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The Possible Potholes Of Using Price Comparison Websites

By raccars Published

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Price comparison websites can be a real boon to the budget conscious motorist searching for the best deal on insurance. A recent study showed that 38.7% of car owners now source their insurance provider by using price comparison websites, but do they really offer the cheapest deal?

Insurance is one of the highest factors in calculating a car's annual running costs. However, respondents to an Auto Express Driver Power survey were unimpressed by insurance companies' lack of incentives for customer loyalty, which leaves drivers searching for new policies every year to save money. In theory, price comparison websites help to reveal the cheapest deals on insurance premiums, but the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has recently published a report questioning the independence and impartiality of these sites. As an example, Esure owns 50% of GoCompare and Confused.com counts Admiral among its owners.

While the report found no evidence of misconduct or conflicts of interest, the FCA did comment that consumers did not always find the best policy for their needs easily. If you are searching for an insurance policy through price comparison websites, bear the following points in mind.

Excesses

Insurers advertise policies with a low compulsory excess, to attract customer interest. However, the cheapest deals actually rely upon a high voluntary excess. Check the details of the excess before agreeing to a deal.

Lowest prices?

Comparison sites used to promise the lowest prices through their websites but the Competition Commission has changed regulations, so that when insurers pay commission to the websites for successful deals, this amount is included on your policy. As a result, you could in fact get the same policy slightly cheaper by contacting the insurer directly and cutting out that fee.

Special needs

Comparison sites work on averages, with policies catering to certain standard criteria. If your needs are slightly outside the norm, such as classic cars, motorists with convictions or those who need extra cover for driving abroad, you're likely to find a more appropriate policy by going to an insurer specialising in the relevant field.

Check the details

The same standard criteria mean that certain assumptions are made to calculate elements of your premium, so if your car has been subject to modifications or another driver is the actual main user, the policy details won't be appropriate for your needs. If a price comparison website doesn't ask about minor details, you won't get access to the right offers for your circumstances.

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