I’ve just bought some insurance for Dear Charlie, not that I am going to lose him or that I expect to, though of course I will at some point as statistics say that wives tend to outlive their husbands, no the insurance I was after was for a moped.
In his great wisdom doling out some £1500 on a bike, helmet, gloves, trousers and proper reflective jacket is going to be, in the long run, cheaper than him driving the Mazda down to the station every day.
I never question his logic, after 12 years I know not to question it merely to nod sagely and keep my opinions to myself (I am a model wife and helpmeet).
Anyway hunting about for said insurance via Google I was confronted with a dazzling array of names none of which I recognised so taking pot luck whizzed the mouse up and down and clicked.
I tried to do it online but the proforma uploaded looked so comprehensive and confusing that I wimped out and clicked the “Contact Us” button out of sheer fear.
I got through sort of. I landed up in a No man’s land, the one where they actually answer the phone but not let you ask any questions. “We are experiencing an unprecedented number of calls at this moment. We know you are waiting. Please hold on until one of our operatives is free. We value your custom.”
This message, delivered by a suitably sugary voiced but plainly bored woman, every two to three minutes, is there to test your patience to the limit. The longer you hang on the more determined you are deemed to be to actually want to buy the insurance offered.
I mean the majority of people do not have the time to hang on phone for 20 minutes just to get quotes from everyone. There are deals to be done and they need to be done now.
I finally get through to the operative, a charmingly voiced Liverpudlian and I spew forth my request like a drowning man given a life belt. Time is money people and I know I am about to be fleeced.
We go through all the details, registration of vehicle, value, when was it bought, name of driver, age, occupation, address, convictions, marital status, inside leg measurement…
And then get to the nitty gritty: the quote. It is surprising how the quote and the actual payment differ in this case by £16, it would have been a lot more if I went for the Legal protection which would cover me if I had an accident.
“Isn’t that what the bike insurance is for?” I asked
“The legal insurance is for people who might sue you in the event of an accident or if you wished to sue.”
“But isn’t that what the fully comprehensive bike insurance is meant to cover?” I persisted.
Realising he wasn’t going to get anywhere with this argument he changed tacks and confused me horribly. “It will also protect your excess and ensure you get a new courtesy bike while yours is off the road.”
I was too tired to take that one further so rejected the kind offer.
I also rejected the free three month Recovery service offer and the free helmet insurance cover which I could then take up at £2.99 a month and £3.99 respectively, when I realised that I would be the one to have to remember to say no thank you at the end of the three months. (I wondered how many people forgot to tell the insurer in time!)
Realising I was getting near the end of the whole shebang I was slightly non-plussed to be asked when my household insurance was up for renewal. I just stopped myself in time from blurting out that it was due now but unfortunately I then stupidly asked why he needed to know. Before I could retract my statement I was off on another massively long sales spiel.
There was only one thing for it I thought act Lady Bracknell and in my best quelling tones said that part from the bike insurance “Our agent” dealt with that sort of thing and if he would like to call “Our agent” perhaps he would like to discuss the matter with him at his own leisure.
He was brought swiftly to heal and I paid for the insurance after adding an extra £8 on it to reduce the excess form £400 to £150, though I have no idea where the extra £8 increase came from making the whole payment £16 more than the quote. I just hope I remember to look at the small print when the documents arrive in case I have signed up for something that Dear Charlie really doesn’t want….