The Shameless Landlord Insurance Renewal Scam To Avoid

Landlord-Insurance-BTL-Renewal-Quote

Here we go again, ma’ Lords!

I was recently reacquainted with a very familiar crippling rage, and so help me God, I have no bloody intentions of taking a break from relapsing until everyone gets this memo, or the evil minds’ behind this ploy are slayed into oblivion.

Yup, I’m referring to the infamous and shameless BTL building insurance renewal scam, a ghastly situation that only seems to be getting worse as the money-grabbing corporate scum-bags are upping the ante! It’s an abhorrent predicament we all face, whether we want to realise it or not, and it’s an itchy scalp I’ve been publicly scratching for years.

This melodramatic tantrum is off the back of a recent experience, which was a stark reminder of why we should NEVER blindly accept insurance renewal quotes from our current provider, despite how tempting the offer on the table may seem, because the odds are firmly stacked against us of receiving an offer that remotely resembles reasonable!

Like clockwork, I received two annual “BTL building insurance renewal reminders” in my inbox last week. I curiously dived in, wondering how much of a schmuck my policy provider thought I was this year. The barometer being the amount they’ve increased my premium by for absolutely no reason whatsoever [other than diabolical gluttony].

*checks renewal quotes*

Yup, clearly they think I’m monstrously more of a schmuck than I was 12 months ago. Fuck you very much, too!

I’m confident I’d suffer from a hefty stroke if an insurance provider, whether it be a broker or the underwriters’ themselves, made the reasonable decision of rewarding loyal customers with a renewal quote cheaper than the previous year (or, at the very least, in line with inflation). Imagine that!

The situation is so depressing that I think most of us automatically expect an increase of some degree, and any other scenario would lead to unfamiliarity and discomfort.

I just received your renewal quote and it’s cheaper than the previous year’s. What kind of SICK & TWISTED mind game are you playing, sorcerer?

Is this policy even worth the paper it’s written on? Send me a real fucking quote, or I’ll take my business elsewhere!

They’ve got us right where they want us.

Obviously this isn’t a problem exclusive to landlord insurance, but rather most renewal based services (e.g. broadband, car insurance, utility services etc).

The sad reality is that most people STILL blindly, without question, accept exorbitant renewal quotes because of convenience. Ultimately, our negligence has created a market for insurers to legally shake us down, like we’re drug mules, with cocaine bullets rammed up our asses.

It’s gotta’ stop! We all need to fight this fight!

Alas, I’m an advocate of standing up against pure evil until it’s been drained of all life, so I won’t stop until THEY do!

I’ll never stop, then.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of surrendering on occasion – I allow them to tip my head back and force the swallow – but only when the increase is so minimal that it will cost more in time and effort to find an alternative. Regrettably, that certainly wasn’t the case this time…

The BTL building insurance scam in numbers

BTL Building Insurance Renewal Quotes
#Policy details2020 Cost2021 Renewal QuoteIncrease
Property
1
Policy details

  • 2 bedroom, Mid-terraced
  • Rebuild cost: £200,000
  • Legal expenses: included
  • Public liability: £5,000,000
2020 Cost
£136.44
2021 Renewal Quote
£179.11
Increase (in 1 year)
31%
Property
2
Policy details

  • 2 bedroom, Mid-terraced
  • Rebuild cost: £200,000
  • Legal expenses: included
  • Public liability: £5,000,000
2020 Cost
£136.44
2021 Renewal Quote
£199.70
Increase (in 1 year)
46%

*gasps for air* I can’t shitting breath!!

It’s worse than I ever imagined it could be.

How the hell can these fools justify an annual increase of 31%, let alone an unfathomable 46%, when I didn’t even make any claims?

Also, it’s worth noting that the properties are located in the same neighbourhood and share very similar characteristics, which is why in 2020 the policies cost exactly the same. But this year, the same provider made the strategic decision to increase one of them by a further 15% *blank stare*

How is this a thing? Did the crime rate across the road increase by 15%?

Obviously there’s no logical explanation for the quotes I received, and that’s precisely why I have no hesitation in calling this entire pantomime a shameless scam on anabolic horse steroids!

