Car and home insurance haggling
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Haggling is a great powerhouse tool when you're looking to renew your insurance with your existing provider. But it's best to always combine it with looking at comparison sites – then you can benchmark a price to haggle with, but also have something cheap to switch to if your insurer doesn't play ball.
Some inspiration before you start - 'I saved £540 by haggling'
In our most recent poll, in November 2020, hagglers revealed 70%+ success rates with the AA, Admiral, Direct Line and Hastings Direct in a bid to cut their insurance premiums. (For who else this works well on, see our full list of the top service companies to haggle with.)
Here are some success stories of MoneySavers who've slashed their insurance bills by haggling to inspire you...
Got my car insurance down to under £35 a month for me and my husband by doing a couple of online price comparisons then calling to haggle. My insurance last year was £55 per month and my renewal quote was over £80! It pays to put the time in, saved £540! Jess by email
My car insurance was due for renewal and my current insurer Swinton quoted £400 at first, but when I said it seemed too high they immediately offered it for £100 less! But I got it from Saga for just £151. Pays to shop around! Harry by email
Managed to get my £215 renewal reduced to £149. Told her my circumstances, can't afford the increase & reduced it without changing the cover or the benefits at all! Corriene by email
Thanks for prompting me to haggle for cheaper car insurance. Been with the AA for three years, they quoted £300. Tried a comparison site and Saga’s was £282. But Nationwide, who I bank with, quoted £224 and I got a £50 voucher so I’ve made a saving of £76. Sue by email
Once I had my renewal details, I checked comparison sites and then phoned my car insurer as I was quoted less online. It matched the quote, reduced it by £10, offered me free extras for the lifetime of the policy. In less than an hour I had a great deal and saved myself £340! Roz by email
12 top haggling tips
If you're willing to take the haggle challenge then you could beat a price hike. Here are our top 12 tips to haggle with your insurance provider. For more, see our Haggling with Service Providers guide.
It's all about timing
Haggling works best when you're near or at your policy's renewal date. This is when they know they can lose your custom. There's no harm in giving it a try when you're not. If you struggle, diarise when you're nearing the end.
Benchmark the best deal
It's vital to have the factual arsenal before you begin to haggle. Research the deals, discounts and cashback that your insurer and its competitors are offering to act as a basis for negotiation.
You can often halve the price of your premium by switching providers but once you've found your best price, always ask your existing provider if it'll match it. Our Home and Car Insurance guides have full cost cutting systems to show you how.
Ask for the retention department
If you're coming up to your renewal date of your policy, then you're wielding a powerhouse weapon: customer loyalty. Call your insurer, or see if it has an online chat, and tell it you're going to leave. You should be put through to the 'customer retentions' department – aka the Holy Grail of haggling.
None of the major insurance companies say they have a direct line to the 'customer retentions' department – aka the Holy Grail of haggling.
Here are a few examples of the best numbers to speak to someone about leaving. The AA's is 0343 316 4444 (option 4, 1, 1 for car and 4, 1, 2 for home), Aviva's is 0345 030 7077 (option 1, 3 for car, and 2, 3 for home) and Direct Line's is 0345 246 3761 (option 1, 2, 1) for car and for home it's 0345 246 3564 and option 2, 1.
Use charm, chutzpah, cheek and a smile
Aggression or anger will just put its back up. You're asking for a discount, and it's just as much within its right not to give it to you, as you are to leave. Aim for polite, firm and non-combative.
Use the phrases that pay
You may find the insurance service rep will only offer a small discount at first, but if you don't agree with the price use phrases like:
- I've worked out my budget, and my absolute max is £[insert price here]/month
- [Insert competitor] can do it for less...
- I need to think about it...
- I think my husband/wife/parrot will go bonkers if I pay that...
- It's still a lot of money...
- What's the very best you can do?
Don't panic if they call your bluff
Some people worry and get nervous to try this in case they're discovered. The easy 'get out of jail free' card on this is the phrase: "Hold on, I'll call you back on that. I'd like to check with my wife/husband/cat/Aunt Fanny first."
Problems mean discounts
If you've had issues with your insurer in the past - slow to pay out or long customer call waiting times, for example, then politely remind it of this when you haggle. It should want to try to make it up to you.
Don't say yes to the first offer
You should never go with the first offer. Chances are, it's not the best deal it can do. Remember, be firm.
Don't fill the silence
It may push you to agree because it's a 'limited-time offer', don't feel pressured into agreeing to the new price or deal unless you're certain. As negotiations come to a close, a classic salesman technique is to stay silent. The salesman wants you to feel awkward and fill the silence. Make them fill it with a cheaper offer.
Ask for freebies such as legal cover
If it won't slash the price, see if it can include any extras, such as free windscreen or legal cover.
If you fail – try, try and try again
While unconfirmed, we hear rumours that different staff members have different quotas of how many deals they can do. Even if not true, it feels like that to many. So you may have called the wrong person at the wrong time.
Calling back a few days later and speaking to someone else may pay dividends and in the meantime, they may even call you back with a better deal.
Haggling's great – but it's not the only trick in the book
Haggling on car and home insurance is far better than just auto-renewing – your insurer will often beat its own original renewal price.
Yet this is one area where you should never just haggle and nothing else. It's far better to use comparison sites to find the best price, check for hidden cashback and then use that final figure as the benchmark to haggle with your existing provider.
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