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The Letchworth Financial Health Project is continuing to provide regular cost-of-living information sessions to the local community. These sessions provide financial information and guidance in these challenging and uncertain times.

For example, one issue we look at is – “Are you struggling with inflation and increased costs?”

One suggestion we make, is not to auto renew your insurance policies, but instead to take a few minutes to shop around for a better deal before renewal.

Obviously, we follow our own advice, and I would like to share my recent experience, as a typical example of self-help.

My car insurance was due for renewal. A quote arrived by e-mail from my existing insurer. I knew that because of high UK inflation, car insurance rates generally were much higher. Also, unfortunately I had two claims last year – one for accidental damage to my car by a 3rd party, that was not my fault and a second, for a replacement windscreen. However, I had also paid for protected no-claims bonus. So, I was expecting only a modest increase. Imagine my shock then, that my re-quote was 65% higher than last year!

So, before ringing my insurer to try and haggle my quote lower, I used two on-line comparison sites (Go-Compare and Compare-the-market) to search for better quotes, for the same cover. I also quickly looked at the ‘Which’ consumer website to see their recent (free online) review of car insurance companies. Without going for the absolute cheapest quotes, I could see immediately that I would be able to renew with another reputable company at a considerable saving to my own insurer’s renewal cost. Armed with that information, I rang them to re-negotiate my renewal.

The outcome? Even though my own insurer eventually offered me about £100 off their quote, the minimum policy excess they demanded remained too high. So, instead, I very easily renewed online with a new company, with a lower minimum excess, all the same benefits of the policy, at a cost which finally came in at only 29% above last year’s cost and £150 lower than my existing company re-quote.

In all, it took me three phone calls and probably 60 – 90 minutes online, to get a much better deal. So, challenge that renewal letter and take some time to research and haggle for a better deal – you’re worth it.

Another useful tip from Martin Lewis is to look for new quotes 21 to 23 days before renewal as prices will be cheaper during this time period.

By Keith Jones

Citizens Advice North Hertfordshire is an independent, local charity reliant on raising our own funds to carry out our work to improve the lives of residents in North Hertfordshire and parts of South Cambridgeshire. 

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Free Advice Line:

0800 144 88 48

The number above is for the Hertfordshire Citizens Advice Line.   Opening hours are 10 am to 9 pm Monday to Wednesday, 10 am to 8 pm Thursday and Friday, and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday.

If you would like to contact Citizens Advice North Hertfordshire directly please call us on 01462 689801 and leave a message.

Citizens Advice North Hertfordshire local number:

01462 689801

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If you would like advice over the phone you can call the National Citizens Adviceline on 0800 144 88 48