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One Quote Direct Insurance Services Limited trading as Octagon Insurance Services is an appointed representative of Europa Group Limited and acts as a credit broker and not a lender in relation to premium finance contracts. Registered as a limited company in England and Wales No. 5479983. Europa Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Services Register No. 309794. Registered office: Europa House, Midland Way, Thornbury, Bristol, BS35 2JX.

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Auto-renewal of insurance

Little venice cake company sainsbury's car insurance

Allowing your existing provider to auto-renew your car and/or home insurance is one of the most common mistakes made by customers seeking cost-effective cover.

Key points

  • Don't auto-renew insurance and other financial products - shop around!
  • New customers are often offered discounts and deals that don't apply to existing customers
  • The ABI and FCA are championing an initiative to ensure that the right information is given to customers at renewal

Gocompare.com strives to help you find the right product at the right price.

With that in mind, perhaps the suggestion we make most often is to shop around to compare insurance providers every year.

Despite that, millions of consumers continue to auto-renew financial products year after year, notably car insurance and home insurance.

Shopping around and switching when appropriate is simple and there are proposals in place to further highlight the benefits of doing just that.

Review proposals

In July 2014, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) wrote to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to propose an initiative† that could further improve clarity for customers when renewing and taking out motor and property insurance.

They hoped to impose a new minimum standard of information across the market that, if adopted, all customers would receive when renewing.

In December 2015, the FCA published proposals that broadly followed these ideas, aimed at requiring general insurance providers to publish details of the previous year's premium on renewal notices. It also proposes that:

  • It will give guidance on how firms can improve their processes around renewals to deliver greater clarity and better outcomes for consumers
  • Firms identify and specifically prompt those consumers who have renewed the same product four times or more to encourage them to engage
  • Firms should maintain records of past premiums

The proposal indicates that firms should remember their obligations to treat customers fairly, considering 'how their approach to renewal pricing in general, and the treatment of long-standing customers in particular, delivers fair outcomes to consumers'.

The FCA is seeking feedback on its proposals by 4 March, 2016.

"We hope the proposals encourage more people to shop around for the best product for them," said Christopher Woolard of the FCA.

"It's important that insurers give their customers the information they need to do this and ensure they're treating their customers fairly."

We need a complete review of the way renewals are handled

Consumers need to feel in control

The reform proposals were warmly welcomed by Gocompare.com's Lee Griffin.

"We need a complete review of the way renewals are handled so that consumers feel more in control of the process," said Griffin.

"Many insurers will automatically renew your insurance unless you contact them to tell them otherwise, and their renewal letter will focus on the convenience of needing to do nothing at all in order for your insurance to continue.

"Therefore, beyond just providing customers with last year's premium, we need to ensure the focus is on a proper review of the customer's situation rather than an assumed auto-renewal.

"The options at renewal should be clearly presented and the tone and the language used should reassure consumers that any changes or a switch to another insurer will be handled quickly and willingly, and in a joined-up fashion.

"For example, if you do decide to switch insurers to save money [and auto-renewal is on your policy], the onus is still on you to contact your old insurer in good time to advise them that you wish to cancel your policy when it expires.Car insurance rates by age uk volunteering

"If you don't get in touch they may renew your policy using an existing direct debit and you could face a cancellation charge when you realise you've got two policies in force.

"Getting customers to renew is key for insurers in terms of improving their profitability as they incur far fewer costs with a renewal compared to acquiring new customers.

"However, getting the best deal on your insurance is absolutely key if you're a customer - these two differing priorities seldom sit comfortably together."

Why do people auto-renew their car insurance?

An August 2015 Gocompare.com study suggested that 5.8 million drivers allowed their car insurance to auto-renew, meaning that the UK was missing out on an estimated £1.2bn of savings every year.

The car insurance market is fiercely competitive and insurers often offer better deals to new customers than for those renewing existing policies
Matt Oliver, Gocompare.com

When asked why they allowed this auto-renewal, 39% thought that because their provider was the cheapest last year they would be good value this time around, too.

Other reasons for sticking with the same provider included loyalty (24%), and a good experience with a past claim (11%), while 5% said that they weren’t confident enough to switch, finding car insurance too confusing.

The survey also questioned drivers about the renewal information they receive from providers, revealing that many drivers find renewal letters tricky to understand and lacking key information:

  • 37% said that insurance renewal packs should be easier to understand
  • 47% want insurers to make it clearer how much their renewal has increased by compared with last year
  • 39% don’t know exactly how much they paid for their insurance last year
  • 50% check last year’s premium to see how it has changed
  • 34% check their renewal documents for any changes to the cover provided
  • 28% said that they felt under pressure to renew with their existing provider
  • 24% said that insurance companies use underhand tactics to get you to renew with them

When specifically told that their policy will be automatically renewed but some elements of cover are changing, 14% ignore it and assume nothing very important will have changed.

"The car insurance market is fiercely competitive and insurers often offer better deals to new customers than for those renewing existing policies," said Gocompare.com's Matt Oliver.Cheap car insurance in maumee oh

"So, our advice is simple – even if your current insurer offered the best deal last year, you shouldn’t automatically assume that they will when your policy comes up for renewal.

"Use your renewal letter as a prompt to take action. Look at your renewal notice as soon as it arrives.

"Compare the price and cover against last year’s documents, consider any changes you might need to make to the cover and take a look at similar policies on a comparison site to see if you can make any savings.

