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“A Direct Line to your wallet”

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March 17, 2008
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That was the headline in the Guardian on Saturday, where Direct Line were lambasted for charging some fellow a much higher rate for his insurance renewal than they were quoting if he had been a new customer.

On the face of it, it looks quite bad by Direct Line. They quoted him a price of £551 when a new customer would have been offered £173. There’s no getting away from the fact that Mr Robert King, 55, is paying too much for his home insurance.

But looking more closely at the story, I can’t help but feel that Mr King is at least partly responsible for his own misfortune here. He’s been with the company for 10 years and in all that time has never compared his home insurance renewal quotes until now. Says he, “I know the advice is to shop around for the best quote,” and so he should, being an accountant.

Funnily enough, on the way in this morning I saw a large billboard from Direct Line promising their renewal premiums for car insurance would not rise in year two. There is a rather vague disclaimer stating that ANY change to your details or your policy will invalidate the guarantee. So 3 speeding points, and a claim (both specifically mentioned) but remember that your guarantee is also worthless if you change cars, jobs, annual mileage, named drivers, postcode – anything really – and it doesn’t matter if the risk goes up or down. I wonder what the percentage of drivers is where no details at all change year on year.

At least they’ve got happy customers supporting them all the way and making supportive videos. Oh, no wait a minute…

Apparently, Mr Daz feels a bit aggrieved with the way Direct Line have treated him.

2 responses to ““A Direct Line to your wallet””

  1. nidge says:

    >if the market hardens it could be a shrewd move to fix your premium for 2 years.

  2. Dave Wilson says:

    >Perhaps. But in practice there are just too many ways in which Direct Line could weasel on this ‘promise’.

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