My motorbike insurance ran out on December 23rd (i.e. last Friday). In fairness, I shouldn't have left renewing it until the last minute, but that's what I wound up doing.
So, I phoned 1st Quote on Friday afternoon but nobody answered. I can understand if the office closes early for Christmas, but it would make sense to put up an answerphone message in that situation ("call back on Wednesday"). So, I went to their website instead, and did my renewal online. When I entered my details, they had boxes for "daytime phone number" and "evening phone number", and said "You must enter at least one of these! We will contact you to tell you when your insurance has been renewed; don't assume that the new cover is in effect until you hear from us." (Paraphrased from memory, but you get the idea.) So, that gave me the impression of "Wait by the phone!"
By yesterday, there was still no word from them, so I used public transport to get to/from work (a rant in itself) rather than taking the bike. Then today I had a letter from them (dated yesterday) saying that my insurance had been renewed, effective from the 24th. I.e. they've charged me for the last few days, even though they'd also told me not to use the bike for those days. Nice scam...
Anyway, I expressed my displeasure, and the upshot is that they'll refund me the cost of those few days. What they did say was that they never phone people back - they just post a cover note either that day or the following day (which I haven't received). Due to the Christmas post, that would obviously take a while to come through. Some might wonder why the website insists on getting phone numbers in that case... The guy also said that the office was running on Friday, so someone should have been there to answer the phone. Maybe I was just too impatient when I gave up after 16 rings?
All in all, an annoying situation.