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One of the benefits of the internet in recent years is the emergence of comparison websites for customers looking for competitive deals for insurance, energy providers & mobile phone tariffs.
In days of old getting competitive insurance quotes was a time consuming & laborious task. If you weren’t happy with a quote from an existing company you had to ring round various other companies & hope that your efforts would be rewarded, often they weren’t. You could always find an agent & leave your details with him or her for a few days & hope for the best.
Nowadays comparison web sites take the hassle out of looking for a competitive insurance quotes & within 15 minutes you have around 40 different quotes from various companies which in the majority of cases can save you a lot of money.
Having used ‘Go Compare’ in early May for home insurance I saved myself £140.00 from my existing & very greedy insurance company. It is now June I need car insurance & decided to use ‘Go Compare’ once again.
The problem I had with car insurance was I had been running a company car for nearly 13 years & now that I have bought a car of my own I wasn’t entitled to a ‘no claims bonus’, or at least that was what I thought.
Within 15 minutes I had filled in all the relevant sections of ‘Go Compares’ website’ for a quote & ended up with over 40 different quotes, the cheapest being £300.25 from Virgin Money. For a little 1300cc Toyota Yaris I thought that it was a bit hefty but the other quotes were more expensive with less cover! In fact they went up to £600.00 on more than one occasion.
Then I remembered a recent TV ad for Direct Line that stated they don’t participate in comparison websites which is rather a brave commercial decision to make considering how popular these sites have become.
I went on to Direct Line’s website & after punching in the same information as before in what looked like an identical application form / page I was given a quote for £268.00. The cover was slightly less than Virgin (no courtesy car available) & I could have clicked on ‘accept’ & paid for my annual cover there & then. However I wanted the insurance company to send the cover note direct to the garage where I had just purchased my car so they could tax it, the garage is 60 miles away from home. Their website doesn’t allow for these requests so I decided to contact Direct Line direct by phone. They make this easy by supplying all the necessary details on their web page with the quote & don’t punish you with a higher quote because you decide to use the phone rather than a website (Take note Easy Jet!).
I was put through immediately to a young girl in the UK call centre who brought up my quote on her screen. At this point she could have taken my card details & processed the insurance quote for me. However she looked at the quote very carefully & questioned why I hadn’t any ‘no claims bonus’ given the fact I had been driving since the 1970s & never had an accident since 1978. I explained that I had been using a company car since 1996 & hadn’t had a private vehicle since. She then explained that if Direct Line could get a letter from my ex-employer stating that I was insured for the period of 13 years without an accident she would process my insurance cover with a ‘no claims bonus’ & save me £99.00 giving me a final quote of £169.00. This figure was based on a ‘one off’ annual payment, if I wanted to break it down into monthly payments the overall cost was around £190.00.
I agreed to her request & gave her my card details to allow the cover to start immediately & I was given 28 days to provide a letter. I was quite taken aback by all this as most companies would have taken advantage of the higher quote & simply processed it. Direct Line had saved me just over £130.00 compared to the comparison site simply because it didn’t have the means of explaining my circumstances to them on the application page of their website.
Now it is very difficult to review Direct Line as an insurance company until an accident occurs & see how they handle it but I can’t wait until then. So all I can review them on the way they handled my enquiry which was very quickly & efficiently. How they saved me money which in this case was just over £130.00 & the speed they sent the documents to my address which was about a week. The basic insurance cover for comprehensive insurance covers me for the usual things plus legal expenses but no courtesy car.
In my last job I spent a couple of weeks assessing body shops for my company & I always heard good reports about Direct Line on the speed they would get damaged cars back on the road after an accident. Their theory was that because they didn’t supply courtesy cars they would ‘bend over backwards’ to get the cars back on the road. Some of these body shops worked 24 hour shifts to help speed up the process.
On the basis of the price of my car insurance quote, the professionalism of the UK call centre & the cover offered I would recommend Direct Line.
Well-written,informative and opinionated review..thanks.
frasersmum123 12.06.2009 16:40
I am a Direct Line custome too and when I had to make a claim recently they were helpful and friendly - everything was dealt with quite quickly too. I dont use comparison websites mainly becuase I dont believe they are as impartial as they say. Good review :)