Compare Supermarket car Insurance
Research shows consumer satisfaction with price comparison sites dropped last year.
With either meerkats or opera singers, price comparison websites shout from the rooftops about saving you money. But an investigation by consumer website MoneyVista found variations in some of the quotes they give you. Use them with care as the first price you see isn't always the price you get. The sites vary in the way handle extras like the compulsory excess on the policy or added extras you might want.
In its analysis of car insurance premiums on Confused.com, Go Compare and Money Supermarket, the company found that quotes vary significantly depending on which price comparison site you go to, for the same driver details and sometimes the same insurer. The premiums quoted for three drivers aged 21, 32 and 55 and three types of vehicle were different in almost all examples, typically 3% to 12% and up to almost 24% in one case for a young driver.
Hidden extras, unwanted tick boxes and a more complicated sales process are some of the reasons you need to be careful these days when using comparison sites.
How they work
Comparison sites collect information about financial products and then display a list that fits the criteria you put into your search. They collect this data in from a central database, from scanning the Internet or direct from product providers.
However, different price comparison sites have different criteria for selection and none have access to all products.
The sites collect commission payments – usually £30 to £40 - every time you click through to buy from a product provider. This gets tracked by ‘cookies’, small pieces of software that are placed on your computer to identify you.
Don’t just select the first item
Work out the important features of the product that you’re looking for. Don’t just be guided by what the sites show you. For example with car insurance you might be looking for a protected no-claims bonus, monthly payments or a multi-car policy. With a personal loan, you will need to look at the representative APR and monthly repayments to see how they fit with your budget. With holiday insurance you might want to browse for a family policy or winter sports cover.
Comparison sites display the choices in order of price but they're not guaranteed to be the 'best buys'. The list can include just those providers that have paid to be listed. It may sound obvious, but don’t just select from the first list or site you visit.
Avoid ‘one size fits all’
More than ten of the leading price comparison sites use the tactic of pre-selected answers and assumptions in their online forms, which means extras might get added at the end of the booking process. This is a common tactic also used by airlines and travel booking sites.
On car insurance, most of the leading comparison sites exclude extras that you might consider important such as a courtesy car, personal injury cover or legal cover from the initial quote. They don’t ask upfront if you require these and some add them in at the end of the booking.
MoneyVista has useful guides to help you if you are shopping around for:
Whole of market not covered
Price comparison sites usually show an array of offers in table format, so they seem comprehensive. But they are only showing you the providers they work with.
Going to an insurer directly can sometimes give you a better quote. With car insurance you should always try the comparison sites as well as direct-to-consumer providers like Direct Line, Aviva and Admiral for multi-car policies.
Tips from MoneyVista
Check all questions for pre-selected answers because missing them could affect your premium and you might not able to claim when you need to
Double check all the details to make sure you're getting the cover you want
Make sure you get quotes from companies directly as well as using more than one price comparison site
Watch out for unwanted extras because when you click through to a company from a comparison site they may have pre-selected things you don't need.
About the content sponsor MoneyVista
MoneyVista is the new way of managing your money.
With MoneyVista you can build a personal financial plan which shows you the shape of your finances today, tomorrow, next year and for the rest of your life.
By building a MoneyVista plan you can draw up a household budget to help you keep track of the money you have coming in and going out each month.
It gives you a clear, single view so you’ll be able to see exactly where your money goes and spot areas where you could make savings.