I mean, come on, 46% increase!! Are they off their rocker? [rhetorical question]

I know that, with all their might, they want me to be too lazy to fetch better deals! They want us all too be so disgustingly and obnoxiously bone-idle, that we continue to blindly accept whatever number they toss under our noses.

Yup, that’s not going to happen, not on my watch! No siree Bob.

While there was less than zero percent chance I was going to reach into my pocket and renew my policy with these shysters – they were dead to me – I was still compelled to contact them and partake in the haggling ritual, to determine how much they would lower the quote by, which in reality, is what the thieving bastards should have quoted me in the first place.

Every time I get a renewal quote (which has historically always been more than the previous year), regardless of whether it’s reasonable or not, I always contact the supplier to determine if it’s the best they can offer.

99% of the time they chisel off a significant amount.

Something to bear in mind is that the biggest cost for most insurance companies is customer acquisition, so it’s more beneficial for them to reduce their rate in order to keep your custom, rather than replacing your custom.

In short, my provider said they couldn’t reduce the cost of policy #1, but were willing to reduce policy #2 to match the cost of policy #1.

Thanks, buddy, but policy #1 & #2 should have always been the same, and the only reason the rate has been revised is because your algorithm was hoping it was dealing with a total gormless twit.

Either way, that’s still an outrageous 30% increase per property, and of course that had to be questioned.

I half expended to hear “trust me, bro, it’s a solid deal”. I ‘spose my expectations weren’t entirely far off, I quote:

… prices have increased by 30% across the industry

Dear lord, my biggest fear right now is that she doesn’t look as stupid as the load of old cobblers she’s trying to feed me.

Apparently BTL insurance policies became precious metals overnight.

Funny enough, but not surprisingly, the rebuttals to justify price hikes are almost always the same, either it’s brushed off as “inflation” or “on an industry level

It’s never about profit.

Why many landlords end up paying over the odds for insurance (and other junk)

  1. From a purely visual perspective, we’re talking about relatively small numbers; an increase from £136.44 to £179.11 may not seem that jarring on paper (’cause all landlords are filthy rich. What’s a few quid between property Barons?).

    However, when comparing the difference by a percentage, the brutal ravaging is unmistakable.

  2. The obvious (and as discussed), it’s easier for us to lay dead and accept renewals.
  3. The failure of cross-referencing the renewal quote with the previous years’ cost.

How much I ended up paying

Spoiler alert: I only needed one quote from a different supplier to confirm my suspicions, that the only thing that has increased across the board by 30% is my contempt for these ass-clowns, which I really didn’t think was humanly possible.

It absolutely is.

BTL Building Insurance Renewal Costs
#Policy details2020 Cost2021 Renewal CostIncrease
Property
1
Policy details

    Policy details

  • Provider: AXA
  • 2 bedroom, Mid-terraced
  • Rebuild cost: £200,000
  • Legal expenses: included
  • Public liability: £5,000,000
2020 Cost
136.44
2021 Renewal Cost
£139
1.8%
Property
2
Policy details

  • Provider: AXA
  • 2 bedroom, Mid-terraced
  • Rebuild cost: £200,000
  • Legal expenses: included
  • Public liability: £5,000,000
2020 Cost
136.44
2021 Renewal Cost
£139
1.8%

Better!

Actually, that’s cheaper than last year if the current 2’ish percent rate of inflation is taken into consideration.

I used QuoteSearcher to connect me with an insurance broker to provide quotes. I’ve successfully used and partnered with them for several years now, which is why I don’t hesitate in recommending them.

However, I don’t particularly care how or where you gather your quote(s) from as long as you’re connected with a reputable underwriter (do the usual due diligence) to ensure you’re being charged fairly, and that’s really what my recurring meltdown is all about.

Will you always get a better quote? Nope.

But it’s always worth finding out if you can.

Is the hassle worth it?

Yes.

It most definitely is, from both a financial and ethical standpoint.

First and foremost, it wasn’t much hassle at all, if any, really. At least, it didn’t feel like it was to me. To be honest, I think we all love to create reasons to justify negligence, and in this case, the task is often over exaggerated and wrongfully promoted to ‘a complete pain in the gonads‘.

