Thursday, 7 April 2016

Don't just cough up.

Hello. When I first joined the RAC a long time ago, it was very easy to sign up. You get this, this, and this, and pay your money. The choices were very simple, they come to you if you break down, they repair if they can, or they tow you to a garage. 
I pay annually on a direct debit, and every year they send me a letter telling me how much they are going to take out of my bank account. I always check back to the previous year to see what the price difference is, and yes, it always goes up, never goes down. You would think that as a gesture of goodwill for a long standing customer, they would offer a little discount. Well yes they do actually, last year it was £6.93, this year it is £5.61. Not a lot to shout about, eh! The thing is these figures are meaningless, as every year they jiggle about with their prices, so what looks like a discount, isn't. 
The price difference is up £13 from last year, £83 to £96, and this increase is not acceptable to me. I had a conversation with my insurance broker a couple of months ago about recovery. She asked me how much I was paying, and a few other questions. It turned out that she had a cheaper policy with BD Assistance, and the breakdown service is provided by the RAC. Strange that isn't it, you book direct and it costs you more than going through a third party. She also told me that there is a policy which insures the car rather than the driver, and it is a lot cheaper. This is something that the RAC neglected to offer me when I signed up, and every year since. They make it sound very attractive when they say you are covered no mater what car you are travelling in, even as a passenger, you will still get recovered. I thought that sounded pretty good, so I went along with it, now I'm not sure I need it. I hardly ever travel in someone else's car.

Anyone signing up now for a breakdown service is presented with a menu of benefits, a bit like a menu at a restaurant. You want extras? You pay for them. It's not simple any more, there are lots of items to choose from. Battery rescue £1.67 a month. Onward travel if you car can't be fixed, replacement car or accommodation £3.09 a month. Courtesy car £2.09 a month. Tyre rescue £5 a month. Key replace £1 a month. Garage parts and labour £6.67 a month. Mis-fuel rescue £2.09 a month. European rescue £108 a year. Legal care 75p a month. You add all those up over a year, and you can see where they get their high prices from, and that's how they calculate a piddling discount.

Anyway, I got on to the phone to the RAC yesterday. Armed with the literature that my insurance broker had sent me. They got it right down to £46.50 which obviously had a lot of limitations. It was the car which was insured, not me. The next step up policy was the same as I have with the RAC now, and at £68, it was cheaper than £96. I was ready to do battle.

After going through the menu the price offered was £72, for an almost identical policy to last year, with me being insured. I went with it, to save me the bother of cancelling the direct debit and applying to the new company, for the sake of saving £4.

So the moral of this story is whenever any annual memberships come up for renewal, always do some research and look for a better deal. Keep your eye on any direct debits. Don't just cough up if you feel you are being ripped off. I'll admit, I am not very good at comparison sites, but I will do some checking then ring the company and threaten to leave.

It's raining and I am going to get my dinner. I will have a bowl of my lovely home made soup first, then see what I fancy after that. Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.


  1. We are with the AA and when our reminder notice arrived last year they had upped it not by a few pounds but around £100. So I phoned and said that if they couldn't do better we would not be renewing. In the end they came down to a few quid whithin the previous year's amount. And the silly blighters did the same this year, again almost £100 price hike. Do they think we're all stupid? So I said that I could get it cheaper from another rescue service, and the woman said, ah, but that's just the first year's offer ... but there are so many rescue services, I could have a first-year offer each year! In the end, yes, they reduced the amount to within a smidgen of last year's amount! But some people must just pay up and not query the amount otherwise they'd not do this.
    Margaret P

    1. we did this with the AA and got a great discount like you - definitely pays to say you are thinking of leaving then they reduce it right down Sally

  2. good advice for sure,

  3. My hubby does this every year with Insurance and Recovery. Saga Insurance always say they can beat any quote so he does and then gets them to reduce his renewal, 5 years and counting still with Saga. R.A.C pretty much the same, his argument is if I were a new customer why is it be so much cheaper than for me who has not called you out all year ? Silly not to give it a go and get them to phone you if they are not 0800/free phone x Rae x

  4. Not just roadside assistance as it is called in The States. Try getting cable, phone service (cell or land line), satellite or just about anything else. If you are a new customer what great rates! But if you are a loyal customer your rates could be as much as three times what introductory rates are. If they can sell the service that cheaply to new customers, they can sell it to everybody at that rate. Which is why I don't have cable or satellite and I buy my cell phone time from a third party on a pay-as-you-go bases.

  5. I adore comparison sites. Every year, it's a game I play and I see how much I can save. In 2013 my renewal was £480 and twenty minutes later, it was down to £205. All I did was fill in the details about myself and the car (all of which I knew automatically) and then called the company and haggled. Easy.

  6. Thanks for this post, I have just received my renewal quote and looked at it with horror. I am going to do something about it now . So thank you

  7. Hi, I don't have a car so no worries there, but my house insurance I always query. A few months ago I had reason to phone BT about something and while talking to the very nice man he said hold on a minute I will have a look at what you are paying and reduced my monthly bill by nearly £15 without me even asking.
    Enjoy the weekend Ilona.
    Hazel c uk

  8. It happens every year here too. The renewal notice comes through, we look online and ask the company to match their online price this generally works. The problem with all insurance is in the detail of the policy of what's covered, excesses and so forth. I think you only know how good any insurance is is how they deal with a claim

  9. Definitely worth it - do the same with the car insurance too. Our renewal quote was initially much higher than last year's, but when we did research elsewhere and then rang back to haggle they lowered it to less. These companies are banking on making easy money from people being too indifferent to bother! I often wonder whether the first quote sent out is a tester to see what we will accept....Vicky from Brum

  10. I agree! I am not the best at negotiating and don't have a lot of time to do so, but even so I saved $20/month on my house and contents insurance by ringing up and checking with the insurer. Turns out they'd incorrectly taken away my no-claim bonus, and automatically upped the amount I was insured for, which I did not want to do (I know that costs of building do increase, however in the unlikely event that my house was significantly damaged, I would make do with the insured amount - far more likely is the need to make small claims for burglary, small damages etc). It still went up from last year,and I could have phoned other providers but a quick Google told me they probably wouldn't be THAT much cheaper and it is easier to stay with the same provider.


Comments are welcome from anyone with a Google account. I have had to change the settings due to the amount of troll comments coming through. My apologies to genuine readers who have been with me for a long time.