About a month ago, I generated a number of different quotes via the 123.ie website. The quotes that I received for Third Party, Fire & Theft ranged somewhere between €420 and €460, depending on the various different add-ons:
At the time, I didn’t feel particularly rushed about handing over my hard-earned money, simply because I still had two months left on my existing policy. So, naturally, I did what most people would do: I left it, telling myself that “I’d sort it out in the next month or so.”
To put a few things into perspective before I continue:
- I have a four years no claims bonus.
- I am a male driver that is over the age of 25.
- I drive a 1.8 litre car.
- I have had a full Irish licence for two years.
- I have been a named driver for four years.
- I have never been involved in an accident.
- I have no criminal convictions or medical issues.
- Last year, my insurance policy cost me about €650.
As you can imagine, I felt as though the quote shown in the screenshot above was pretty good, all things considered.
Anyway, this morning (the 4th of February, 2014), I logged on and checked my emails, only to discover that 123.ie had automatically sent me a renewal quote for my policy. “Oh good”, I thought, until I actually opened the email and read the absolute nonsense that they had sent me. The price that they had decided to quote me? €1100! This is no joke! It was actually €1100! For some reason, 123.ie (and by extension, their parent company, RSA Insurance), felt as though it was reasonable to try and hike my policy up by an extra €450! That’s a ridiculous 69 percent increase!
At first, I figured that it was all some sort of mistake. I work in web development myself, so I could easily envision a situation where a bug in their system had led to a bunch of outrageous quotes being sent out. So… I got on the phone and rang them up.
As soon as I got through to the renewal department, I explained my situation and politely asked them why my car insurance had increased by such a huge amount. To my surprise, the customer care rep on the other side actually tried to justify the €1100 quote for Third Party car insurance by telling me that premiums had gone up across the board due to statistics from the previous year. At one point, the conversation went like this:
Me: I got a quote for about €450 a few weeks ago.
Him: Do you mind telling me what company gave you the quote?
Me: I got it through 123.ie.
Him: Oh, well it must have been more than a few weeks ago then.
Me: It was about 3 or 4 weeks ago.
Him: Something, something about how these things can “change”.
With that, I decided to cut my losses and shop around. On one site, I received quotes that landed somewhere between €450 and €850. To my surprise, one of the quotes included in the list came from RSA Insurance (the company that actually owns 123.ie) – It was offering me Third Party, Fire & Theft for about €800! How was there such a huge difference between my renewal quote and the other quotes that I had been given? If my current policy contained extra add-ons that were pushing my quote into orbit, why wasn’t I being informed about them? Why wasn’t I being offered a smaller package? Why wasn’t somebody giving me an explanation that stretched beyond statistics?
After getting offline, I decided to ring up some of the other insurance companies, just to see what they were willing to offer me. With them, I was getting quotes that were in and around the €500 price mark. It was pretty ridiculous, especially considering the fact that many of them offered me the exact same add-ons (breakdown assistance and windshield cover, etc).
Later on, I was showing somebody the quote that 123.ie had sent me when one of those automatic chat boxes popped up and asked me if I needed any assistance. Feeling compelled to find out what the hell was actually going on, I pressed the chat button. As soon as the customer care rep started chatting to me, I gave her my policy number and explained the situation, half-hoping that this was some sort of mix up and that she would be the one to get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case at all. What I received was further confirmation that the outrageous price of €1100 was correct and that there was nothing that could be done about it. In a rather blunt-but-polite fashion, she told that there was nothing that she could do to help me lower my premium. I thanked her for her time and politely told her that a 70% increase would see me taking my business elsewhere. She asked me if there was anything else that she could help me with and I said my goodbyes.
Afterwards, I decided to run a quote for Third Party, Fire & Theft through the 123.ie website. I was kind of interested to see if they would offer me something similar to what I had been offered for my renewal. The result?
Wow. You can’t make this stuff up.