Don’t let insurers rip you off – switch for a better deal

Don’t let insurers rip you off in 2023 as premiums rise – be prepared to challenge their price or switch

  • The New Year will herald a flurry of renewal notices for insurance renewals
  • But shop around and watch out for higher premiums this year  

The New Year will herald a flurry of renewal notices for car, home and travel insurance policies.

All the signs are that they will result in inflation-busting premium increases. For example, the cost of car cover is rising by an average 14 per cent (source: Comparethemarket), with those aged 50 and over being hit with the biggest hikes.

Although the regulator has tried to stop insurance companies penalising loyal policyholders with higher premiums than those paid by new customers, this doesn’t mean that anyone receiving a renewal notice in the coming weeks ought to meekly accept it. Vigilance is the order of the day.

Renewal time: The New Year will herald a flurry of renewal notices for car, home and travel insurance policies

Indeed, anecdotal evidence proves the value of taking up the cudgels. Mail on Sunday reader Martyn Hunter, from Waterloo-ville in Hampshire, has been a home insurance customer of More Than for many years, during which he has occasionally managed to get his renewal premium reduced by phoning up and threatening to leave.

This year, his insurance, which would have renewed in three days’ time, was due to jump by 30 per cent. But as soon as he received the renewal notice (just before Christmas), he got on the phone to More Than.

By agreeing to a couple of minor changes to his cover – plus benefiting from a discretionary discount for loyal customers – he drove down the cost to below what he paid 12 months previously.

‘I’m retired,’ says Martyn, ‘so every penny I can save is crucial. Anyone facing the kind of premium increase I was asked to meet – especially the elderly – should challenge their insurer.’

Martyn is absolutely right – although shopping around also still makes great sense. My lovely cleaner Ingrid, a fount of solid personal finance knowledge, has got her annual travel cover for a lower price by shopping around.

This is because her provider (Cover For You) wanted to more than double the premium (from £69.34 to £177). Although an inveterate traveller (Ingrid enjoys her cruises and often visits her son in Spain), she is at a loss as to why Cover For You wanted her to pay a ‘special price’ of £177.

Age? Maybe (she’s in her late-60s). But she’s happy the Post Office offered her ‘better’ cover for just £64 a year. So, remember: loyalty still doesn’t pay. Insurers, I am sure, are using the cloak of double-digit inflation to push through unjustifiable premium increases.

Stand your corner like Martyn – and if needs be, do an Ingrid and shop around.

A new role in 2023…

After more than 25 years as Personal Finance Editor of The Mail on Sunday, my role at the newspaper is changing a wee bit. 

Hopefully, it will mean a little more writing (so please keep sending in the emails) and a lot less editing. 

The result is that I will become Group Wealth & Personal Finance Editor, working alongside my talented personal finance colleagues on both the Daily Mail and MoS. 

To all readers, you are my eyes and ears. Stay in touch. Happy, happy New Year.