Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Buying Car Insurance - Through Web Comparison Sites

Today my car insurance was due for annual renewal. I had gotten a quote from my previous insurance, but the price had actually gone up in a year, although my no-claim-bonus (NCB) has increased, which should actually have brought down the premium to pay. So I was looking for an alternative. Fortunately there are good sites out, and decided to do a brief comparison. I checked: GoCompare, Compare the, and Quoteline Direct.

Each of the sites opens a separate browser window, with the browser controls missing. This is a bit annoying, because now I cannot have this in a separate tab, nor can I do all the things I would like to, e.g. "find in page" etc. I assume that they all use the same software for these comparisons.

GoGompare usually comes up the first thing when I search in Google for car insurance comparison sites. I had successfully used this site last year for two insurance quote. The forms online are easy to fill in, and if one check mark remains checked, the first two cheapest insurances will actually call you to finalize the deal. I did that last year, so within 15 minutes after starting the search I had my insurance completed. This year I unchecked this box, so that I could further follow up.

CompareTheMarket makes these nice TV commercials with the Meercats -, quite innovative, and yes, that commercial sticks in your head when it comes to thinking about comparing insurances. But the site had a problem: it did not allow me to choose an EC/EEC license. When I entered an "International License", I was quoted almost double the price I paid now... only entering "full UK license" gave more reasonable prices.

So far, GoCompare was ahead of the two sites regarding getting a good deal on the insurance. But then I tried again another site which I came across when searching for how "endorsements" can influence the insurance price: Quoteline direct. Their web form is a bit finicky, it is easy to make mistakes, but they provide very good guidance for each form item, so eventually the form can be filled in correctly. They came up with quite a high price, but I thought this was the effect of the (few) points I have on my license. Some of the quotes were for direct online booking, others were only available if one would call. The cheapest one was for calling in - so I called them. It turns out that the web form was incomplete - did not capture that I have been in the UK only since 4 years. So the price went up - and I found this not acceptable. They should quote based on complete information, and they should capture this information through their online form.

I went back to GoCompare and was curious: what would be the difference between getting a quote with indicating the "points" and a quote where these "points" are omitted (not telling them about points "may" invalidate the insurance!). To my surprise both quotes came out the same - the few points on my license did not make any difference at all!

Summarizing I can say that of these three insurance comparison sites, GoCompare wins clearly. I will use them again at my next renewal, and also for any other insurance comparisons I might undertake. CompareTheMarket is ok too, their price results are similar and sometimes even better than GoCompare, but they need to revise their forms to get all the info for making correct quotes. At the bottom is QuotelineDirect, which had overall the most expensive prices, and then even made them higher because not all info had been captured by the forms.

Some car insurance companies (e.g. Aviva) make a pointed statement in their commercials of not wanting to be included in those comparison sites. I do not quite understand why - they must have too high prices and must be afraid being compared with others, so there is no loss for me in not comparing them to others.


Laura said...

Hi Reinhold,

I'm looking to arrange a Leeds Blog meet, hopefully by the end of the year, would love to send you some more information on it. Do you have an email I could contact you on?

Hope to hear from you soon!

Reinhold Behringer said...

Hi Laura,
I have chosen NOT to put my email address right on the front of my blog, because spammers would use it.
Risking that they might also find it here, I will still put it - I may remove this my comment soon, so just copy the email address:
Would be glad to come to that Leeds Blog meeting!

Laura said...

Sounds great! When everything has been sorted I will email you all the details!

Thanks for getting back to me!