Quote me unhappy

You learn something new every day. Yesterday, I learnt that from an insurance point of view, being a named driver on your partner’s policy is utterly useless.

The very short version: in September 2004, I had a seven-year no claims discount with Esure. No claims discounts are important, especially if you’re a hack – the classification “journalist” includes fearless types who cover big scary things and who are therefore high risk, and there’s no sub-class for “unshaven tech hack who blathers about iPods from the comfort of his dressing gown and doesn’t leave the house for days at a time”.

Anyway. Two years and two weeks ago, we replaced the car. The new one was in my wife’s name, so I became a named driver on her (Esure) insurance. That’s a pain in the arse, though – I deal with car stuff, usually, and if the car’s in your partner’s name then no firm will talk to you because you’re not the policyholder – so the Saab’s registered to me.

You’d think that, as I’m currently insured with Esure and was with Esure with my last car, I’d get a decent no claims discount. Nope. The problem is Esure’s 2-year time limit, I was told. Had we changed the car last month, I’d have got a full seven-year NCD. Because I’m two weeks late, I don’t even get a bit of paper with “piss off” written on it.

Direct Line’s running ads at the moment which trumpet its love of named drivers, so I called them. The love of named drivers only applies if you’re a named driver on a Direct Line policy. Arse. And other insurers don’t love named drivers either. Double arse.

In the end, I called Norwich Union. Named driver? No bother. They can’t give me the full discount, but they’ll give me five years – and allow me to protect it, so a prang won’t wipe it out altogether. And they were cheaper than Esure.

As much as I loathe the “quote me happy” ads, they did indeed quote me happy. Or at least, as happy as you can get when you’re dealing with bloody insurance.