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Get out of that one if you can

We got our house insurance renewal notice a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was a bit steep. 410€ for 30,000€ of contents and 150,000€ buildings. I think the premium has more or less doubled since we first took out the policy six or seven years ago. The renewal isn't due till next month so I did a bit of ringing around and quickly found another company offering slightly better cover some 90€ cheaper. I signed up for the cheaper insurance.

Just to avoid any problems come the renewal date I thought I'd tell the old company that I wouldn't be renewing the policy. Now I don't like ringing Spanish customer services. I don't like it because they make me pay for the call with their stupid 902 numbers (the equivalent of the 08457 numbers in the UK) which are excluded from our free calls packages and I don't like it because I have to speak Spanish.

I like email or writing a letter. Plenty of time to think and very impersonal. There was no mailing address on the renewal notice so it had to be email. The snag is that using email in Spain for anything semi official is a nightmare. The firms hide behind data protection laws and make it all very tricky especially for we foreigners.

After a lot of searching I found an email form on the insurance companies website. I told them that I wouldn't be renewing my policy and that I had cancelled the direct debit. They came back to say they couldn't respond to my email for security reasons but that in the way of general information if I wished to cancel a policy it was ESSENTIAL that I went to one of their offices because I have to sign some documentation to cancel the policy.

I was a bit cross. Seething in fact. The often outdated way of doing some things in Spain, the mania for personal attendance, the demand for identity documents from jumped up little clerks and the doubtful business practice of putting obstacles in the way of anyone wanting to change any arrangement were all going around my head.

I went in search of the email form to tell them what they could do with their ESSENTIAL requirement. As I searched I was working on the Spanish for things like "try to get any money out of my bank you tw**s." I couldn't find the email form and I've cooled down a bit now. Tomorrow I'll go to one of the hundreds of offices they maintain and speak to them. I do hope they don't give me a tough time because I know that if they do when I've finished hurling abuse and swearing at them in English I will feel a bit silly.


  1. Great blogging Chris! Been trying to contact you through all sorts of ways but it's not entirely obvious where to find you. Featured this post in my "best of Jan series here":


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