'Insurance firms hold all the cards'
Car insurance is something that has always stuck in my craw more than a bit. It seems unfair to me that something can be compulsory by law and still be sold for profit by private businesses.
Imagine having to play poker with somebody, but they hold all the chips and you don't know the rules.
On top of that, buy-in is €1,000 and you have no cards. It's a bit like that.
I should preface this by saying that, as a 21-year-old male, I fall into the 'Armageddon' bracket for car insurers.
I imagine there's some sort of panic button under the desks at the call centre for when young bucks like me are on the line looking for coverage.
In the time I've been on the road, I've had to make my peace with the ever-expanding list of factors that increase your risk rating, drive up your premium, and ultimately make a big impression on your bank balance.
"Are you male? Are you female? Too old? Too young?"
A more pertinent question might be "are you willing to spend your holidays in a tent in the Phoenix Park?"
Two years ago I got a quote for my first car insurance policy in my own name.
For third-party fire and theft cover on a 1.0 litre Peugeot 106, I was charged a premium of €1,100.
This, bizarrely, was more than twice the value of the actual car.
Working as a waiter in my second year of college, this put me in the same position as thousands of others my age: the constant loom of the breadline was the price of mobility and independence.
These days, a two-year no-claims bonus is cancelled out by a slightly bigger car, leaving my premium static at just over €1,000.
The threat of losing a no-claims bonus by making a personal claim tips the scales constantly towards the insurers.