I managed to pivot and rearrange my position in 25’ish mins, which included the following steps:

  • 6 mins – contacted former insurance broker to query their comical renewal rates
  • 4 mins – complete quotation form to retrieve quotes from a broker
  • 18 mins – after completing the form, with in 5 mins, I was contacted by an insurance advisor from Academy Insurance (I have no affiliation with these folk), to discuss and arrange the new policies.

I ended up saving approx. £80 on insurance in 25 mins. That equates to an hourly rate of £192.

Totally worth it!

Now, be a cupcake and tell yo’ mummy to fetch her prom dress, we going somewhere fancy-schmancy for dinner tonight.

Moral of the story: don’t be the schmuck THEY want you to be. Be the schmuck I want you to be.

I’m eager to hear your stories and experiences with insurance, and any tips you may have! Go for it!

Landlord out xoxo

36 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
AA person. 11th August, 2021 @ 07:11

You were lucky to achieve that in 25 minutes. I recently renewed my car insurance (I know not BTL property insurance, but the same "scammers" involved) After spending a total of 2 hours on the phone and a promise that I would save money, I ended up with a similar renewal quote. To add icing to the cake, a few days after renewal, got a nice email from the scamsters that they were threatening to cancel the policy as "I'd misquoted my No Claims Bonus". Of course, I had done no such thing, but they had to listen back to the recording of the telephone call - why not do that before making the false allegation? In the end I was vindicated, the error was on their part and they'd absorb "the extra £50 premium and admin charges" that their error incurred. Lesson learnt, don't do telephone quotes if it can be done online, where you control the data input.

As for the BTL insurance, we had an escape of water claim, so had to accept an increase in premiums earlier in the year.

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Lee 11th August, 2021 @ 07:18

I've used Axa for years. I can't recall them ever putting up their prices.

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Keith Jobson 11th August, 2021 @ 07:26

I like your work.

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Richard 11th August, 2021 @ 07:37

Try SAGIC (Salvation Army General Insurance Company). Good prices, no unreasonable renewal prices and profit goes to a good cause.

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Zane W 11th August, 2021 @ 08:07

The quote of my insurance this year just increased by 50%. Tried your link will see what happens ;)

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Bev Wallace 11th August, 2021 @ 08:25

I totally get where you're coming from. However, I always get all my insurance via TopCashback. My typical insurance is between £100 and £180 for my properties but by going through TopCashBack you get anything up to £90 cashback. Once I even had more cashback than the cost of the insurance! Kerching! On an average year I get £850 cashback- can't be bad!

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Mike 11th August, 2021 @ 08:35

When querying renewals for car, BTL or my own house insurance, in fact, most services that require renewals (broadband, utility suppliers and the rest).

The majority of the operatives I speak to inevitably tell me, when they can't offer a decent renewal quote and realise I'm not a brain dead moron (so stop lying), that "it's better to go elsewhere and get a new quote as it will be cheaper", followed by "I don't like/understand it either but it's the way they do business here".

One very nice 'advisor' from Churchill suggested I find two companies I like then switch between them so I can take advantage of the lower 'new business premiums' every year, she then told me what the quote would be if I was a new customer, 60% cheaper.

I now make it my policy to look for a new quote first, then call the old company and ask for a price match, if they say no I walk.

Mind you I had a very pleasant surprise last month when my wife's esure car insurance was renewed at a lower premium than last year, looks like they want to keep our business!

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Patrick 11th August, 2021 @ 08:37

Use cashback websites to get even more off (often very substantial for insurance products - I assume they bank on you staying with them for multiple years so willing to take the initial hit). I use topcashback. Can take months for the funds to appear in your account, but I've found that it works most of the time.

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Ron H-W 11th August, 2021 @ 08:52

Don't forget, folks, this applies also to insurance for:
* your home & contents;
* your car;
* landlord contents (if you rent flats not houses);
* building insurance for the block of flats - you should have some say in the matter!
* anything else you can think of!

TL named the new company - they probably deserve this bit of free publicity for (at the moment, at least) coming up with "sensible" figures.

At first I thought it unfortunate that TL didn't "name and shame" the company seeking 31% to 46% increases - but (according to "Which" magazine, and others) many such companies do this.

