How one phone call saved me $275
IT'S not every day that five minutes on the phone saves you $275, but when it does, it reinforces the importance of taking an active interest in your household finances.
I received my annual comprehensive car insurance "renewal" notice in the mail.
I opened it up and there it was; a bill of $1579, which I could pay with great ease online and be covered again for another year.
Insurance companies make the renewal process so easy because, like so many other providers of life's little essentials, recruitment and retention are how they get their business. They recruit new customers with headline deals and seek to retain unhappy customers with one-off deals or bonuses, because they know that the majority of us won't bother to switch providers once we are on their books. Then, when the discount periods come to an end, they up the price.
I am happy with my insurer. They have been helpful with the couple of minor claims I have made over the past decade and I have a no-claim bonus and safe driver rewards points.
But because of my job, I know insurance companies don't reward loyal customers with the best deals, so I casually visited their website in the guise of a new customer and punched in my details to see what they would quote me.
The quote was $1275, including a shiny new $100 new customer discount. My insurer was offering what they believed to be a random potential customer the same cover for $300 less per year than what they wanted a loyal customer of a decade to pay.
I called them and told the woman who answered what had happened and stated that it was not acceptable and I would need a discount.
After I quoted my reference numbers for both the online quote and the renewal notice, she went straight into customer service mode.
She could give me everything except the $100 new customer discount, she said, because that would mean I would lose my safe driver and no claim discounts from being an existing customer. Imagine my surprise then, when I found my discount was only $75.
What would be the point of holding onto a rewards bonus that got me less of a discount than a new customer? Every year I could be a new customer and get the best deals on offer.
I pushed a little harder and the price came down a little bit more and I was satisfied. She was friendly, helpful and like I said, I had always been happy with their service.
One phone call saved me $275. It was a win for the simple act of being engaged with my insurance and giving it some attention.
And the insurer won't mind at all, because for every customer like me, there are five who remain disengaged, according to new research conducted by Finder.com.au.
The survey of 1800 Australian drivers found that one in six has no idea whether they have a no-claim bonus on their insurance. The report claims these disengaged drivers are wasting around $250 a year on their policy, adding up to $725 million a year as a nation, a figure that worried Finder.com.au spokeswoman Bessie Hassan.
"The 17 per cent who are unsure could be missing out on discounted premiums," Ms Hassan said. "Those unsure about their no-claim bonus should contact their insurer for clarity."