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It all began in November 2010 when my boyfriends car insurance renewal quote came through and i’m sure we are all the same see there is a huge rise and start to shop around. Which we did as the £250 extra just could not be justified. First thing I did was go to the money supermarket website and set about entering all his details first of all quite a few quotes came through at a medioca price and then I added myself to his insurance a careful, glamorous lady driver with no badies on my license (well not from the last 5 years anyway) and a lot more came through and this time at some reasonable prices. The cheapest on the list came up as RSA Echoice at £606.24 with the next being SwiftCover at £682.97 and AXA at £963.82 it seemed like a no brainer but I wasn’t sure I had never heard of this echoice thing so I set about looking for reviews etc (or as I always think bad feedback so I am right to think cheap isn’t always best) but I couldn’t find anything at all so I went on to the moneysaving expert website and posted on their board and everyone on there pretty much said they are part of The Royal Sun Alliance and they had been around forever etc and shouldn’t have any problems with them. One think I would advise not to do is post a message on moneysaving expert like this again as it was very unspecific and I went on the advise of people who knew nothing just like me but trying to give them the benefit of the doubt I took them up on their offer of car insurance for £606.24. Well £636.24 as we took the optional windscreen cover as we have had 2 windscreens replaced in the past 3 years due to stones cracking the window and having a crack from one side of the windscreen to the middle on 2 different cars so it just wasn’t worth quibbling over the £30.
WHAT RSA ECHOICE CLAIM They state on their website that the company was founded in 1710! and they have provided car insurance for the past 300 years so you can rest assured that the heritage adds strength to the policy (well that and the hope that no one ever hits you and you just have the plain sailing of never having to claim like with most insurers) They say they save you time, money, offer 24/7 online service and customise policies just for you. Well I can safely say they saved us money at the time but the other two points are sorely wrong as you are about to find out.
THE WEBSITE The website they offer is very straightforward and it seems you can do everything on the without having to contact their call centre which they tell you to do they also make charges for everything higher if you need to use the call centre as they are running the insurance as an online facility. The website allows you to look at and print your car insurance policy at anytime it also gives you all the fees, terms and conditions etc in an easy to read format. The website is basically all you need for a straight forward policy but lets face it what is straight forward these days. The main page shows you how to get a quote, how to retrieve a quote and how to login if you an existing policyholder. Any legal information, contact details and security information you many ever need is clearly accessible and gives you peace of mind that they have nothing to hide everything seems to be in black in white or should I say shades of grey ??
TAKING OUT THE POLICY To get an insurance quote you cannot ask for an easier form it is one page long and asks for your basic details name, address, dob etc it then goes on to ask your occupation, how long you have had your license and where it will be kept. You are then asked to type in your car registration then all your car details are shown. You are also asked things like how much mileage you do, if you have any other cars and have you made any claims or had any accidents etc It is very self explanatory and takes a couple of minutes unlike some forms I have come across. You are then nearly done you have options of adding extras and deciding whether you pay upfront or 29.55% apr for paying monthly. You are then done. Taking out the policy is cheap and easy but that is where it ends I think the reason they offer such a good price as they bang on the extra charges for things people normally and obviously wrongly think are included. They also have you locked into the policy if you need to make changes at a later date unless you pay the cancellation fee but if you don’t you are stuck with the amendment fees so a real win win for the customer lol
ADDING EXTRAS The extras you can take out on the policy are always a bit of a minefield for me and I never know whether I need them or not but they do break them down simply on the website and the way in which they are worded you think you would like them all there is ·Windscreen cover – Repairs windscreens for £20 excess and £85 for a new windscreen on top of the extra you pay to have the cover. ·Breakdown cover – Covers a maximum of 5 breakdowns at your home or on the road ·Travel accident plan – If you die in a serious accident involving a car, boat, plane or train your family get £40,000 ·Legal – This is something I thought was included in insurance but clearly not it if you want them to cover legal expenses incurred to try and recover any uninsured losses but only if they think you will succeed in court if not forget they aren’t paying out! ·Personal Items – To cover any property in the car locked away unless it’s a sat nav because these aint included hahaha what a joke ·Temporary Hire car - The hire of a Nissan Micra if your car is stolen or is in repairs from a claim ·In car entertainment – Any audio equipment permanently fitted to the car can be insured. ·Emergency care – if you need emergency medical treatment (only up to £200) or an emergency overnight stay (I’m always having those) then you will be covered for these oh and if someone steals your keys but not if you lose them.
The fee is different for every car for some reason but a lot of them were quite excessive considering you will probably not need to use them.
