This guy looks unimpressed. I’ll bet he is on the phone to an insurance company.

Why is it so painful to buy insurance?

I purchased a new item and wanted to add it to my contents policy. But I’ve been unhappy with my insurer in the past, so I also shopped around to see if I could get a better deal with another insurer. As you do. (As I do, anyway.)

On a friend’s recommendation, I visited the Youi website and started a quote. I wasn’t too happy about entering so many personal details at the first step…and I was even less happy when the next screen said that a consultant was phoning me right now. And, sure enough, my phone started ringing.

Now, one thing I know about myself is that I am not capable of processing information presented to me as pictures or sound. But, more than that, I don’t process things linearly. So when I’m buying insurance I like to flick back and forth between multiple insurers and policies and their exclusions and costs and get a feel for what my options are.

So this guy calls me up and starts asking me questions about my quote.

‘I just wanted an online quote, so I could compare it to other insurers,’ I told him.

‘We customise your quote to meet your circumstances, so you don’t pay for anything you don’t need.’

‘Okay, I get that, but I just need general contents insurance. There’s nothing special. I need all the usual things and I just want to compare.’

‘It’s just some questions, and it means when you claim we won’t have to ask you any questions because we have all the details.’

He then commences on the questions other insurers also record: when was the building constructed? What materials are used for the walls, roof, floors, fence? Do you have deadlocks? Do you have security screens? Do you have accessible windows? Do your accessible windows have locks?

I’m not sure why we have to do this on the phone. We’ve already been chatting ten minutes and I could’ve done it faster online, where I can read multiple options at a glance and not have to listen to someone say them all out loud before I can pick one.

I mean, one of my pet hates is those videos that spoon-feed me information that I could’ve consumed in moments if it had been presented as text. And, speaking of pets…

‘Do you have a pet? Do you want to insure your pet on your contents policy?’

‘Well, that depends,’ I reply. ‘She’s currently covered by a policy I’m happy with. So I’d need to read your PDS, see what’s covered and what the exclusions are, and find out how much it costs me to add it to my policy, before I decide.’

See, that’s how I do this insurance thing. I pick a few insurers, and I flick back and forth and select different options and compare the PDSs side-by-side and determine which is the best value for me.

‘Ohhhhhh-kay. I’ll put it in for now, and then we can take it out to compare, and that will answer your questions.’

Well, sort of. But you’re still not giving me the exclusions, are you, buddy?

So I persisted. For an hour. An hour during which he couldn’t answer my questions. An hour during which I had to explain to him how specified effects work and then discovered the minimum amount of jewellery and personal items I could insure was $2500. (I have nowhere near that much jewellery. I see no point in bling.)

And then, when he told me it’d cost me $89 a month—way more than my current insurer—and asked me for my banking details, still without explaining the exclusions, I lost my shit.

‘Hey, look, this whole process has been really unpleasant for me. It is very slow. I like to read things, and understand them. I still don’t know what’s covered and what’s not. I don’t know how much each addition is contributing to my total cost. I don’t know whether I’m paying more for the things I do need, just so I don’t have to pay for things I don’t need. Maybe someone else will insure all those extra things at no extra charge — I don’t know, because I can’t see a breakdown.’

‘Okay, ma’am, but…’

‘I know you’ve tried very hard to help me, thank you, but I really need you to just email me the quote, and the PDS, and give me some time to read over it and actually understand what you are selling me.’

‘Okay, ma’am, but…’

And then I removed myself from the conversation, called up my current contents insurer, and added the item. It took five minutes, and cost me $89 (bringing the total to well under what the Youi was going to charge), and the consultant was very friendly and helpful and even checked over my car policy. ‘Is your car still under finance? Let us know as soon as it’s not, because that will change your premium.’

Le sigh.

There’s an hour I could’ve spent much more wisely.

But, wait! There’s more!

When I ranted about this, a friend said I’d probably done well to not go with Youi. (Thanks, Ben.) Here’s why: