When reader Jean, a retired teacher from London, opened her latest home insurance renewal letter, she was so excited she danced a little.
The letter said: Your insurance cost £303.25 last year. This year your price is £145.89.
Jean expected her bonuses to go up. After all, they have been up every year for as long as she can remember. So she was shocked—and thrilled—when the price was below half the price this year.
Her lower premium seems especially fortunate given what many other readers are experiencing.
Group Wealth and Personal Finance editor Jeff Prestridge investigated the latest wave of premium increases through these pages and Money Mail. Dozens of readers have written to share their experiences.
Safe at Home: Jean’s lower premium seems especially fortunate given what many other readers are experiencing.
As Jeff discovered, while not everyone has to deal with rising premiums, many of you have seen price increases of 30% or more. One home cover buyer told Jeff he was getting 76% more citations than last year, though he made no changes or claims.
The raise is a kick in the teeth for loyal insurance company customers, many of whom can struggle to pay them when budgets are already overwhelmed.
Jean was curious to know why her insurance premium had plummeted and was tempted to ask her insurance company about it. But she was afraid that they would turn around and say: yes, you are right, this drop is too much, now you mentioned it – and they will immediately change their minds. So instead she contacted me to get an answer.
I asked her if there were any changes from last year that could explain the reduction. “I just celebrated my 80th birthday,” she said. “But that can’t be why, can it?”
I asked the price comparison site MoneySupermarket to do the math, and I think Gene might be on to something.
Home insurance prices for those under 80 reached an average of £157 last month, while those over 80 were quoted at just £131.
People aged 35 to 44 received the highest quotes at an average of £177 – more than a third more than people over 80.
MoneySupermarket has confirmed that customers often see their home insurance bills go down when they turn 80. It explains that premiums are calculated based on how risky the insurance company considers you to be, and that older customers are generally less likely to make claims — and make claims on insurance claims. less when they do.
I told Jin, who is tickled by this logic. She laughs: “Maybe they think that because I’m retired, I sit at home all day and I’m not likely to be robbed or not at home when the pipe bursts or something like that. However, nothing could be further from the truth.”
This is because Jin loves to go out and travel as much as possible. “Now, if only my travel insurance would drop the same as my home insurance,” she says. “That’s where I can save the best.”
I think this is a good example of why you should never do belay hiking. As insurance premiums are rising on average, it might be tempting to assume that your own bills are bound to increase.
But there are people who enjoy serious falls. If you’re not one of them, take a closer look at your insurer and ask them for a better deal.
Paying for parking is getting harder
Paying for parking used to be easy. Put the coins in the machine, press the green button, wait for the ticket to be printed.
But increasingly, it is not possible to pay with cash, and sometimes with a credit or debit card. Instead, you need to download an app, visit a website, or call an automated number.
Recently in Exeter, I saw a woman who almost burst into tears when she tried to pay for parking. She told me that she wanted to visit the cathedral but spent 20 minutes trying to pay with her smartphone and was close to giving up.
As Toby Wohln reveals, scammers are now taking advantage of these new hoops we have to go through to pay for parking by placing QR codes on parking machines that link to fake websites.
Fraudsters thrive where people are forced to use new technologies they don’t like. We must be careful when scanning QR codes at parking machines. But it would also be useful – for simplicity and security – if motorists could pay for parking in cash or by card.
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