Like most people I shop around for insurance each year and over the last few have alternated between Direct Line and Aviva when either one of them wouldn't do a deal at renewal time. In January this year I renewed with Direct Line. Then I had a rush of blood to the brain and decided to buy an E63 AMG which is loaded with lots of factory options. Before I decided on the purchase I did the sensible thing of checking annual premiums (as new business) with both Direct Line and Aviva. Astonishingly both were only a very modest sum - i.e. less than £50 - more than the premium I paid 3 months ago for my E350CDI, so I decided to go ahead and buy the car. As I purchased it from a Mercedes-Benz dealer I took advantage of the free 7-day cover as it was easier than trying to time the changeover from insuring one car to the other (I know from old that Direct Line flatly refuse to offer temporary dual vehicle cover). So, on Sunday I phone Direct Line to swap the policy on to my E63 and that's when the fun starts. "Are there any modifications to the vehicle?", I'm asked. I reply that there are no modifications, but that the car has many factory-fitted options. "Ah", says the lady on the phone, "I'll have to note what the options are". Fair enough, so I start to list them. At the end of the list I'm then asked about what the option packages (Driving Assistance Package, Luxury Package, etc.) comprise. When I get to the Performance Package Plus she had difficulty in grasping that it wasn't an aftermarket remap or chip tuning, but actually just a state of tune that the car left the factory in. Eventually she says that she'll have to take advice "because the underwriters often refuse anything that increases performance". She says that her enquiries may take some time so she'll call me back. Hmmm... After a while she does, indeed, call back to tell me that the underwriter wants the PPP treated as though it were a remap, and will load the premium accordingly. Hmmm. She then asks how much the carbon-fibre rear spoiler cost. I explain that it was part of a package and therefore I couldn't say how much it cost. She then asked if I could question the manufacturer to get a cost of the rear spoiler as the underwriter wouldn't proceed unless they had the cost At that point I realised that I was wasting my time and politely said that in view of the unanswerable questions that I was being posed, I'd be taking my business elsewhere. So, the Direct Line policy was cancelled with a return premium on a straight pro-rata basis, and ten minutes later I had a new policy set up with Aviva - who couldn't give a stuff about any of the options - for roughly the same price as the basic Direct Line quote. So, be aware that Direct Line now require that you identify all factory options on your car, and that they get awfully nervous about some of them.