How to insure an old car -- for a new driver
Getting older means doing all those things you thought you never would. In my case, buying a washing machine (wasn’t the launderette good enough?), burying my parents (whom I’d assumed would live for ever), and now buying another car – for the kids to learn to drive.
When they were small, we lived in a street where occasionally the middle-class mums and dads would do just that. You would spot them driving up with a brand new – probably bright yellow,, or other youthfu colour -- VW Golf late at night (the Golf is/was your average mum and dad’s dream of a “safe car”), then decorating it with ribbons, etc. In the morning Cressida (vel sim) would emerge from the front door, affect astonishment, kiss mum and dad …and drive off.
Never would that be us, we said.
Well it hasn’t been, quite. We haven’t done the brand new thing, nor the ribbon thing, But having discovered how much it would cost to insure our new-ish Corsa for a 20 year old male learner, we thought that the second car idea might me cheaper.
Maybe it has been….
But, all the same. insuring a seven-year-old, 1200 cc, un-sexy car we bought for under £3000 for a male learner aged 20 and a female learner aged 22 and a safe middle-aged lady professor hasn’t been cheap, or hassle free.
I started by ringing the AA, who gave me by phone a quote of £1600 fully comprehensive. More than I fancied paying, and more than half the value of the car. Everyone (even the AA, when I demurred a bit) says, go on the web to get a quote, as there are great discounts. Which is what I did.
Frankly it didn’t seem to me worth the hassle or the time. Leaving aside the number of times the whole thing crashes and you have to start all over again, the questions the websites ask you never quite match the answers you have to give them. Claims within the last five years? Yes, I was bumped in a car-park a few years ago, but I cant exactly remember when or what the cost was. So do you just invent it? Well no, because of all the obvious consequences, and threatening notices about “incorrect information”. So what?
All the same, I persevered for a little with a variety of companies, and came up with yet more Mickey Mouse figures . . . £3600 from the Co-op (who, I had been told, were good for young drivers -- maybe I entered something wrong). So, a couple of hours of surfing later, I went back to the AA, this time on the website (to qualify for the on-line discount as the phone operator had recommended) and got a figure of £1200-ish for third party, fire and theft.
At this point, it told me that I could phone to close the deal if I didn’t want to pay on-line. Feeling exhausted, I decided to do this the next day. But the AA wasn’t having any of that. They rang almost straight back and left a message on the answer machine. I returned the call as instructed, told them not to ring again as I would call the following day. This didn’t stop a few more phone messages urging me to sign up.
The next day I did exactly that, by phone (having ascertained that removing the entirely inexperienced 22 year-old female would only bring the price down by £100 -- which tells you something about the perceived risk factor of young men). But the web office of the AA didn’t quite catch up with the payment, and have since e-mailed me more than eight times, reminding me of their marvellous offer.
I don’t know how much money they think they might make out of me. But my advice for anyone else doing this is: don’t waste time on the web, and don’t leave them an electronic footprint -- do it all by phone.