Opinion

Car Insurance Comparison Websites

Back in the dark ages, we had to telephone around lots of insurance companies to find the best deal. Most people would try up to five companies before choosing the cheapest out of the ones they had called.

Then, some bright spark set up an Insurance Broker, which meant we could talk to just one person and they would go and get a list of prices for us from their list of insurance suppliers. That’s five times less effort – and they’d even remember our details when we spoke to them the next year.

As the internet became more of a force in the marketplace, we got our first “price comparison” website for car insurance. They boasted that they would get quotes from a hundred companies and find us the best possible deal. So for about the same amount of effort, we were now getting quotes from almost everyone.

All of this seemed rather brilliant. We were putting less effort in and getting cheaper car insurance.

And then came recent times.

What’s the problem with recent times? Well, the problem is, there are now lots of car insurance comparison websites and they have all negotiated special deals with their list of insurance providers. If you really want to get the best price now – you have to try all of them before you know who can get you the best deal. You also need to deal with the stream of “Direct” companies who promise you cheaper insurance because there is no middle man.

This means we’re now back to square one. We need to use several price-comparison websites as well as contacting a couple of direct companies before we know we’re getting a good deal.

Using my own details today, I tried out three well-known price comparison websites, Confused, Go Compare and Money Supermarket. Taking the lowest price from these three websites gave me a difference of £100 between the best offer and the worst offer. It doesn’t matter which was the cheapest as it all depends on your personal quotation details. The point is – unless you try all of them, you could still be paying £100 too much for your car insurance.

So what now? Perhaps we’ll have a price-comparison-aggregation-service – a website that takes your details once and feeds them into all of the price-comparison websites? Maybe this is a task that could be completed by an Insurance Broker (that would get them back in business wouldn’t it?)

In any case. Before you buy your insurance, put in a bit of effort. If you spend one hour typing in your details a few times and save £100 – that’s a very well paid hour indeed.

Oh – and in case you’re wondering… I ended up telephoning my existing insurance company to tell them I had found a cheaper deal elsewhere… and they matched it.