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With the increasing fuel costs, many drivers are looking to cut their motoring costs. Fortunately, car insurance is one area where you can make some significant savings.
Although it is tempting to simply let your car insurance auto renew, many insurers reserve their best rates for new customers. This means that even if you’ve been with an insurer for years, you may not be getting the best deal.
Comparing car insurance deals is a great way to find out if there are better value options for you on the market. You can not only check if your current insurer is competitive, but you may find an even cheaper deal without compromising on your coverage levels.
What Are Car Insurance Comparison Websites?
In the past, if you wanted to comparison shop for your car insurance, you needed to put in a lot of legwork and be prepared to spend hours on the phone. You would need to call each individual insurer on your shortlist and go through the quotation form to get a price. With the development of the internet, the process of comparison shopping has become super simple.
Comparison websites allow you to complete one form and obtain multiple quotes from a variety of insurers. Effectively, these sites act as the middleman, connecting potential customers with insurers. For this reason, many comparison sites have established relationships with specific insurers, so you can gain access to competitive rates without needing to call the individual insurer or complete an online form for each company.
When you submit an application, the comparison site will compare your details with the insurers on file to find which ones will offer you coverage and at what price.
You’ll then be presented with a list of quotes that you can explore in more detail. If you find a deal that you like, you can simply click through and finalize your policy with that specific insurer.
Pros & Cons of Online Comparison Tools
As with any insurance product or service, there are both positive and potential negatives associated with using car insurance comparison websites. Being aware of both sides will help you to make an informed decision about whether they are a good choice for you.
Since you only need to complete one form, you don’t have to waste time providing your details over and over again. Many comparison sites can offer you a variety of quotes within a matter of minutes, saving you precious time.
Since many comparison sites have established relationships with their panels of insurers, they can often provide access to exclusive deals.
Advertising for new customers can be extremely costly, so when a comparison site can bring in lots of new customers, the insurers tend to reward this with preferential rates and terms.
In some cases, you may be able to get a deal that would not be available if you went to the insurer directly.
Many people find comparing insurance products to be a little daunting. This industry is notorious for pages of terms and conditions which can be difficult to decipher. However, many comparison sites present their search results in an easy to compare layout.
While the cheapest deal is often presented at the top, you can usually see key features, so you can quickly scan for which deals look like the best value. You can also usually click for more information, making comparing the quotes easier.
When you’re leading a busy life, it can be difficult to find the time during standard business hours to get an insurance quote.
Since comparison websites are online, you can usually get quotes at any time of the day or night. This means that if you want to shop for car insurance deals at 3 am, you can!
Many comparison sites allow you to simply click through if you want to go ahead with the insurance deal. While you may need to confirm a few details, the bulk of the legwork has already been done, so you can get your new policy finalized quickly.
Each comparison website has its own panel of insurers that it consults for quotes. Depending on the website, you could be considering lots of different insurers or only a handful.
This means that if you don’t see familiar insurance brands in your quotes list, you may need to do a little more work to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
While we’ve talked about most comparison websites, there are some online that are simply lead generators.
Although these sites may look like any other comparison website, when you submit a form, you won’t get a list of quotes and instead the site will pass your details on to lots of insurers who will contact you individually.
This means that you may find your email inbox full of spam and your phone could be continually ringing, even after you’ve arranged a new policy.
Of course comparison sites operate to make money and while many of them earn commission from the insurer, there are others that impose a fee for arranging your policy.
This could be a percentage or a one off fee. This means that you need to carefully check the terms and conditions before you go ahead.
If you’ve been dealing with an insurance company for a while, you may have a point of contact if you have any queries. However, on a comparison site, it is far more impersonal.
You’ll be presented with a list of potential deals and you’ll need to make a decision without any additional advice or help.
1. Smart Financial
Smart Financial aims to streamline and simplify buying car insurance. This insurance comparison site offers car, home, health, life and rental insurance comparisons with a panel of over 200 insurers. When you complete the straightforward application, Smart Financial will provide all the details you need to make a car insurance comparison.
However, what makes Smart Financial different from many comparison websites is that you can speak to a person about your insurance options. This platform has a team of insurance assistants available via phone support.
Of course, the service is not perfect and there are both positives and negatives. The positives of Smart Financial include that you can complete the entire application process in under five minutes and the website provides additional resources including helpful articles.
However, on the negative side, there are no specific quotes. Instead Smart Financial will match you with different insurance companies. This means that you will need to re-enter all your details so you can get an actual quote.
Insurify is a comparison website with a panel of over 200 insurers, including familiar names such as Geico, Farmers, USAA and Liberty Mutual.
