I spend almost a thousand pounds a year insuring my house, car and foreign travel. The law says I must have car insurance. I'd be taking a big risk if I didn't insure my house and in any case mortgage providers insist on it. Foreign Travel without health insurance is idiotic - an air ambulance home costs upwards of £25K.
I haven't claimed on any of these policies for at least 2 years. The only claims I've made in 10 years are for 2 broken windscreens and £100 for delayed travel. So not great value for money then, although I'm not complaining that I haven't had to claim - frankly I'd rather not be involved in car wrecks, burglary, fire or worse.
The only sensible way to limit the insurance burden is to work at minimising premiums - while attempting to ensure your policy is with a provider who won't let you down. Its a sad fact that the only time you discover whether your insurance is any good is when you claim. There's no excuse not to compare premiums - when all you have to do is type your details into an online comparison site - but apparently a lot of people don't bother.
I just received my car insurance renewal quote from Admiral Insurance. Personally I think Admiral's logo is a bit cheesy and their Daytime TV ads even more so. But when RAC Glass let me down when it came to replacing my windscreen Admiral waived the excess and I was impressed with their personal service and apology. So in my book Admiral are going to be tough to beat on service - but what about price? Well the renewal quote has reduced a few pounds, which in itself is a welcome surprise, but then I haven't cost them any money either.
So I checked the comparison sites and Admiral's policy is unbeatable. But their inclusive breakdown cover struck me as expensive, so I phoned them up and asked if they could improve their package - taking into consideration my claims history. They amended the value of my car, reducing it by £2000 (even though cars decrease in value at an alarming rate insurers seem to carry on with the last value you gave them) and the operator went away to ask a manager if my quote could be improved. When she came back my quote had shrunk by £47.94 - just over 10%. Not bad for a 12 minute phone call.
A few years ago I received a house insurance renewal from Norwich Union. I requested a fresh quote online, as though I was a new customer, but using the name and address they already held on file. The new customer quote was £200 cheaper.
Insurance companies operate on the principle of inertia. If you keep renewing they generally keep increasing the premium. Only if you ask, threaten to change provider, or actually change provider is your premium likely to reduce.