Word on a Whim

Car Insurance Employment Status

I was made redundant in the spring.  It wasn’t a surprise; it was a planned closure of the firm I worked for. This week, when my car insurance came up for renewal, I phoned the insurance company to update them with the change of details. Since I’m no longer commuting a hundred miles each day, I expected the policy price to be reduced.  Instead, it went up!

“I know, it’s bananas isn’t it,” said the guy on the phone.  He explained that my change of employment status to unemployed had caused the increase.  WTF?!  What exactly are the connotations of unemployment that would trigger an increase when my annual mileage has reduced from twenty-five thousand miles to five thousand?  I decided to try elsewhere.

I found a better deal on a comparison website, but couldn’t select “commuting” as I’d selected “unemployed”.  Bloody computers!  I was also miffed because the no claims discount was dependent on the renewal notice, and the previous insurer didn’t care beyond ten years so that’s what their renewal schedule said, despite me joining them a couple of years ago with far more years’ no claims.  Grrrr!

Too much time to think, I guess, but I ended up phoning the new company to ask if I could add commuting, in case I forget to do it when I get a job, and also to check that it wouldn’t massively raise the price.

Several layers of call vectoring and twenty minutes of crap music later, a real person answered the phone. (I wasn’t sure at first, these robots are getting good at impersonation!)  I asked the lady to add “commuting” and the price went up a little. Then, I asked her to change my employment status from “unemployed” to “housewife”, explaining that I’m not claiming benefits – just taking some time out, and the price came down a few quid lower than if I was unemployed and not commuting. Confused.com? I am now!

What exactly is a “housewife” and why are they less of a car insurance liability than someone who is “unemployed”?  I imagine many housewives are busy ferrying children to various activities; doing the school run at peak times; trying to park in spaces too small; popping to the supermarket on the way home, and then taking the dog to the vet. Meanwhile, the unemployed person is sitting in the house browsing jobs on the internet … and paying more for their car insurance at a time when they could really do with paying less :-/

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