"A couple of hundred quid saved on your insurance goes a long way towards paying for other motoring costs, for example car tax, servicing and fuel.

"If you decide to switch, don’t forget to notify your current provider. Most policies automatically renew, unless you tell the insurer otherwise within the 14-day cooling-off period. Miss the cut-off date and you could face hefty cancellation charges."

By Sean Davies



Compare van insurance quotes - we search over 40 companies with one quick quote form

Quotezone’s UK Van and Commercial Vehicle Quote Comparison System could save you time and money.

About the Quotezone van insurance comparison system

Quotezone’s UK van and commercial vehicle quote system could save you time and money. You just have to fill in your details once to compare the market, and you could receive up to 60 quotes back from our panel of UK insurance providers which includes insurers such as Gladiator, More Th>n, Direct Choice. You should see the quotes appear online in around 60 seconds, each motor quotation shows the prices offered including discounts, then you can select the best quotes that suit your budget from our website.

Why use Quotezone to compare van insurance quotes?

We compare UK van insurance providers so you could get cheaper prices.

You can buy online or buy by phone with options to pay monthly (some companies may offer no deposit van insurance schemes) or to pay annually.

We quote quickly:

Most of the quotes will be displayed on your screen within 1 minute, you can find insurance for vans of all kinds if you are researching before purchasing a new large, small, business or private van and we will also email you the quotes online so you can consider them at a later date - so you won’t need a calculator immediately to see if the rates are within your budget!

Van insurance guide

With increasing costs of living and budgets stretched everywhere in the UK, saving money might be a priority for some households. This may be especially true when shopping for the best vehicle insurance products as prices increase due to a rise in uninsured drivers. Put this together with escalating fuel costs and driving might seem prohibitively expensive for some. This is why more and more people are choosing to compare van insurance companies to ensure they get the best van insurance at a low cost.

Driving without insurance is illegal so unless an owner has declared a vehicle off road via a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) then they could well fall foul of the law.

Having appropriate vehicle insurance in place could be extremely important for a persons livelihood, especially if driving a white van or other commercial vehicle for business purposes, so finding the cheapest van insurance quote possible may be a priority.

Different types of cover

With any type of insurance quotation there tends to be different levels and types of cover. People might search for cheap van insurance in order to save money but getting the right type of commercial van insurance that is appropriate for a vehicle is likely to be more desirable. Cutting corners on insurance could be costly so using a UK van insurance provider that has a reputation for quality may be the best option long term.

The types of motor cover available when searching for van insurance quotes tend to be fully comprehensive, third party and third party fire and theft. Each one has different aspects of what a policy might cover; therefore it could be wise to explore the benefits of each one carefully before committing.

Fully comprehensive van insurance

Price wise, fully comprehensive cover is usually the cover that costs the most money. This is because it typically offers protection for the van, the driver and any property. Its still possible to acquire a very cheap van insurance policy which is fully comprehensive. It might also be possible to add on additional cover, such as breakdown protection or legal cover.

Third party

People often opt for third party cover as this could offer the cheapest van insurance available. This offers the basic cover that is legally allowed in the UK and could be ideal if the van to be insured is a low value or if a person only has a small budget.

Taking out only third party van insurance might be risky as it means being liable for the costs associated with replacing or fixing the vehicle owned by the policyholder. This type of policy tends to only pay out damages to the other parties involved. Choosing a greater level of cover might offer more peace of mind as third party van cover is likely to be just basic insurance protection.

Third party fire and theft

Like the above this type of van insurance cover offers basic protection at a low cost. However it also could provide cover for a van that is stolen or fire damaged so has extra benefits and is typically a lower cost than fully comprehensive cover.

Finding a suitable policy

Searching for very cheap van insurance to compare online tends to be the way many people choose to find cover. Comparing prices to find the cheapest van insurance is very typical before deciding on a particular policy to go with. What is useful about comparing quotes on van cover is that it could be tailored to different circumstances and therefore take into account individual details before returning the results. For example a young driver might think they will be charged a great deal for a van insurance policy. In reality it might be much easier to compare cheap van insurance UK and get a policy that takes into account their unique needs. The same might be said of a driver that has previous convictions and a comparison service could help them secure an affordable insurance rate.

Van excess

With any insurance policy it is more than likely that the policyholder could be required to pay the first part of any claim. This is known as the policy excess and could be variable depending on the insurance quote. A lower excess could in turn mean a higher premium and again using a comparison might be a good way of surveying the companies available to van drivers.

Paying for a van insurance policy

Many people like to stagger payments for their insurance policies and pay monthly which could cost more overall than paying in one go but might be more convenient. By paying a deposit and spreading payments over time it could make life easier although a policy tends to be cheaper overall if it is paid up front. To save even more cash there could be the option with some insurers to have a no deposit van insurance policy which might give people the option to distribute payments evenly over the term of the cover.

Getting even cheaper van insurance

People may drive a van as a second vehicle or use it for work rather than pleasure. As such they might have built up some years of no claims with a different vehicle. It could be possible that these be used on a new UK van insurance policy or transferred providing their benefit isn’t already being used elsewhere. It might also be possible to protect a no claims discount depending on the insurer used which could mean keeping the no claims benefit at renewal even if a person has had an accident during the previous year.

Sealing the insurance deal

It is always a good idea to read the details of a policy fully before committing. This way the policyholder knows exactly what they are signing up for. A van insurance comparison site could direct a person to the terms and conditions prior to finalising a deal so they can be certain the policy is right for them.


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