Car Insurance Rip Off For Brits in Bulgaria

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My Lada car insurance is due for renewal this week and I know that it would be more expensive than last year, this is normal on a worldwide basis now. It's called a 'Rip off' in case you were wondering. Car insurance is mandatory, even in Bulgaria (well in town areas anyway) so my hands are tied and the only way to avoid it is get rid of the car, which is something I am now considering.

Last year the premium was 140 Bulgarian leva, this was just for third party on a Lada that was valued at only 500 Bulgarian leva. The year previous to this was less than 100 Bulgarian leva! I expected the cost now to rise to the 200 Bulgarian leva mark, even though the value of the car has depreciated and no claims have been made since living here!

But there is another factor involved here when it comes to car insurance and like many other things it really does make my blood boil. When I first came here on my own with limited Bulgarian you rely on English speaking advisors. I was advised to go to a car insurance company in Yambol city centre that had English speaking staff. That's what I did and thought no more about it. Every new expatriate that comes here was directed to go to this company for car insurance, no other options are given. This particular insurance company as I was to find out, was the most expensive around and took advantage of foreigners coming here. This is normal of course.

This week I got information off the Bulgarian grapevine so to speak of other insurance companies and one in particular that had just opened a month ago and a friend of the family who ran it. They provided all the insurance for Galia's brother's boiler factory vehicles. I was told to try them and I did.

We arrived to find the place shut and the shop owner next door who was smoking outside told us to wait while she rang the insurance clerk to come and open the office up. 20 minutes later Katiya the owner, an old friend of the family, greeted us. We were invited in throuoh the cracked glass door, wind damage not vadalism, and spent the next half an hour catching up with family news.

The office as as basic as you can inagine with just had one desk and chair with PC placed on it and an empty shelving unit behind against the wall bar one plastic bound folder and a PC printer place on it. The customer area in front of the desk had a well used, dusty sofa and a second or third hand coffee table with blistered varnish and splintered wood alongside. This single plastic bound folder was taken off the shelf, flicked through and a third party quote was given for the Lada. It came to 128 Bulgarian Leva along with a big apology as it was explained that company owned vehicles (and mine was just that) had risen substantially over the last six months. I can believe that with inflation rates here at the moment and wondered what the other insurance company would be offering. Well I didn't need to wonder for long as I found out later. They were asking for over 200 Bulgarian leva as enquiries were made by telephone. I am absolutely certain this is because I'm English as they know because have my company record on their database!

We continued to talk and catch up with more news. Katiya then asked me if I could spread the word on my blog to other British expatriates who want car insurance, green cards to travel in Europe etc. Now I don't normally have much to do with other Brits in Bulgaria, but being ripped off by insurance companies hits a nerve and obscene profits made from innocent parties is something I hate to see. So with Katiya now offering non-decriminate rates and based on my own insurance over 64% cheaper I feel it is my duty to stop others being taken to the cleaners. So if you are a Brit in Yambol give me a call and I'll pass on the details unless you have money to throw away.

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