Insurance in Ireland is a bit of a mess and an expensive one at that.
For the last couple of years I’ve been tracking insurance quotes for both my car insurance and my house insurance just to see how varied the prices are.
My methodology is far from perfect, but it’s helpful to keep track of the pricing I get as well as seeing how that pricing changes over time.
House insurance and car insurance are quite different animals. With house insurance you’re talking about something that does not move (obviously!) and where the value is probably appreciating (at least at the moment). Unless the area the house is in changes dramatically you’d expect the cost of insurance to remain fairly static if you don’t make any claims. A car insurance policy, on the other hand, is quite a bit more complicated as they factor in the car’s value and usage, as well as a bunch of factors related to whoever is getting insured.
Last year, as everyone knows, the amount of driving we all did dropped dramatically. So much so that many of the insurance companies gave us all back money in some form (I got a One4All voucher from my insurer). You’d expect insurance pricing to not have gone up much between last year and this year, but of course you’d be wrong.
You’d also expect that insurance companies would want to keep their existing clients, but it’s very obvious from my own experiences and those of friends and colleagues that this isn’t the case. The companies tend to penalise their existing clients with renewal prices. You can usually query the pricing with them and more often than not they’ll give you the price for your renewal that you’d have got if you were a new client. I suspect that they’re banking on our collective apathy.
But why on earth do we have to do this? It’s nutty.
If the difference between the price for a new client and a renewal was €20 to €50 I wouldn’t care. I’ve no issue with a company offering new clients an incentive.
But what I’ve seen time and again is that the renewal price quoted vs the new signup price has a gap of well over €100.
Also the difference between the different companies’ prices is significant, even though the produce they’re selling is essentially identical. This year the highest price I was quoted was just under €800 from one company, while the lowest price was under €500. That’s a difference of €300, so it is worth switching provider.
I’ll be starting researching house insurance pricing for 2021 – 2022 in a couple of months time and I’m dreading it already. Again the difference between the highest and lowest quotes is big enough for me to care. In 2019 the price difference was just over €100, while in 2020 the difference was closer to €200. I ended up with a premium of about €220 for the year which was bearable. Bear in mind that my past experiences in getting insurers to pay out was far from stellar. I recall a particularly nutty series of phone calls with the insurance company about software on my personal Mac. So so weird. So so annoying.
Also if you can check how much you’re paying for gas and electricity. Switching provider can save you quite a bit!