It's got to that time of year again where all my hard work of saving money throughout the year is going to have a massive chunk taken out of it in the form of car insurance premiums. This is the one time of the year where money gets really tight as I usually pay for my insurance in one lump sum rather than pay an extra 15% for the "privilege" of paying monthly. You cannot turn on the television these days without some kind of commercial for one of these price comparison sites such as Money Supermarket, Compare the Meerkat (I mean Market) and of course that annoying guy from Go Compare.
With the amount of promises they make about saving money on your car insurance you would be forgiven for thinking that they are the best place to go to get your car insurance. The truth of the matter is, these price comparison sites are fantastic research vehicles which will help you narrow down your search and get some rough estimates, but if you really want to get the lowest price, you're best going to these companies directly.
Whenever you buy your car insurance from one of these price comparison sites, the insurer has to pay them for the referral which usually works out to around £40-£50. This extra cost is passed back to the customer which is why price comparison websites will never be the cheapest place to buy your car insurance from directly.
Having recently renewed my car insurance for my 2005 BMW Z4 I want to take you through the steps I took to find the best price, which incidentally was not found on a price comparison website. The first port of call for any insurance quote is to use two or three comparison websites to get some good estimates. My favourites are moneysupermarket.com, comparethemarket.com and gocompare.com. After 20 minutes or so I managed to get a number of quotes however all of them were charging me well over £1,000 for the year. I tried changing my occupation a few times to see whether that made a difference but any difference I did find was marginal. The cheapest quotes I got were from companies I had no dealing with in the past so I was a little reluctant to use a company I had never heard of before.
From my research with the price comparison websites, my cheapest quotes was around £1,100 for the year fully comp so the next port of call was to insurers who do not use price comparison websites such as Direct Line. After spending 10 minutes filling out their forms I was told they could not insure me due to my age and the car I was driving, thanks Direct Line, very helpful.
The best quote I got from the price comparison engines was from a company called Elephant Insurance which if I remember correctly had a very annoying advert on TV some 5 years ago. My comparison quote was £1,058 so I decided to give them a call directly to see if I could get a better deal. After taking my information again (I didn't tell them about my original quote) they came back with £982 for the year which saved me nearly £80 straight off the bat. Because the car insurance market is a competitive space I told the operator that I already had quotes ranging from £900 to £950. The operator asked me to stay on hold while he spoke with his manager and low and behold, 5 minutes later he comes back and offers me £920 if I pay for the year upfront today. I said thank you very much and went ahead with the payment.
The purpose of this review is to help people understand that while price comparison websites are fantastic for research, they are not always the best if you want the best deal. If you don't want the hassle of shopping around for car insurance yourself, by all means stick with the price comparison sites bit if this article has taught us anything it is better deals are always there for those willing to work for them.