Your insurance quote web site is annoying


If you don’t have an insurance quote web site, look away now; this is just the annual grumble about buying insurance!

Is a simple form really so difficult?

None of the sites I tried were pushing the boundaries of HTML5, yet apparently browser support is still an issue. #fail

I don’t need help typing a date!

Actually, with a few less drop down lists around, this is one area that has improved a bit since last year. Top marks to the sites that just let me type the date in, but points for trying if the year isn’t a drop down; I don’t need reminding how old I am by scrolling back through the years thankyouverymuch. Having said that, I might need a little help typing the right date but ironically the only time I got it wrong was with a drop down, where I put the current year in for my date of birth by mistake. I was helpfully told that I was too young when I hit submit, but if you insist on having a drop down, what’s the point of including invalid values?!

On the subject of dates, is it really critical to know the exact date I got my license? I think ‘a while ago’ should cover it after this long. A few sensible companies agree, just asking how many years you’ve had a license, up to 3-5 years ago.

Are you trying to catch me out?

Forcing me to negotiate a confusion of check boxes to opt out of your exceptionally interesting marketing communications is just rude. Please choose check boxes or radio buttons and stick to one or the other, and don’t keep swapping the meaning of yes and no. A single opt-in check box would be favourite.

What did I say?

If you want me to verify that all the information I entered is correct, it would be really useful if you showed me all the information I entered! (The paperwork arrived through the post today, and luckily it was all correct!)

“Other, please specify”

The subject of another post that has been resting in my drafts for ages. The most trouble I had was specifying what claims I’d made in the last 300 years. One or two included ‘hit an animal’, while the rest had a bunch of more or less accurate choices. After initially doing well to ask me what I thought of their site, Aviva were the recipients of a QI style klaxon: unfortunately the questionnaire stumbled when it asked for my phone number should I be happy to discuss further. Maybe they don’t have email… or reply to blogs… Basically, let me answer the question accurately.

“I’m Not Here To Be In a Relationship”

Insurance companies should probably read about The $300 Million Button. At least John Lewis got this right.

How much?!

Maybe it’s just me, but an option to enter a voucher or special offer code is a blatant reminder that you’re not going to get the best price. Not to mention the annoying trend for ‘cash-back’ sites, which never really fill me with confidence. I think a grand total of one managed to show some sign that the hand-over had worked and some cash back might therefore be forthcoming. Even then it was a rubbish quote sadly. I guess it’s just an online continuation of getting renewal quotes that are more expensive than new customers, or all that no claims nonsense.

Who am I?

Straying worryingly close to the day job here, but despite discounts for taking more than one insurance product from the same company, I don’t think any of the sites gave me confidence that they were connecting the dots. Some reference to other policies at best, but not really much use while looking for an all inclusive quote for three new policies. The three separate letters that arrived today confirmed my suspicions. I expect I’ll get three renewal reminders again next year as well.

Ok, ok, I’ll stop now… until next year!

Insurance fail


Finally completed one of my least favourite jobs for another year: buying insurance. It doesn’t seem to get any easier, even with the internet and all the price comparison sites. Now there are cash back sites to take in to account as well! Of course it’s only an issue because a competitive renewal quote is apparently too much to ask*. If an insurance company is going to make me haggle with them for a renewal, they’re going to have to do pretty well to overcome my sheer bloody mindedness to go elsewhere on principal. So goodbye Aviva then!

I phoned to encounter the usual menu system, only these days you get to speak the answer. Unsurprisingly the voice recognition didn’t do too well with my request to discuss car and home insurance, and I had to point out it was only a computer a few times before it gave up and put me through. I’d gone with Aviva last year because they had a discount for having both policies with them, but that doesn’t mean they can actually cope with discussing both at the same time. Must be on a whole different web page in the call centre! The first lady I spoke to could only handle home insurance, and give her credit, she did reduce the quote a bit before putting me through to the car insurance line… which was a complete waste of time. He seemed a bit surprised that I wasn’t just phoning up to pay and wouldn’t even contemplate the idea of reducing the price- well done, you just lost car and home insurance business!

The search for a new deal was all fairly standard stuff (web site designers please note, I’d much rather type a date than picking from a list of years as long as your arm!) however I do think companies are losing a lot of business with their unhelpful web sites. I filled in what seemed like an endless stream of almost identical (or in some cases only barely rebranded) forms and at various points just aborted because, basically, computers are dumb. It would be nice to fill in most of the details online but request a call to finalise the process; better than answering a ton of questions on the phone, but with the ability to have any questions answered and do a bit of haggling with a real person.

(* Until recently I’d been lucky enough to renew the same car insurance a few years in a row. That was until I had to make a small claim, whereupon their quote shot up which is just bonkers. Given the number of years I’d been paying insurance without making any claims, you’d thing they’d want to keep me to get some of that money back! Spreadsheet says no though, so someone else is getting the money they could have had.)