Comparison sites enable you to check dozens of quotes within minutes, but new Which? research found some users are being given unreliable information about car insurance policies.
But for six out of ten policies, there was a discrepancy between information provided by the site and what was in the insurer's policy. Find out how accurate policy information on comparison sites is and how to find the best deal on
Where quotes were provided, we examined the information given by the site about the policy on offer - then clicked through to the insurance provider's website and cross-checked those details against the information there.
Of the 79 policy descriptions we analysed, 48 (61%) contained at least one discrepancy when compared with the wording in the insurer's policy booklet.
Apparent errors included:
Different comparison sites offer varying degrees of detail about the policies available through them, which makes direct comparisons in the numbers of errors unfair.
Proportionally, of the points we were able to directly compare between comparison sites and policy documents, Compare the Market and Go Compare published more details that didn't match policy documents (13% each) than Confused.com (6%) and Moneysupermarket (5%).
However, Compare The Market and Go Compare publish significantly more policy information than the other two websites.
Our investigation identified contradicting information at various stages of the journey between browsing a comparison site and purchasing a policy.
Identifying at which of these stages incorrect information was given was less than clear cut, with comparison sites not the only sources of flawed information.
When we contacted Confused.com about one example, they told us they had confirmed the accuracy of the published details with the insurer in question. This suggests that the information the insurer had published was therefore inaccurate or out of date at the time we checked it.
Our researchers also discovered multiple discrepancies between information on the websites of some brokers - reached via the comparison sites - and the documents provided with the actual policies. With one broker, an astonishing 31 pieces of information given about a policy turned out to clash with the terms and conditions.
Comparison sites aren't perfect - but their ability to instantly provide a wide range of quotes makes them an invaluable tool. Indeed, 85% of internet users have used a comparison site at least once, according to the Competition and Markets Authority.
That said, if you're shopping around for a new policy, it's worth following these tips:
In response to our findings, the comparison sites said the following:
Compare The Market said: “We work with our providers and check that the information provided is accurate. If we discover any discrepancies, this is promptly addressed.”
Confused.com said: “Insurance policy documents can be incredibly complex. We're constantly reviewing how policy information is displayed to our customers and value the feedback you've provided.”
GoCompare explained that it carries out “a series of checks, including verification by our insurance partners. We rely on partners to keep us updated with any changes. We'll be reviewing our processes to ensure the highest levels of accuracy.”
MoneySupermarket said: “All the insurance providers we work with have to provide MoneySupermarket with information on any changes to their level of cover. In addition, every car insurance brand that can quote on our site is audited on a regular basis. If we pick up any inaccuracies we then liaise with the insurance provider to clarify and resolve the issue to ensure there is no customer detriment.” They also told us: “The definition of extra features in policies can differ between providers. This can result in small differences in the information displayed. We are currently undertaking a full review to help with this issue.”