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As a new driver (I only past three weeks ago), I had to shop around quite a lot to find an insurance company to cover me as a learner driver. The challenge was to find someone who would provide fully comp for a reasonable price, without having to involve parents as a policy holder.
The website I used orignally was www.confused.com, an absolutely fantastic website that will help you find the perfect company for you, without taking a fee. Basically, you register by typying in all your details of the car, age, name etc on their website and they take this information to all the companies registered with them (there are lots!) and email you back with a response. The cheapest one for me came up as Churchill out of a lot of strong contenders like Diamond, a company targeted specifically for girls.
The first thing I found was that they would cover me for under a grand. I think my insurance was a little over £900 given the details I entered. (I drive an 02 renault clio 1.2i dynamique). This was fantastic given that many companies either returned a response of only covering those over 21 or covering me for the price of an arm and a leg (Around £2000). In driving terms, this isn't good news.
Already pleased with my quote, and having talked over it with my parents who also were looking around trying places like Lloyds and the AA, Churchill was the one which we finally decided on. Later that day, I gave them a call to confirm the offer I had been quoted with at www.confused.com and they told me that not only was that correct, I could also gain a further 10% if I booked online. The only drawback with this is that it has to be paid in full using a credit card, but nevertheless, I chose to go down that path.
I had also been told that taking 'Pass Plus' (basically, its a scheme whereby once new drivers have passed their test they can have extra lessons to gain more experience such as motoways, night driving and driving in poor conditions) once I had passed my test would further decrease my costs, although I have not reached this stage as yet. All in all, first time drivers really can't go wrong seeing as they don't charge ridiculous prices.
Paying for it online was probably as simple as 1,2,3. The website is very clear (www.churchill.com) and takes you through registration step by step. You are asked details about the car, about the type of cover, personal/contact details and the date you wish to start from. They do quote you instantanously while giving you the option of 'coming back later' or 'buying now'. If you do come back later, they save the details of the offer, valid for at least 6 months, which is good as they don't pressure you to buy.
Another pro point is that the site is very secure for both personal details and credit card details which, in a day of high theft and hacking, is always reassuring. If prefered though, the quote can be accessed over the phone but the 10% discount is lost. (I think they're trying to cut down on phone orders as it takes longer to file claims etc, i could be wrong, though it seems to make sense).
The only problem I seem to be having is contacting them. As I now hold a full driving license, I need to report to them that the status of my claim has changed (although until I do pass plus, there won't be a change in price). This has proved hard as they won't take details from anyone but me, which is good I suppose for privacy reasons, but hard if you find that you can't do it yourself for reasons of timing or whatever. In order to correct this, I have tried emailing them but as yet have not received a response. I will try again seeing as I think its important although I know they were having some problems with their online customer service (was reported on their website). This can be a royal pain when they ask you to do all communications through the method you bought the cover for; I doubt they'd mind though if you did call them.
For me the experience is good, I have had no problems. Though to be fair, I haven't crashed either so no claims have had to be made so I guess this product for me is still in its infancy. I do know others however that have had to make a claim and the company have been highly reputable.
Churchill were really good when I was with them. They dealt with my claim brilliantly after my car was broken into x
LudicrousT 21.10.2006 15:10
Good review I'll have to try them out when I pass mine. The reason it's 10% less online is because of overheads, who answers the phone? A person so they must be paid, how many people do they need to answer an internet? :D
lindsayjayne 16.05.2006 01:00
I haven't passed my test yet but have just bought a car to practice in which I want to insure. I got my cheapest quote from Diamond but after hearing horror stories about their response when people try to claim I think i'll go with Churchill - your review helped to make up my mind - so thanks!