What are the best car insurance comparison sites?
We have reviewed the top five comparison websites so you know where to go for the best car insurance deal
LAST UPDATED: 20 SEPTEMBER, 2018
Results - the best car insurance comparison sites
We reviewed the top five car insurance comparison sites to see which is the best - not just in terms of price but other factors such as how long it takes to get a quote, how many quotes they compare and how they rank in term of independent customer reviews.
As a result of our study, here is how we rank the best comparison sites...
MoneySupermarket came out on top in our study - scoring an impressive 36 out of 40 in our scoring system (details below).
The second best car insurance comparison site was GoCompare (scoring 32 out of 40), followed by Confused (25) and then uSwitch (22). Compare The Market came out as the lowest scoring in our study - although their Meerkat Movies and Meerkat Meals promotions still make them a potentially cost-effective option.
Method - how we carried out the study
As well as trying to find the best comparison site in terms of price, we also wanted to know which of the major comparison websites was the best to use overall.
To do this we requested three car insurance quotes from each of them using the exact same personal information. The quotes we requested were designed for three different types of driver: a young driver, a 'typical' driver, and a driver over 50.
All of the quotes were requested on the same day in September 2018, using the exact same personal details:
Marital status: Single
Car: Ford Fiesta Zetec (2013, 3 door, petrol, manual, 1.2)
Occupation: Full-time student
Mileage: 10,000 per year
No Claims: 0
Marital status: Married
Car: BMW 330i Series (2016, 5-door, manual, petrol, 2.0)
Mileage: 15,000 per year
No Claims: 10 years
Over 50's driver
Marital status: Married
Car: Volvo XC60 (2016, 2.4)
Mileage: 15,000 per year
No Claims: 20 years
We used these three profiles to test the comparison sites on a range of different quotes with different requirements e.g. age of driver, where the vehicle is kept overnight, different mileage, different car values, different jobs, different levels of No Claims and so on.
This meant that we wouldn't be judging each comparison site on just one type of car insurance policy (e.g. young driver).
We scored each of the comparison sites on the below factors when requesting quotes for each of the above personas:
- Coverage - how many insurance companies do they compare?
- How many questions do they ask during the quoting process?
- How long does the quoting process take (from starting to viewing available quotes)?
- Which site had the cheapest quote for each individual?
- Customer reviews - how do the comparison sites score with third-party customer review websites?
- Range of policies - how many different types of car insurance policy do they offer e.g. young driver, black box, temporary, learner insurance etc...
We gave each comparison site a score out of five for each of the above factors (score out of 15 for the cheapest quote as there were three different quotes) - so the total score was out of 40.
Breakdown of data*
In terms of how many different insurance companies each comparison site compare, GoCompare came out on top with 133. MoneySupermarket was second with 124, followed by Confused (107), Compare The Market (100) and uSwitch (96).
So if you want a comparison website that looks at a wide range of policies then GoCompare and MoneySupermarket are the ones for you.
If a quick quoting process is important to you, then MoneySupermarket is the best - with the lowest amount of questions (48) and the quickest overall time (3 minutes 39 seconds).
Compare The Market ask the most questions during the quoting process (66), and were neck and neck with GoCompare as the longest quoting process ( around 5 minutes 30 seconds each).
For the customer reviews, we looked up each of the comparison sites on TrustPilot and Reviews.co.uk, giving each company a combined score out of 10 for their two average ratings on each of those websites. This meant we could factor in metrics such as customer service into our ratings.
GoCompare and uSwitch both came out on top in terms of customer reviews, scoring 9 out of 10 each. They were followed by Compare The Market (7/10), MoneySupermarket (6/10) and then Confused (3/10).
Best comparison site for young drivers
If you are a young driver (aged 17-24), then the price of car insurance tends to be a lot higher. This is because insurance companies see new and young drivers as a higher risk of making a claim.
High car insurance premiums are unavoidable for young drivers, but there are some ways you can get the cost down. One of the best ways is to compare lots of different policies to make sure you get the cheapest premiums available, but which is the best car insurance comparison site to use if you are a young driver?
For the young driver in our study, the cheapest quotes were from MoneySupermarket and GoCompare (£1,938.05) - which were both black box car insurance policies.
The most expensive 'cheapest' quote for young drivers came from uSwitch - £2,252.23 - which was also for a black box policy.
Best comparison site for drivers over 50
With all insurers keen to offer quotes to experienced drivers with a lot of years of No Claims under their belt, it's perhaps no surprise that all but one of the comparison sites offered exactly the same price for our 'over 50's' driver.
Confused, GoCompare, MoneySupermarket and Compare The Market all offered the cheapest quote of £460.93.
With nothing to choose in terms of price, drivers over 50 may want to look at some of the other factors when deciding which comparison site to use e.g. customer reviews, range of policies available etc.
