I used to work in a car insurance company. It’s not the worst thing I could have done I suppose but I still feel kind of bad about it.
You see, I could view firsthand all of the unnecessary charges we made to customers and it made me feel kind of bad. Now Which? has come out and had a go at insurance companies over the charges they apply to their policies.
These insurance charges include things like making customers pay up to £35 for little changes such as getting their personal details up to date or notifying of a change of address. Among the other charges which aren’t always made clear to customers are those which are levied for cancelling or renewing an insurance policy.
The investigation carried out by Which? revealed that companies such as Axa and Swiftcover make people pay £30 just for changing the insured vehicles or when they notify changes such as those I just mentioned.
Hastings goes one step further and charges £5 for renewing a policy and £35 for amendments. Insurance companies who charge for cancellations include Zurich, Axa, Budget and More Than, who will all make you pay at least £50 for ending a policy.
Interest for Paying in Instalments
As if that wasn’t enough, the good people at Which? have also looked into the interest charged for paying premiums in instalments and stated that this is often excessive. For example, Swiftcover and Axa both charge around the 30% mark, although to be fair First Direct and Age UK don’t charge anything.
The chief executive of Which? is Peter Vicary-Smith and he said that the high charges made by insurance companies is a “disgrace”. He also called it a “way of making easy money” and called on the companies concerned to make these charges reflect “the real cost to the company”.
One notable response came from Swiftcover. Their spokesman confirmed that changes are free if done online and it is only with calls to the helpdesk that this fee applies.