You can complete one quick form and Insurify will match you with the most appropriate providers, showing you live quotes from each company. You can then use the online checkout to purchase your coverage or call Insurify to speak to an agent.
Unfortunately, the agents don’t have in depth knowledge for every provider that they work with, so they may not be able to answer some questions or queries. Additionally, Insurify will only match you with a few providers and this platform does not work with all of the major providers. Some glaring omissions from its panel include Allstate and State Farm.
However, the Insurify AI is designed to connect you with providers offering the best discounts and it does eliminate the need to individually compare providers.
QuoteWizard allows you to compare coverage and policies from some of the largest insurance providers in the U.S. You can compare policies and deals from up to 30 insurers before you apply.
Since QuoteWizard connects you with so many insurers, you can find a variety of coverage options to find the best package for your requirements. Once you submit a form, you’ll be redirected to the insurance companies offering the best rates for drivers in your area. You can then compare policies and apply directly for coverage.
This is a free and easy platform to use that allows you to compare plans before you apply. You’ll see a recap of the policy highlights for the top insurers for easy comparisons.
However, this platform does not provide actual quotes, as you’re directed to the insurance companies. This does open up the possibility for unsolicited communications, as you may receive emails and phone calls from potential insurers.
Gabi has been operating since 2016 with the aim of helping customers access auto insurance deals at no charge and recently acquired by Experian. This platform has over 40 insurance partners including Travelers, Nationwide and Progressive, so you can get multiple quotes for your coverage.
However, what makes Gabi quite special is that its technology uses the details from your current insurance policy. When you provide a PDF copy of your policy declaration page, Gabi can access the details of your existing coverage and compare it to quotes in the current marketplace. If Gabi can’t find you a cheaper deal, it will let you know. All of this takes less than two minutes.
However, Gabi will always present you with the policy that has the lowest rate. Although this may be the cheapest deal, it may not be the right choice for you. You will need to double check that the insurance company and coverage meet your needs before you proceed.
What Does a Comparison Site Do With My Personal Details?
You’ll need to provide some personal details to get tailored car insurance quotes, but what does the comparison site do with those details? Firstly, the comparison site may share your personal details with insurers to get a quote. This is something that you would expect, since you can’t get a tailored quote without providing some personal details. However, some comparison sites will also sell your personal details on to third parties.
You may notice before you click submit on your quote form that there are boxes to tick about sharing your details. Read through these carefully and don’t simply allow them to remain auto ticked. You may notice that one of the boxes refers to giving permission to share your data with third parties for marketing purposes.
This means that your details will be sold to a marketing company who may then contact you to sell you products and services. If this is not something of interest to you, be sure to untick this box.
Things to Focus On When Comparing Car Insurance
Comparing car insurance can seem daunting, but you don’t need to get too bogged down in the terminology. There are several things you should focus on when buying insurance.
- Price: Obviously, the first thing you will look at is the price, but take a closer look to see if this is the final cost or if any fees will apply. Some comparison sites add a fee on top of the initial quote price, which will reduce its value.
- Coverage Level: Next, you need to determine if the cheapest quotes are actually the best value. Check the coverage levels on each quote. You may find that one of the policies that are not the cheapest actually includes some useful add ons, increasing its value.
- The Discounts: It is also a good idea to look at any discounts that have been applied to the quote. While many comparison sites and insurers are good at automatically applying many discounts, you may notice that you qualify for some discounts that have not been included in your quote.
- The Deductible: Generally, the higher the deductible, the cheaper the policy. This is because you have a great financial stake in your coverage. However, some insurers have a higher default deductible, which means that while they may appear cheaper, they may not be the best option for you. You should never take on a deductible that you would struggle to pay in the event of a claim.
- Any Fees or Charges: Next be sure to check the terms and conditions for any fees or charges that may apply to your account. You don’t want to get stung with an unreasonable late fee if your check is delayed in the mail or there is a bank error.
- The Insurer’s Reputation: While it is tempting to jump on the cheapest deal, you need to focus on whether this is a good insurance company. After all, that cheap premium won’t seem like such a bargain if you struggle to get a claim processed. Do a little quick research to make sure there are no red flags from current or previous customers on consumer review sites.
Car Insurance Mistakes to Avoid
Unfortunately, you do need to take care when comparing car insurance as there are some mistakes that can be very costly. Some of the most common mistakes to avoid include:
- Not Comparison Shopping: While you’re interested in the best websites to compare car insurance rates, using just one platform may not provide an accurate picture of the current marketplace. It is always worth taking the time to adequately comparison shop, so you can have complete confidence that you’ve secured the best deal.
