Loyalty doesn't pay for car insurance policyholdersExisting customers hit with high phone charges

26 September 2011

Calls to insurers can prove costly

Existing policyholders can pay more than new customers

Loyal car insurance policyholders are more likely to pay for phone calls to their provider while new customers face no charge, a new Which? investigation has found. 

Of 30 major car insurers investigated, Which? found that 23 offer an 0800 freephone number (for landline calls) to potential new customers but under a quarter offered this benefit to existing policyholders who call to make a claim. Only 10 insurers offered a freephone number for existing customers who wanted to renew their policies, with the remaining 20 providers charging their customers for their loyalty.

No free-phone numbers for car insurance

Almost all of the car insurers not offering a freephone number for existing customers require policyholders to call usually fee charging 0844 or 0845 numbers. Insurers who fall into this category include Aviva, Elephant.co.uk and Churchill. Admiral, Direct Line and Tesco Bank are among those companies that use an 0844 or 0845 number for new and existing customers. 

Some 08 numbers can be included in home phone packages but calls made from mobiles are invariably not, costing 40p a minute or more. Our investigation revealed that seven of the 30 insurers offer a freephone 0800 number for all customers, including Which? Recommended Providers’ 50Plus Insurance, LV= and NFU Mutual.

Which? to monitor industry review of phone numbers

Which? phone industry expert Catherine West said: 'The world of non-geographic phone numbers and what it costs to call them is a murky one. Ofcom is currently reviewing this area, and we'll keep a close eye on the result to ensure things are made clearer.'

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