What a marvellous invention the calendar was. With it we have a number of annual things to celebrate – Christmas, Birthdays, Bank Holidays, Valentines Days, FA Cup Finals, Visits to the Dentist, Camera’s up the **** (just don’t even get me started on that subject… yet), and Car Insurance. Hang on, I lost the plot a bit there didn’t I. Not all those things are welcomed.
I’ll spare you the ‘Nobody loves me’ routine, the ‘No Liverpool in the Cup Final again’, the ‘I’m afraid that tooth has to come out Mr Steak’ and the ‘This won’t hurt a bit’ stories as well. However, the Car Insurance tale of woe just has to be told.
Thanks to my little topic on fuel tax, and a previous rant on motorway driving, you get the idea that I like cars. Well, I used to love driving. Fast and a tad irresponsibly, if truth be told. However, I’m all growed up now, and a nice, considerate driver.
Now at the age of 21, I had a turbo charged hot hatch which was reputedly the UK’s third most stolen car. Four years later I had a turbo-charged saloon that was the UK’s second most stolen car. The words car alarm, Thatcham and hefty premium were never far from my mind. Before the turbos I had a fuel-injected Cavalier which, in those days, was a quick motor. My point is for eight years I had high-risk cars, and all the time I was under 25 and classified a high-risk driver. Now I still drive a turbo, a turbo DIESEL. I’m two years off thirty (and death, if the reports are true) and I have a monstrous eight years no claims bonus. My car is fitted with a top class alarm and never sees more miles than 10k a year.
To insure this pristine example of economic motoring is more hassle than the bloody sports cars. At 24, with a 300bhp modified Cosworth I had people throwing themselves at my size nines to give me good policies. Not £3,000 a year either, the most I paid was £900. The last year I had the Cossie I paid £550. And that was fully comprehensive.
This year I have been quoted up to £615 for the diesel. A diesel for goodness sake, it isn’t powerful enough to pull an OAP out of bed. One phone quoter said to me it was a higher risk because it had a turbo – oh I see, bolt a hairdryer on and I can dump a Ferrari off the lights, can I?
Perhaps I’m classified with the 300 mph rocket-fuelled builders vans that menace XJ 220’s down the fast lane? Is it because I’m under 75? No, it’s purely because 24-year-olds driving Cosworths are having the odd prang, speeding fine and theft claims. That’s an excuse to sting everyone who owns an insurable vehicle.
I shopped around again this year, ringing 20 insurers and I can tell you I am pissed off at answering ‘lifestyle questions that may reduce your premium’. I want to insure my car, not my alcohol, cigarette or house buying addictions. My car is as dull as ditchwater, it has no spoilers, no fancy wheels or speed enhancing badges either. And I know my call is important, I’m sure the next available person will answer my call, and I’m pretty sure every effort is being made to get to me quickly, but it doesn’t stop me hating the bloody musical interludes thrust upon me. (Although one insurer plays 80s classics all day long – I know this because I spent hours in their calling queue).
At times like this, when my head is spinning and my wallet is lighter, I can almost appreciate the virtues of a Vespa. Well, almost.