I hate this time of the year.
It’s not that Christmas is around the corner and I am having to ready myself for the onslaught of jovialness which comes with mammoth gift-buying or the scabby all-too-heard Christmas ‘melodies’ without which the season would not be complete.
For me, this time of the year heralds my Landlord insurance renewal premiums. Which is always a joke. It is a farcical jockeying for how much money can the insurance company screw out of me. My insurance premiums are always the equivalent of a small car, and I always end up feeling far less festive when I get their letter. But that’s little wonder when I’ve stuffed my insurance company’s stocking so full I have only the tiniest of crumbs left over for Santa.
I know insurance is important. I bleat on about it all the time. You need it for when stuff goes wrong. And when you own property plenty of stuff goes wrong. It’s just a fact of life. A bit like unattended tea-lights. They should not be left unattended as the consequences can be pretty severe. Note my tenant who learned bath’s explode and can burn down buildings when tea-lights are not attended-to.
So it’s this time of the year when rather than thinking about my Christmas list I am calling insurance companies left, right and centre. I am obtaining masses of quotes, trying to scour the small print and, ensuring that all quotes are like-for-like and some company hasn’t inserted a small-print clause which renders my whole policy as useful as a car without an engine.
I’ve been really busy of late. I’ve been so bloody busy I actually need air. So this time of year has come to pass when I should be diligently calling round all insurance companies and when my ears should be red and sweaty from being pressed against the handset waiting with bated breath for the premiums…but I have to confess: I just have not got around to it.
I didn’t know what to do about it as renewal day was marching upon me and unless I pulled my finger out of my arse and started calling a gazillion different people it wasn’t going to happen. So I decided to get creative – I decided to use my time efficiently and try and cut to the chase of the game which is played every year with my broker.
He had emailed me my renewal price and I had consequently choked on my rapidly running dry saliva. With all the mountain of things I had to do I just couldn’t face having to call yet more people and get more quotes.
So I just pretended.
I replied to his email: “Thanks for the renewal, looks higher than I expected. As usual I will have to get competitive quotes, but to save some time why don’t you ask them for their best price”
I didn’t hear anything for two days. My calendar winked at me every day to remind me I needed to start calling if I was going to get some competitor prices.
Then my broker emails me:
“Sam, I have asked them, literally begged them, to get you a better price. Please find enclosed the new renewal figure”
Which was £263 less than the first premium.
I was shocked.
This year I hadn’t even called a gazillion people to beat the price down – I had in fact just asked for a cheaper price and *intimated* I would get competitive quotes. And while I was chuffed with the new lower price – it got me thinking: How much more could I save?!
With the clock ticking I approached the broker who had been most competitive last year to quote me a renewal.
He came back with a figure £780 MORE than my renewal!
*Humph*. Not what I had been hoping for.
So I told the competitor insurance broker that.
He replied “You’ve got great terms and a great price – sorry we can’t beat it”
Realising I had already been provided with a market beating quote I should have just signed up and paid the bill.
But I didn’t. I needed to do one more little thing.
I called my broker again.
“Please Mr S, you know I would like to keep my business with you, but this quote is really rather more than I was expecting to pay. Please can you just beg my insurance company one last time for a lower premium”
And I did it in the full knowledge that I was already in receipt of a quote which was £780 less than what a competitor could offer…
10 minutes later he called me back.
“Sorry”, Mr S said “The best they can do is reduce their commission by £50”.
“Oh that’s such a shame” I replied.
But, of course it wasn’t.
It was one helluva result: I’d actually managed to bag a total of £313 off a renewal premium which I didn’t even have a chance of matching price-wise anyway! And that was all just by asking…very nicely!