Thursday, June 20, 2024

It’s game over after Axa raised my home insurance price by 70%

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I have been a customer with Axa home insurance for nearly 10 years and have never made a claim. Every year, when the policy comes up for renewal, Axa plays a game with me: it sends a renewal invitation with a substantially increased price of about 20%. I then call in and we agree a sensible price in line with inflation. This year, however, it seems to want to play hard ball: the renewal quote is a staggering 70% higher, and, when I called, it said the best offer would be an increase of 53%.

It argues this is to do with inflation (though according to the ONS sectors with the highest rates of inflation, apart from alcohol and tobacco, didn’t show more than 6%). I don’t want to spend time shopping around every year. I just want hassle-free insurance at a reasonable price. I have raised a complaint with Axa, but its turnaround is 30 days, after the policy renews.
CB, London

Loyalty does not pay, as any insurance customer will attest. Companies fund eye-catching deals to tempt new custom with eye-watering price increases for those already reeled in.

This year every household is in for a nasty shock as premiums have soared above inflation across the board. But your rise is in a league of its own. According to Comparethemarket, home insurance premiums were 31% higher in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2023. In London the average rise is 36% with extreme weather, rising crime and increased repair costs cited.

Axa tells me that supply chain disruption and skills shortages are also to blame. “We consider a huge range of factors to assess specific risks,” it says. “Even if there have been no changes or claims from the policyholder, we may consider certain risks to be higher than previous years and rate them accordingly.”

It claims it absorbs extra costs as much as possible and prioritises the “evolving needs” of customers who are strapped for cash. The clue is in its parting remark that renewal notices are sent 21-25 days in advance to allow customers to obtain quotes from rival providers. Axa, it seems, no longer values your custom. I’m afraid, unless you feel the relationship is priceless, you are going to have to seek a better quote.

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