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Steve 11th August, 2021 @ 09:09

I use an old school broker (Midlands Insurance Brokers). They frequently change underwriters, and my premiums are fairly level over time. They are fairly restrictive on the types of tenants they cover and the types of buildings (I'm not sure but I suspect they won't find underwriters for HMOs for example) but this doesn't affect me. They will even send you to a specialist broker if they don't feel they can cope with the sort of property you've tried to insure.

All insurance premiums are ludicrously expensive for the actual expected value of claims, but the business is very heavily regulated which blocks disruption from new entrants to the market. Most sectors are cozy oligopolies extracting juicy economic rents from the likes of us!

If you can't beat them, maybe join them by selling a house and buying shares in Axa!

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John torpey 11th August, 2021 @ 09:47

Top advice

A Assume nothing
B. Believe no one
C. Check everything

Stay safe.

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Mr Credible 11th August, 2021 @ 10:01

I use a broker, and have a group policy to cover all of my properties,
as I didn't want to have to have this conversation every year about
all of the individual policies.
This year we had a massive increase, aledgedly because 1 of the properties
is in a high flood risk area from a stream approximately half a mile away,
down hill.
We had to point out that in the event of a flood sufficient to make the
front door step wet, the surrounding area would have to be under sufficient
water as to need the Roayal Navy to distribute food parcels to residents
relocated to tents on their roof tops. We got some considerable reduction.

As you say, we are easy targets, and need to check everything.
Keep up the good work.

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Emma 11th August, 2021 @ 10:08

I read somewhere that 21 days before the start date is the optimum time to buy a policy. Your current insurer won’t necessarily remind you that much in advance so you miss the window.

I initially looked at mine got distracted then went back to it on an insomniac night and the quote had gone down in the small hours. ( also find this to be the case booking a holiday once) Strangely buildings and contents were cheaper than buildings only too. £145 Aviva in this case, found through comparison sites then done through top cashback with £45 back on top (Worth checking Quidco too)

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 11th August, 2021 @ 10:11

Really appreciating and enjoying the comments. Keep your insights coming, people, it's all super useful.

I had no idea cashback deals/services were so popular among the community for insurance products. Definitely something I'm going to pay more attention to.

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Sean 11th August, 2021 @ 10:15

A couple of years ago one of my rentals had a fire (Fridge freezer went up in flames), since then all of my insurance premiums have gone through the roof (including my own home insurance) as you need to say "Yes" to the "Have you ever made a claim in the last 5 years". To start with, many of the insurance companies wouldn't even give me a quote. So for the next 3 years, I'll have to accept the renewal (or spend hours trying to find someone else to give me a quote).
As for car insurance, I've recently changed my car and althought there wasn't any cost for changing mid policy, my renewal which was for £194 was going to be £210. I said that that wasn't acceptable as I'd already done a quote online for the car (on their website) and it only came to £190. They transferred me to the "Retentions" department where the renewal cost suddenly came down to £185. What happened to the governments ruling that insurance companies had to treat existing customers the same as new customers?

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Toby 11th August, 2021 @ 12:56

Love your hillarious yet self-aware and knowledgable rants. Completely agree with you - however one observation..

You may need to consider that the first year premium is loss-making or unprofitable for the reason you stated regarding cost of customer acquisition. KNowing that convenience is the purchase behaviour, they lower the first year cost to acquire your business and then make their money over the next 3 year renewals.

Don't get me wrong, the whole model is wrong. But i hazard its downstream of consumer behaviour. If everyone switched, then initial premium would be at £150 and only rise by inflation

Just my 0.02p

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Smithy 11th August, 2021 @ 13:04

True story - about can insurance though - not property.

My gas man has got one of those big camper vans that they use for touring and family holidays. When he isn't using it - approx 48 weeks each year - it is parked up in a secure trailer park - high fences and 24hr security. His wife drives their Mondeo which they park on the road (no garage). One night, an arsonist walked down their road and set fire to a whole string of cars including theirs. He was caught - he had no link to any of the car owners (I think he was on drugs). They claimed on their motor insurance for the Mondeo.
Fast forward a few months - renewal of the camper van insurance and he had to declare the claim for the burnt out Mondeo. The premium for the camper van went up a ridiculous amount (can't recall the exact cost - it's very expensive to start with). He protested that the burnt out Mondeo was not at all their fault - a complete one-off. And his camper van is safely stored when not actually in use. All to no avail - he had to pay even though the two were completely different.

