Which? Money probes pitfalls of comparison sitesWe found some quotes were cheaper direct

20 August 2008

Person using a mouse

Relying on a single price comparision site for financial products such as insurance could leave you with a raw deal, Which? Money warns today.

Our researchers checked the three largest price comparison websites - Moneysupermarket.com, Gocompare.com and Confused.com. We looked at home contents, car and travel insurance policies, as well as loans and credit cards, to find out how their prices compared and how useful they were for finding a suitable deal.

We found that in most cases, the cheapest quote was different on each website.  

Cheapest quotes

When searching for a home contents policy, for example, the cheapest quote varied from £51 on Gocompare.com to £71 on Confused.com.  The cheapest standard-rate credit card varied from 6.8% APR on Moneysupermarket.com to 12.9% APR on Gocompare.com.

In some cases it was possible to get a cheaper quote directly from the insurer.  A Bradford & Bingley home contents policy that cost £68 on the insurer’s own website cost £72 on Moneysupermarket.com, £83 on Confused.com and as much as £100 on Gocompare.com.

Which? Money also found that a true comparison was difficult as each website asked different questions and showed different product features. 

Excess

In some cases it was necessary to visit insurers’ own websites to check details such as the excess that people would need to pay if they made an insurance claim. In other cases the cheapest insurance that was offered did not provide as much cover as the Which? Recommended Providers.

Martyn Hocking, editor of Which? Money, said: 'With such an array of financial products to choose from, it can be tempting to turn to a price comparison site to do the legwork for you. But you might be very confused to find that different sites can give you vastly different quotes and often don’t give enough information for you to make an informed choice.

'You need to use two or three comparison sites and check directly with providers to get the best quote, and remember that cheapest isn’t always best – it’s a false economy if you don’t get enough cover for your needs or have to pay a huge excess if you claim.'