Price comparison sites rife with errors on car insurance, says Which?

23 Aug 2018 An investigation by Which? has revealed inconsistencies are rife across price comparison sites, with mismatching details found in six out of 10 of the policies listed.

The consumer champion looked at the policies offered on four of the biggest price comparison websites and can reveal a picture of inconsistencies and a lack of real choice that could be leaving consumers at risk of purchasing policies that simply don’t meet their needs.

With the Competition and Markets Authority finding that over four fifths (85%) of internet users have used price comparison sites, Which? is concerned that millions of consumers are not getting a clear picture from the websites they visit.

Which? cross-checked policy descriptions for 21 brands across four popular price comparison sites against the policy information provided on insurance brands’ own websites and in policy documents. And Which? found that for six in ten policies at least one detail published on the price comparison site was different to that posted in policy documents.

Looking into price comparison websites Which? found examples including:

  • Ten claims that a courtesy car is guaranteed should your car require repair, whereas the policy document made no such guarantee.

  • Claims about sunroof cover being included that weren’t reflected in actual policy wording.

  • Unreliable levels of cover for personal accident. In one case, for broker Autonet Plus, GoCompare described cover up to £5,000 for disability, but the limit in the policy document was only £2,500.

  • Incorrect information about cover for loss and theft of keys.

Investigating the choice on offer across price comparison sites, Which? discovered that in one scenario the top 30 results were being sold by as few as 12 providers. In some cases this was down to the same provider offering different levels of cover. However, in other cases it was trickier to spot that the choice on offer was more limited than it appeared.

Although many policies appeared identical, there were clear differences in price. The biggest coming between apparently identical Aviva policies. Motor Quote Direct on Go Compare was £71 more expensive in a scenario featuring a London based driver, than the cheapest offer on Compare The Market (via broker Autonet) for what appeared to be the same policy.

Which? is encouraging people not to rely entirely on the policy details published on price comparison websites. Consumers are advised to make a list of the policy features that most matter to them, before checking the policy documents on the relevant provider’s website to ensure they get the right product.

Harry Rose, Which? Money Editor said:

“We were staggered to see such a high amount of errors across the policies listed on price comparison sites. Millions of consumers visit these websites, hoping to find all the information they need to make an informed decision in one place – yet our findings cast real doubt on their ability to do so.

 

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