MAKING CHANGES God forbid if you need to make any changes you will be charged £10 if you do this yourself over the Internet and £25 if you need to call the call centre to get them to do it. Be warned though not all changes they say you can make online can be made and you are forced to call the call centre which I think is very wrong. The things you are meant to be able to change online are change of name and address, change of driver details, changing of overnight location, change of use and change of car. The things you need to call about are duplicate document issue, change of payment details, changing excess, temporary additional driver, temporarily additional car, foreign use and change of cover details. The only freebie your going to get is if you want to add extra cover details well that’s good of them because I am surprised you don’t get a charge for that too as you do everything else. I also wonder how the can justify £25.00 to do half of these things but who am I to ask i'm only a customer.
CANCELLATIONS The cancellation fees varies to the amount of insurance premium you are paying and it does make me laugh it is £50.00 up to £300 premium and £70.00 from £300.01 - £700.00 and also £70 for £700.01 upwards so you can bet your life your cancellation fee is going to be a surprisingly £70.00 Provided you haven’t made a claim on anything other than windscreen insurance or breakdown cover because if you have you can forget getting any money back if you have paid upfront and you will have to continue your payments if you pay monthly. I never agree with cancellation charges as I think they are a ludicrous way of locking you into a contract but at least you could break free from them if you need to. The part I do not agree to is that if you cancel within 14 days you have to pay a £25.00 cancellation charge which I have never heard of with any other insurer.
MY EXPERIENCE WHEN THINGS WENT WRONG The insurance policy was taken out on Wednesday 24th November 2010, which went smoothly we took out the policy and paid the premium upfront as not to incur any other interest charges along the way. On the 5th of January my boyfriend decides to change his name not light heartedly to something like K Dogg or anything bizarre like that just a normal surname change due to family issues. We managed to sort changes out everywhere free of charge with the DVLA, bill companies, mortgage companies, bank etc and had no problems whatsoever. We were quite surprised as you normally encounter problems somewhere along the line but things seemed to be going very smoothly until we rang RSA Echoice and told them of the name change and we were told to pop a name change deed in the post and everything would be sorted phewwww ohhh no on the 9th of February we receive an email advising us that they have our name change deed and we need to call them to discuss this (but that’s what we did in the first place!) So here we go again ringing 0844 854 8855 number again at our cost again to be told the charge would be £25.00 so my boyfriend said he wasn’t prepared to pay this as we were told just to send document and everything would be sorted no charge or anything was discussed. The man on the line just said ok and they finished the call! I went berserk telling my boyfriend we were probably not insured and why didn’t he sort it out properly and not just allow them to finish the call. I set about the website and saw the cost of £10 to change online or £25 to change over the phone which I wasn’t very pleased about as we were first not told of any charges but here it was in black and white so I got on the email and wrote them a strongly worded letter on the matter as to which I received the same response to ring them again on the 0844 number! I refused and told them now they need to ring me which they did 2 days later and spoke to my boyfriend (who is rubbish on the phone to ay the least) they fobbed him off that we had to pay the charges nothing we could do end of! By this time I was fuming but just wanted the car to be insured so I went online and tried to change the name but it was greyed out so I couldn’t do it. The email writing skills came in again and yet again we received the same response ring again blah blah by this time I was seething with all these silly emails they kept sending me surely they could have changed it but no this went on for 2 months !!! Because they kept delaying the response period it got to the point where I threatened them with legal action as we were taking steps to do this properly and they kept putting up walls to stop us. In the end we rang them up and said right enough is enough you cannot change the details online tit says you can, you say you can but you cant so please show me how we can! The simple answer she gave back was that you cant! She had since looked into it and they had misinformed us and we in fact now had to pay £25, as they don’t allow it to be done online as we could be changing the whole policy and car ownership, which isn’t allowed. I think you can imagine the size of my about to explode head now it had been going on all this time we had repeatedly been misinformed which they admitted and they still were charging us £25! Unreal! In the end I demanded a supervisor who just said sorry we misinformed you but we need to pay up so I pointed him in the direction of the website where it states name / address change £10 ONLINE and also to the sentence we strive to sort out any problems within 24 hours more like 24 months! The supervisor came back to the phone apologised and did the name change for free and we received the new policy document 2 days later I could not believe it so much stress fir such a little thing the dilemma began on the 5th of January and finished on the 7th of April. I have not had to make a claim with them (touch wood) so I cannot comment any further but if this is the sort of service they offer take from what you will and I can certainly say I will not be renewing with them this year it has been an absolute nightmare for no reason. RSA Echoice sort it out !!!
Excellent review. Makes me glad I am insured by a more trustworthy company. But having said that, given a chance any insurance company will always try and squeeze the maximum amount of money from clients, even my insurance company does - but not like RSA
Graygirl 10.05.2011 22:25
An excellent review, and a salutary lesson to anyone dealing with insurance companies. I consider myself warned!
Coloneljohn 06.05.2011 10:40
An excellent review. So will you be renewing with them? John