be able to hide away in a quiet and private room if I needed treatment. It has nothing to do with queue jumping and I certainly keep myself healthy, don't smoke, one glass of wine does me, not overweight. I've had different policies over the years and been with my current provider for probably 10 or more years, obviously I've never made a claim. Last year my premium went up quite a lot so I opted for a £1,000 excess which gave a decent reduction and I calculated that a couple of years on a reduced premium would cover any excess I might have to pay in future. My policy is due for renewal next month and when the paperwork arrived there had been a 30% increase from last year, despite the covering letter stating that the average increase for my age was 17%. I phoned up and of course got the same guff I get every time I complain to them, big increase in claims, medical inflation (which I believe is running at around 3%) and when I said that I might not go ahead there was certainly no fawning for my custom, the operator merely asked me to let them know if I wanted to cancel.
So this last week I've been trawling around for a better deal and I've received three different quotes for a policy with the same provider varying from £450 to £1,000, allegedly for the same cover. I have pages and pages of small print to get through but my overall impression of the insurance business is one of deep suspicion.
For example, when our tv in Italy was struck by lightning we spoke to the insurance company who said we'd have to cover the first £100, fair enough, plus obtain two written reports about the incident from tv engineers and we would lose our no claims discount adding about 15% to future premiums. It was cheaper just to buy a new tv ourselves, we gave the old one to the repair man in the village for spares.
When we came to renew our Italian house insurance this year we were told we couldn't have cover for earthquake or land slip. We live on the side of a mountain on the edge of a seismic area, those would be our two main concerns and given the tv debacle we have little confidence we are covered for anything at all.
I might say its a long time since the days of the Man from the Pru, the insurance adviser who used to call round to collect payments from customers door to door, and that the aggressive call centre selling is a deterioration of customer service, but then I bought endowment and pension policies from the man from Equitable Life in a face to face way and a big con that turned out to be. Who can we trust.
Lets not end on a bitter note, here's my lovely amaryllis flowering it's pretty little head off. If only big business was as honest and straightforward, no small print on the bulb, performs as expected, customer satisfaction big style, happy days.


  1. I believe nothing that any insurer says about their prices. After we were burgled in 2010, we enquired how much we could expect the next year's house insurance to go up by, because we'd made a claim. We were assured it would be no more than 5%. Fast forward to renewal time and it had doubled. So we shopped around and got a quote for what we we were paying before from another insurer (and a free meerkat toy to boot :-P).

  2. I hate that the price seems so random, too, especially between companies. Like the number was actually just drawn out of a hat :-(

  3. Sadly I think this is what is happening with all kinds of insurance - I think medical insurance is a con and your age is against you as it's all based on averages and let's face it more people than not don't look after themselves.
    And a lot of people abuse their insurance polices which has a knock on effect for those of us who are honest.
    When my dog was alive his insurance cover from when he was about 11 years old despite us only ever claiming for a skin condition years previously doubled each year until they wanted £1,200 - when I rang up to say I wasn't going to renew they weren't bothered at all as they didn't want my old dog.
    When we moved in 2005 our existing house insurer wouldn't touch us with a barge pole as we moved very close to the sea but had been happy to cover us when we lived right by a river which historically was more of a risk of causing trouble.
    The NHS is a scary place now but I feel if I ever had to have say a new knee or hip would just pay cash ....when it's chronic sometimes the NHS offers better treatment anyway - I think it's the fast access to see someone that is most appealing but for diagnosis you could pay and still probably be in credit.
    With something like house or car insurance it's tangible - your house burns down you know it would be rebuilt but with a human body it's the fear of the unknown

  4. Oh boy you are in rant mode, I sympathise. You not the first person I have come across having a rant on their blog either this evening. Does it have something to do with the fact that we need Spring to arrive.

  5. The thing that really annoys me is when they give big discounts to new customers, but don't reward long-standing ones for their loyalty.

  6. I think that where insurance is concerned you need to be prepared to spend time shopping around to get a good deal. Otherwise they think that they have you for life and rip you off. Good luck!

  7. Can't trust them as far as you can throw them ;-) Ros