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Best and worst car insurance

By Dean Sobers

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Choosing car insurance shouldn't just involve browsing price comparison sites for the cheapest premium. Find out which insurers offer the best cover.

Our short video explains the three steps you should take in order to find the best policy for you.

 

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Video transcript

[SOUND] Car insurance is an essential purchase whether you drive a Ferrari or four wheel truck you have to get it insured. But the amount you'll pay for your policy can vary significantly depending on your choice of provider, and we've discovered that the service you receive could be dramatically different too.

Here are three steps to finding the best car insurance. Number one, shop around. Price comparison websites allow you to quickly get quotes from dozens of insurance, but not every provider pays on them, you'll have to go direct to the likes of VIVA, direct line, and Zurec to see how they compare.

Number two, look out for extra costs. It can be tempting to purchase the cheapest policy you find, but don't forget to check what extra charges might apply. This includes the excess you'll have to pay in the event of an accident, the cost of add ons such as breakdown cover, and fees for amending or canceling your policy.

Number three, consider the customer service, our customer satisfaction tables reveal how insurers are rated by policy holders. So you can get a better idea of the level of service you can expect. We've also analyzed the standard policies of dozes of insurance companies. So you can see who offers the best protection.

Sign up for a trials wish to access all of our expert reviews and see which current insurance companies have been awarded recommended provider status. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]

Which? experts scrutinised 31 car insurers’ standard car insurance policies, and we surveyed thousands of policyholders. We've rated each policy on its key aspects to produce a Which? policy score, and our customer score is based on how the insurers were rated by their customers.

This review reveals which insurers came out best for cover and customer service, and which scored the worst. To access this review and thousands of others, sign up for a £1 Which? trial. Or if you're already a member, log in now to see our reviews.

Best and worst car insurance
Provider Min Age Max Age Customer service Handling queries and complaints Transparency of charges Value for money Customer score Policy score Total
Subscriber only content 17 80  77% 85% 81%

Subscriber only content

17  99 - - - - 74% 78% 76%
Subscriber only content 17 No limit 72% 80% 76%
Subscriber only content 17 No limit - - - 69% 83% 76%
Subscriber only content 50 No limit 75% 75% 75%

Subscriber only content

16 96 70% 73% 72%

Subscriber only content

50 No limit 67% 77% 72%

Subscriber only content

Underwriter dependent Underwriter dependent 72% 69% 70%

Subscriber only content

17 99 64% 74% 69%
Subscriber only content 17 84 69% 70% 69%
Subscriber only content 16 96 66% 72% 69%
Subscriber only content 21 90  66% 69% 68%
Subscriber only content 17 99 65% 71% 68%
Subscriber only content 18 N/A 67% 69% 68%
Subscriber only content 18 N/A 65% 70% 67%
Subscriber only content 18 116 63% 70% 66%
Subscriber only content 17 115 61% 71% 66%
Subscriber only content 16 96 - 61% 71% 66%
Subscriber only content 18 116 - 66% 67% 66%
Subscriber only content 21 100 63% 69% 66%
Subscriber only content

17 (lump sum)

18 (direct debit)

75 67% 65% 66%
Subscriber only content 17 98 - - - 66% 65% 65%
Subscriber only content 16 96 61% 70% 65%
Subscriber only content 17 99 65% 64% 65%
Subscriber only content 25 85 - - - 63% 65% 64%
Subscriber only content Underwriter dependent  Underwriter dependent - 70% 55% 63%
Subscriber only content  17 94  63% 64% 63%
Subscriber only content Underwriter dependent Underwriter dependent  69% 55% 62%
Subscriber only content 17 90 63% 56% 60%
Subscriber only content 17 90 - - - 60% 57% 59%
Subscriber only content 17 90 - - 58% 58% 58%
Average - - - - - - 66% 69% 68%

Table notes:
Customer score data based on a survey of 4,312 policyholders in June 2016. Policy scores are based on the provider's standard policy. All policies are available to the general public.
Customer score is calculated using a combination of overall satisfaction and how likelihood to recommend the provider to a friend. '-' represents where we have insufficient sample size (less than 30) to generate a star rating. Insurers must have a minimum sample size of 30 for inclusion in the table.

Which? Recommended Providers for car insurance

Recommended Provider Icon CI

We reviewed some of the biggest insurers in the market including: AA, Admiral, Aviva, Axa, Direct Line, Esure, More Than, Tesco and Saga.

However, only a few insurers are good enough to be Which? Recommended Providers - they have to combine good cover with great customer service.

To be a Which? Recommended Provider, an insurer must:

  • Be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Be available to the general public
  • Have received responses from 30 or more customers in our survey
  • Have received an average or above policy score (see table for current average score) and a customer score of 70% or above.

 

  • Last updated: January 2017
  • Updated by: Dean Sobers