- Not Comparing Like for Like: It stands to reason that a basic liability policy will cost less than a comprehensive deal. However, this doesn’t mean that the basic liability is the best option for you. Think about what levels of coverage you need and be sure that you’re comparing like for like quotes.
- Not Providing Accurate Information: While it is tempting to “estimate” your annual mileage or the trim level of your vehicle, inaccurate information could lead to you paying more for your coverage. You may automatically qualify for discounts based on the safety equipment as standard with your vehicle trim level, you could even get a discount if you drive less than annual mileage. So, try to be precise and accurate.
- Taking Advantage of the Insurance Financing: While it may be tempting to simply opt for the convenient financing option offered by your insurer, it will cost you in the long run. Many insurers add a surcharge to premiums to cover the admin of chasing each monthly payment. You can save money if you pay for your insurance in one go or in two six monthly installments.
- Not Asking questions – it's definitely ok that you don't understand everything. However, make sure you do ask the right questions and get answers for any unclear issues.
Tips to Save Money on Your Car Insurance
Saving money on your car insurance need not be a chore and there are actually some quick and simple ways that you can reduce your premiums.
- Take a Driving Course: This first tip is a little more involved. However, it can not only make you a better driver, but also save you money on your car insurance. Many insurers will offer a discount if you complete a certified driving safety course.
- Maintain a Clean Driving Record: Insurers typically look back on your driving history three to five years. If you have accidents, speeding tickets, or other moving violations, you will be considered a greater risk and this is reflected in your premiums. So, try to keep your driving record as clean as possible.
- Check the Discounts List: Most insurers publish a list of available discounts on their websites, so be sure to check the lists to see if you qualify for one or more. You can get discounts for a number of things including vehicle safety features, if you have good grades as a student or even if you have an affiliation with a group or organization.
- Adjust Your Deductible: While you don’t want a deductible that is so high you can’t afford to pay it if you have a claim, if you can up your deductible, you can reduce your insurance costs. On the comparison websites, play around with the deductible amount to see how much difference it could make to your insurance costs.
- Assess Your Coverage: Don’t assume that your current policy coverage is still the best level for you. Consider if your circumstances have changed and if you still need certain add ons or coverage levels. For example, if you now get free breakdown cover with your credit card, do you need it on your auto policy?
- Change Your Vehicle: Finally, if you’re still struggling to get a good deal on your car insurance, it may be time to change your vehicle. Cars that are more expensive typically cost far more to insure, likewise if your vehicle is larger or sporty. Downgrading to a smaller vehicle may not only be cheaper to run, but cheaper to insure.
Should I Apply Directly or Through A Service?
This will depend entirely on your circumstances and specific insurers. There are some insurers who only offer their insurance directly to customers, so you won’t find them on any comparison websites.
If you are particularly keen on specific insurers, it can be a good idea to get a direct quote and you can use this as a baseline for your comparison shopping. It can also be a good idea to apply directly if you already have an existing relationship with an insurer.
For example, if you already have your homeowner’s or life insurance with a company, you may be able to get a preferential rate for your car insurance by bundling your policies. This can also apply if you have multiple vehicles in your household and your family members use a particular insurer. Again, you can get a direct quote and then check it against the deals offered by the comparison website.
How to Get Your Discounts?
Many comparison sites are extremely efficient at gathering data and applying any possible discounts to your quotes. However, you do still need to be aware of what you may qualify for and check that it has been included.
The first thing you need to do to get your discounts is to be as accurate as possible when you supply your details. This will ensure that the comparison website presents relevant data to the insurers.
However, once you have your quotes, make sure that you click on the additional information tab to see what, if any, discounts have been applied. If you don’t see a discount and you think you qualify, query it before you proceed with your policy.
How to Compare Company’s Customer Service?
Before you sign up for a new car insurance policy, you need to feel confident that the company offers solid customer service. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources that allow you to evaluate the level of service previous and current customers experience.
Platforms like Trustpilot or the Better Business Bureau can highlight any red flags. Just be aware that some people will complain about unreasonable issues, so you may need to take some reviews with a pinch of salt. However, if there are numerous complaints about similar issues, it is a warning sign of a problem.
It is also a good idea to check the ways you can contact the company’s customer service department. Bear in mind that you can have a car insurance complaint at any time of the day or night, so does the company have a 24/7 claims line? Can you call and speak to an agent if you have a query or do you need to rely on sending an email?
While you may not always want to speak to an agent, it is nice when an insurance company offers this service.