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Paul Barrett 11th August, 2021 @ 13:48

Yep LL the way to play the game is to not be apathetic.

Don't blame the insurance companies.

They hope to prosper out of consumer apathy which like it or not is endemic yet they all moan like you are.

It just means for EVERY insurance product you have to diarise that 21 day sweet spot before your insurance expires.

Ensure that when you obtain an insurance policy of any sort that you immediately CANCEL the automatic renewal debit.

You should ALWAYS use the two major cashback sites.
Get quotes from both sites.

Clear cookies to ensure the insurance companies don't recognize you have received quotes from.

As an example I received a renewal quote which seemed OK.

I then tried all the insurers on cashback websites.
I received a cheaper quote by literally a few £.
Did I take the renewal price?

Nope I allowed the policy to lapse with my newly obtained policy purchased 21 days before with the SAME company to commence the following day.
Oh! And I also will receive £35 cashback from Quidco.

Another example is a 3 contract for £16pcm Unlimited everything.
Received Quidco cashback of £52.

Reduces my actual monthly SIM cost to about £11.52pm.

To have cheaper insurance costs you just have to be a bit of an anorak and devote a bit of time on a lap top researching cheaper quotes.

Most insurers send renewals 1 month before insurance policy expiry.

The alternative to being an anorak is to be an apathetic consumer and be ripped off.

Choices; choices, decisions, decisions!!!!??

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Jennifer Surrey 11th August, 2021 @ 15:21

The worst insurance "nasty" was from Liverpool Victoria. 7years ago my elderly stepfather was quoted over £750 pounds for his car insurance renewal and asked me to" do my magic" ie get him a better deal. Funnily enough the best deal was from LV at £345 pounds. We snapped this up and then queried why his quote had been £405 pounds higher. The answer - If you read the small print at the end of the letter it does say you may get a better deal by telephoning.

This small print was so tiny I could not read it. This letter was sent to a 94 year old who was partially deaf!

Incidentally he had insured with them for over 35 years and had never had a claim.

I will not now take any sort of insurance with LV even if it is the cheapest.

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Zane W 11th August, 2021 @ 15:26

Any comments on Landlord's home emergency cover? Is it worth having it?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 11th August, 2021 @ 15:39

@Zane
I think it really depends on a case by case basis.

For example, if you never get any problems with a rental, then it doesn't make sense in my opinion. It's like using a letting agent management service when you live local to the property and also have perfectly good tenants. What's the point?

However, if you're frequently getting called out with recurring maintenance issues, then it might make sense.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 11th August, 2021 @ 15:48

@Toby

Many thanks, appreciate it :)

Yeah, that's a good point, and I do believe in loss-leader products, but I don't think that was the case this time round; this wasn't my first renewal with them (may have been my 2nd or 3rd year). Either way, asking for 30% more was too extreme.

I think society at large is coming consumer savvy, especially since auto-switch and online comparison websites have become prevalent, so loss-leader products (with insurance in particular) are making less sense- people are more inclined to walkaway if the offer on the table is a complete joke.

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Jazzert100 12th August, 2021 @ 10:00

I always call and ask the poor call centre person if they have had a 26% wage rise? (Insert percentage of your choice).
Once we establish that their employer isn't sharing the ill gotten gains with them the premiums miraculously fall to the same as last years.
Occasionally when it doesnt, I shop around but usually flip between Saga and Direct line.

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Dawn 13th August, 2021 @ 10:30

Hi. I’ve never asked this question of a person before but often wondered …
We own an unfurnished rental flat. Do we need landlord insurance?
The block/building is obviously covered by the management company and there are no contents, other than the tenant’s belongings.
Should we be covered for anything else?
Thank you for not looking too shocked!!

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Paul Barrett 13th August, 2021 @ 13:52

@dawn

It is illegal to attempt to have a buildings insurance policy on a flat.

Any insurance is provided by the block insurance policy.

No flat owning LL can ever obtain loss of rent cover in the event of loss of amenity whereas houseowners can.

Not many flat owning LL are aware of this.

The only LL insurance as such is contents insurance and with your flat being unfurnished not much point.

