Thursday, April 7, 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.

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