Don’t be fooled…

Wednesday, 12th June, 2013

Insurance really is more complicated than price comparison sites would like you to believe.

As an insurance broker that specialises in home insurance, critical illness cover and income protection, it still amazes us to see the number of price comparison sites that continue to bewitch unsuspecting customers into thinking that they exist to help; that they are online to provide neutral, unbiased quotes for their insurance needs.

This is changing as the general public is becoming savvier as to the real motives of price comparison sites. Motor insurance (something that we don’t offer) is a relatively straightforward beast that, from our experience, suits an online model.

Household insurance is different. For this reason alone, it is essential that consumers see through the charms of operatic Welshmen and charismatic meerkats and have a face-to-face (or at least a phone-to-phone) conversation with a broker or provider about the subtleties of insurance that price comparison websites cannot address. Or, in some cases, even try to hide.

Here are a few top tips to consider before you commit to something that might not be in your long-term best interests.

1. If it sounds to good to be true…

Resolution Foundation, an independent research organisation, recently revealed that 30% of prices quoted on price comparison sites are fundamentally wrong. Why? Because many insurers use complex – and some not so complex – techniques to influence their position. For example, some insurers will publish products that are extremely cheap to grab consumers’ attention however they are often devoid of any actual meaningful cover. They will then bolt on additional cover that other companies would provide as standard, thus inflating the price.

2. Be wary of default answering

Before you click ‘next’, just make sure what boxes have been ticked and what haven’t. On a quote for homeowners insurance, for example, if ‘occupied during the day’ is ticked as a default then this is likely to massively reduce the quote. That’s great if the property genuinely is occupied during the day. Not so great if it isn’t. Similarly, check the default excess. Any premium with a high excess will come up trumps at the purchasing stage – but it’s probably not what you’d want should you ever have to make a claim. And don’t forget, it’s your responsibility to check what boxes apply to you – even if the site has already kindly ticked them for you.

3. It’s all in the small print (probably)

Even we were surprised when we discovered that most price comparison sites automatically carry out credit checks when you submit a quote for household insurance.

We know of a story that involved someone’s credit score slipping over a four-day period – the result of which affected how much they were offered on their mortgage. It transpired that because there were so many imprints on their credit file over a short period of time, their overall rating was affected.

It’s not something that they would want you to know however it’s probably located somewhere in the small print. So make sure you check it.

So, if you’re feeling disillusioned with price comparison sites but need help in choosing the right premium for you, what’s the solution?

It’s simples.

Just pick up the phone and speak with one of our team. We’d be more than happy to discuss your needs at length. And we’re opera and jingle-free, too.

Call Mark Finnegan or Carolyne Fairfull on 01483 233014 or get in touch via our contact form.