I needed to renew my car insurance and this is always a good bit of work. Since I made some significant savings a few years ago, I always compare as many as possible insurances every year to see if there is a better offer somewhere.

Last year I didn’t change the insurer, but this year it went a little different. My car is a Mazda with 1.8l and it is 9 years old. I have a full no claims bonus and have my drivers license since I was 18 so for quite a long time. I also am driving in Ireland for many many years, BUT I still have a German drivers license and annoyingly I was caught in last May speeding! Yes, I did drive 6km (!!) faster than allowed and got 3 very very annoying penalty points.

This is the framework and the points and the German license do make things a little less smooth.

The saga started with AIG (last year’s insurer sending me a renewal offer for EUR 780. Not too bad I thought. A few days later they rang me and asked me if I was interested in renewing, so I said I was but hadn’t decided yet. The guy suggested that he will check if there is anything better than EUR 780 he can do and off he went with all his questions. But suddenly we hit a hurdle: He asked me if I had an Irish drivers license and I said that I still (as for the last four years I was insured with them) had my German license. He claims that that was never on their system (which is rubbish) and he would have to recalculate the price. After a few moments he told me that instead of EUR 780, now the best offer was EUR 1040! Wow! Not having had any accident for many years but having a German insurance suddenly increased my risk by nearly EUR 300? How can that happen? He claimed it is because I got my license driving on the other side of the road. But the fact that I am driving nearly longer on the (wrong ;-) ) Irish side of the road than on the German side didn’t impress at all. Well, there was no going back! AIG was not to be my trusted partner in the future, so I started comparing in earnest and I found VERY interesting things.

I found, for example, that Liberty Insurance is TOTALLY incompetent (or alternatively very greedy OR all the other insurances are the incompetent ones). Why? Well, the insurance cost is meant to be calculated based on the risk that you pose to the insurance and you would expect more or less the same price from EVERY insurance, because it can’t be that you are VERY risky for one and not at all risky for the other insurance. But Liberty seems to live on a different planet then the others. They calculated the cost as EUR 1667 !! Wow! That is even more than AIG wanted after the “change”.

Well, since most others quoted around EUR 780-950, I new that AIG and certainly Liberty were completely mad. (HOW can Liberty get any customers with prices like that???)

I also found out that the insurance quote comparison sites are NOT much use. Chill and Sheridan and Compare Insurance all quoted higher prices than I could get elsewhere. So don’t rely on the quality of the comparisons.

AXA was also madly expensive at EUR 1263. Another outlier.

The lowest quotes I got at first from 123.ie and Aviva and I nearly had decided for 123.ie, but then I remembered that I had forgotten to check with Allianz directly. In the past Allianz was always too expensive and I had already received Allianz quotes this time through the price comparison sites. (Compare Insurance quote EUR 993 and Sheridan quoted 853 – How can there be such a difference for the same insurance for the same conditions??? 140 Euro!?)

But then I rang Allianz and I got SOME surprise! They only quoted EUR 604!! That was by FAR the lowest price (but how can it be so much lower than the Allianz price that Sheridan and Compare Insurance quoted???). And compare this to the mad Liberty Insurance once more?!

So, you can guess who I signed the contract with!?

Now, my parameters are different than yours and therefore you could have a completely different result. So I am not saying that you will get the lowest or the highest quote from the same insurances I mention here. But what I am saying is that the work that you have to put into comparing can easily be worth your time! EUR 400 less than the AIG quote? I am happy to compare prices for 2 or 3 hours for that.

So, COMPARE COMPARE COMPARE and do NOT trust ANYBODY in this business. I think they ALL have no clue!