It will be for tenants to obtain their own contents insurance.

Flat owning LL need to be aware that they cannot avail themselves of insurance facilities that houseowning LL can.

Personally I have been a victim of such circumstances which is why I would never invest in a flat again.

The two classic losses of amenity via a flood or fire may well result in the flat being repaired by the block insurance but by then the LL will have been repossessed if unable to support mortgage payments.

Of course a tenant may choose to be rehoused covered by the buildings insurance while the flat is being repaired.

They would then continue to pay rent to the LL.

The problem for the LL is a tenant would be perfectly within their rights to terminate their AST early due to the major loss of amenity and the time it would take to repair.
A ground floor flooded flat could take a year to be repaired.

Most tenants would seek a new rental property.

That then leaves the LL with no rent to pay a mortgage.
No chance of rent loss cover because it is a flat.

I know of no block insurance policy that offers rent loss cover for LL.

There is NO insurance company in the UK that will offer loss of rent cover for flats.

An even bigger nightmare is if a LL has a void and a major loss of amenity occurs.

The LL won't have any rent.
The flat will be repaired but the LL will need to find the money to pay the mortgage.

These circumstances have happened to me and only credit cards saved me to pay the mortgage.

The ground floor flat suffered a sewage flood caused by incompetent builders of the block.
It took over 6 months to be repaired to a lettable condition.

Flats are dud investment properties.
Lets homeowners have them.
LL should avoid them.
I wish I had!!

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Caroline 13th August, 2021 @ 13:59

Your new blog came just at the right time. Renewal premium £197 (broker rang, but couldn't reduce), price through your quote search was £151. Quick and easy to do. Many thanks.

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bev 13th August, 2021 @ 19:21

Hi Jazzert100,
TopCashback is currently giving £81.10 cashback on landlord insurance.

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Bev 13th August, 2021 @ 19:21

Hi Dawn,

I have never bought a flat however I understand that you have to have the buildings insurance that is chosen/provided by the management company and as such your flat has buildings insurance. This insurance is part of management fee which also includes things like maintenance and upkeep of the general building and surrounding grounds. I guess this information would be with your legal pack when you bought the flat and with any correspondence every time you renew the insurance or fees, if done annually.

It's best to check out what the management package includes.

All the best, Bev

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Jo Smith 17th August, 2021 @ 16:21

Thanks for a great article as usual. I personally love the swearing!

My Homeserve landlord emergency cover renewal just came in...wait for it......an 86% increase. I just called them to tell the where to go.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 17th August, 2021 @ 19:27

Thanks Jo, appreciate it.

Holy moly! How the hell did they justify that lunacy?

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RGOG 19th August, 2021 @ 12:11

Just done the annual quotation dance to renew one of mine, admittedly they only upped it by 9% but increased the excess to £250.. Now paying 10% less than last year and excess reduced to £100!

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Eu@22 19th August, 2021 @ 14:10

To Lee who was so lucky with AXA not increasing in years. I had them for a year and they increased by magic from 160 to 289.

No claims, area not more dangerous than a year ago. As I stupidly overlooked to check it in May, I have cancelled automatic renewal. Have put a nice calendar entry a month earlier so will do the search for next renewal. Thank you for bringing this up.
I am sure that it is not only the premium what matters, it is claims too and how insurers handle it. Though I have not claimed from this place for 20 years and this increase is ridiculous.

Thank you for everyone sharing tips too!

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David 23rd August, 2021 @ 15:55

Many thanks for your blog. I just saved £110 on contents insurance for one flat through QuoteSearcher!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 11th September, 2021 @ 09:28

@David,

Ahh, brilliant, pleased to hear :)

Thanks for the update.

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andrewa 11th September, 2021 @ 17:50

Your illustration/
White top blue bottom gas cylinder.
Its not good for breathing but excellent for argon arc mig welding :)

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Jamie 22nd November, 2021 @ 20:18

Mine - Endsleigh - tries to quote me about 10% or 15% increase every year and then I call them and we settle on more like 1%-9%. The call seems like a pointless annual ritual which wastes their time and mine.

Your savings may be greater than you say, if you allow for the possibility that you would have accepted the new rate as the baseline and may have ended up paying the higher rate for more than one year.

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