To choose a car insurance company, there’s more to consider than just price and features. It’s also important to look at reviews. You can find independent, professional car insurance reviews from NimbleFins and other insurance experts. These types of reviews should give a high-level overview of rates, features, customer experiences and more to give a picture of where a car insurance company sits in the UK market.
It’s also good to check Trustpilot and reviews.co.uk to get a sense of real customer experiences. However, many online reviews have been reported just after purchases; these ratings will give a picture of the ease of the purchase process and the competitiveness of the premium but won’t indicate the quality of the claims process. It is now possible to search for terms like ‘claim’ to help narrow the results to those that are more helpful in this regard.
Also, check out Defaqto, which is independent and rates specific car insurance offerings by features. Specific policies are awarded between 1 and 5 stars based on the features provided. However, Defaqto doesn’t identify which features are included or missing. Getting an understanding of that requires looking into the details of a policy before buying.
Does a policy include popular add ons such as breakdown cover, legal expenses, personal accident, key cover and courtesy car? Or are these offered as add-on features? If they’re add ons, how much do they cost?
Find out how policyholders can contact customer service. Some cheaper car insurance companies don’t have phone call centres, instead of replying on online customer service. This doesn’t suit motorists who prefer to call and talk to a human when a problem arises. This is something important to keep in mind when choosing a car insurance company.
Last but certainly not least is the premium. How cheap or expensive is the rate? How does the deal compare to other offers in the market? While car insurance is highly competitive in the UK, rates for one car-driver combination can be 2-3X as expensive or more with some car insurance companies.
Each car insurance company uses its own pricing model to analyse expected risk so that pricing can vary from one to the next. Also, car insurance companies vary regarding the types of risk they want to take on. For example, one firm might shy away from insuring young, inexperienced drivers while another might specialise in insuring this risk and offer better rates as a result.
Using a comparison site can be the best way to compare quotes from many car insurance companies quickly. They enable you to fill in one form and get potentially dozens of offers back within seconds. In addition, it’s worth taking the time to check offers from high-quality car insurance companies like Direct Line and NFU Mutual that are not on comparison sites.
What are some cheap car insurance companies?
Cheaper car insurance companies in the UK marketplace include LV=, 1st Central, Churchill, Hastings, Swinton, Bell, Admiral, Elephant, QuoteMeHappy, Diamond, General Accident, etc. While these are known for having competitive prices, rates among these providers can vary, and you might find that a different car insurance company can offer you a cheaper premium than any of these brands.
Keep in mind that some brands might have more than one car insurance product, with lower-tier policies offering fewer features. More premium plans can offer a wider set of coverages, but these may come at a higher cost. Or optional add-ons can really raise a premium. As a result, even a ‘cheap’ car insurance company might have some pricier, higher-tier options.
How to compare car insurance rates
To compare car insurance rates, you’ll need to consider more than just the premium. This is because the cheapest car insurance company might not be offering the best deal when you consider the features on offer and other nuances.
While price is very important, there are other considerations to take into account as well, such as:
- List of included features
- List of optional features (and their costs)
- Customer service
Think about which additional features you find important and add up the costs of any extra features you’d need to add to a policy to make it the best for your needs.
Also, consider the excess. A lower excess should mean a cheaper premium, but the savings may be small. It can be worth choosing a more expensive plan if there’s a big difference in excess. Remember that you need to pay the excess if you have to claim. So it’s important to choose a policy with an excess that you can pay without difficulty. For example, if one policy has a £250 excess and another has a £1,250 excess, the premium savings would have to be quite stark to make the plan with the higher excess attractive.
Also, it’s good to understand how a car insurance company manages its customer service. Some insurers have opted for online only customer service. While these car insurance companies can offer lower premiums because they have lower running costs, this doesn’t suit motorists who would like to pick up the phone and call their insurer to ask a question or deal with an issue. (Note, these companies would usually still have a phone line to deal with claims.)
Also, ask about their opening hours. Some companies are only open Monday to Friday, which doesn’t suit many working people.