Last year, I took out breakdown cover for my car with The AA. It was running a special offer for new members and I paid about £100 for Roadside, Home Start and Relay cover (e.g. they will come out to you at home or on the road and will recover your car and get you home if they can’t fix it at the roadside).
The other day, my renewal documents came in the post. My renewal was £163 – for the same cover. The reason for this is that renewal prices are calculated on The AA’s standard rates, not discounted rates.
Given that I could get the same cover for £89 from Tesco Breakdown and that Tesco cover is provided by the RAC, I decided to cancel my AA membership. When I got through on the phone, I politely explained the problem and the nice lady I spoke to asked me if I would be interested in staying with The AA if she could give me a better deal…
“How much better?”, I said.
The answer was just £85 for the same cover – just over half the original renewal quote, and by a strange coincidence, just below the Tesco price, which I had not mentioned.
The lady I spoke to at The AA said that this discount was because I had not claimed in the past year – but I suspect the reality is that it was a discount aimed at keeping me as a customer. If it was a genuine no claims discount (as with car insurance), then surely it would have been included in my breakdown renewal quote?
I am sure that it is not just The AA that does this. The thing is that I was signed up to pay by recurring credit card payment – so my renewal fee would have been taken automatically from my card had I not done anything and left it too late to cancel.
The moral of the story is that there are discounts available on breakdown cover renewals if you ask, especially if you haven’t claimed. I don’t really like haggling, but when the difference in price is this large, I can’t afford not to.
(Incidentally, I once used the same tactic when renewing my car insurance and managed to get an additional discount there, too.)