Best comparison site for 'typical' drivers
Interestingly, the biggest spread of cheapest quotes was for our 'typical' driver - one who has been driving for a reasonable amount of time, with a decent amount of No Claims etc.
MoneySupermarket offered the cheapest quote for this driver (£715.18), followed by Confused (£733.79) and GoCompare (£748.69).
*All information correct as of 20 September 2018
How to get cheap car insurance
Below is our top 10 tips on how to save money on your car insurance
1. Shop around
This is perhaps the best way to get cheap car insurance. Regardless of your circumstances, by shopping around and comparing as many policies as possible you can save yourself hundreds of pounds when you renew your car insurance.
You need to be careful when comparing, as it is important to make sure you compare like-for-like cover. Some policies may look cheaper, but when you factor in the lower level of cover you are getting - or significantly higher excess you may have to pay - then it may not be such a great deal.
2. Protect your no claims bonus
One of the biggest factors affecting the price of car insurance is the length of no claims history you have. That's why, on average, older and more experienced drivers can expect to pay much less than new and young drivers.
Paying to protect your No Claims bonus may make your insurance premium a little bit more expensive, but if it means avoiding a massive hike in cost if you have to make a claim it is more than worth it.
Look out for policies that offer no claims bonus protection, and make sure you read the terms and conditions closely so you don't get caught out on a technicality if you make a claim.
3. Increase your voluntary excess
Your policy excess is the amount of money you have to pay towards any claim you make on your policy. Most car insurance policies will include an excess - such as £250 - as standard.
However, many insurers also allow you to set an extra 'voluntary' excess - so you can commit to paying even more towards a claim.
As it will mean the insurance company pays less for your claim, the higher the voluntary excess you choose the lower your premiums will be - although you should only set the amount at a level you can actually afford in the event of a claim.
4. Limit your annual mileage
It stands to reason that the less you drive, the less risk there is of you having an accident and making a claim. All insurers ask you to input your annual mileage when you get a quote - so try and be accurate with it and make sure you're not paying for mileage you don't need.
You should also be truthful when setting a yearly mileage, as you could end up invalidating your policy and jeopardising a claim if not.
5. Keep your car secure
Having anti-theft devices such as immobilisers, alarms and tracking devices shows your insurance company that you are serious about keeping your car safe. The more unlikely your car is to be stolen or damaged by thieves, the cheaper your car insurance premium will be.
This also applies to where you park your car. If you park it overnight on the road outside your house, you will likely pay more for insurance than if you lock it away in a garage or park it on a driveway.
6. Avoid big, expensive, powerful cars
Some cars cost more to insure than others, so it's worth checking what insurance group a car is in when deciding whether to buy it or not.
Big and powerful cars, and cars that are expensive to repair, tend to attract the highest premiums because they are either more likely to be involved in an accident, be targets for car thieves or require more expensive repair work.
7. Add an experienced named driver
Young drivers can bag themselves a cheaper policy by adding a more experienced driver on their policy as a 'named driver'. This is because the insurance company will know that the car will sometimes be driven by a more experienced driver, and the premium you pay will reflect that.
It's very important, however, to not be tempted to buy the policy in the name of an experienced driver e.g. a parent, and add the young driver as a named driver if the young driver will actually be the primary driver. This practice is known as 'fronting' and, as well as risking invalidating your policy, is also illegal.
8. Consider a black box policy
More popular with young and new drivers, black box or 'telematics' car insurance can be a great way to keep the cost of cover down while you build up your experience and no claims history.
It works by fitting a 'black box' to your car which tracks everything you do - how fast you drive, where you drive, what times you drive, how fast you take corners, any instances of hard braking and so on. All of this data is sent to your insurance company who then decide the premium price each month based on your driving habits.
Drivers therefore have some control over how much they pay for their car insurance - drive carefully and avoid busy roads and driving at night etc. and you will get a cheaper premium.
9. Pay for your policy on an annual basis
Although not everyone has the money available to pay for the full 12 months of cover up front, if you can afford it you can make considerable savings compared with paying monthly.
If you can't afford to pay a lump sum, then you could also consider using a 0% interest-free credit card to pay for it - just make sure you can pay the credit card off before the interest-free period is over.
10. Choose your policy and add-ons carefully
Do you really need comprehensive cover? If the car you are insuring isn't worth a lot, then you may be better off getting a Third Party, Fire and Theft policy - or even just a Third Party Only policy.
Similarly, be careful with any policy add-ons the insurer tries to sell you. Things like breakdown cover, legal assistance, windscreen cover, personal accident cover etc. can be useful if you need them and don't mind paying for them, but you may be paying for similar cover elsewhere i.e. via a packaged bank account.