May 2008: Provider quotes me lowest price in online search. Wahey, I think. I buy my insurance with them. I have worked in various capacities in companies during this time, whilst also being a student. Therefore I class both as student and laboratory analyst and have to pick whichever option best suits my employment at the time. I am a PhD student, but spend some of my time working for and paid by a pharmaceutical company, with appropriate risks.
October 2008: I move to another city into a different area. I update my details and insurance accordingly. The price goes down, but I am not refunded any difference. I shrug and presume this is how things go.
May 2009: I renew at the new lower price. Yay.
May 2010: Price goes down again with no claims bonus. Yay.
February 2011: Involved in a pileup when the person two cars in front of me cuts in too close, causing the person behind them to brake. I stop in time. The woman behind me does not. We sort the matter out between us, and I call to report the accident as is required by law. The woman on the phone refuses to listen to me asking her to register the accident but not open a claim and opens a claim. I give up trying to talk to her and register the accident directly with the insurance underwriter.
May 2011: Price of renewal suddenly shoots up by £300. I call to find out what is going on. Provider says claim has been left open. I sigh and ask them to close it. This does not alter price of renewal, provider claims all prices have gone up because of changes to law. This is true, but by £300?? I go to look for a cheaper renewal, find several £100 or more cheaper. I return to provider with this information. Asks me for information about myself, I give usual information. They tell me they had never heard of the companies that gave me the offers, and that because I can be considered even remotely a student, I am uninsurable by any provider they have, immediately cancel my policy (losing me 15 days of cover), and they are registering me as "uninsurable risk". Shocked, I say I will have to accept one of the other offers then and hang up. I accept the lowest offer from the other provider with immediate effect.
The other provider offers me cover from another underwriter who the previous company had told me I was "uninsurable" by. The exact same company. So, basically, the guy on the phone lied to me trying to scare me into renewing the policy with them. Luckily I had the other quotes and have no loss of insurance coverage. In future I will get new quotes and switch to new providers without speaking to the previous one, I think.