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Car insurance costs back on the rise as comparison sites face operational overhaul

Ref:A01051
Published: 29 October 2014



With the increasing competition between insurers, car insurance prices had been falling steadily for the last three years, but as of this week the AA British Insurance Premium Index have announced that car insurance premiums are on the rise once again. 


While the increase only equates to a £6 rise on the average policy quote, it is likely to signal a trend that will see premiums continue to rise over the next 12 months. This change in direction comes shortly after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) banned insurers and comparison sites from striking up “exclusive deals”, having found that these price exclusivity agreements do not offer long-term value to consumers. 


Alasdair Smith, CMA Deputy Panel Chairman and Chairman of the private motor insurance investigation group, said: “There need to be improvements to the way price comparison websites operate. They certainly help motorists look for the best deal, and this in turn has led insurers to compete more intensely, but we want to see an end to clauses, which restrict an insurer’s ability to price its products differently on different online channels. We expect this to lead to greater competition between price comparison websites.” 


The ban will stop comparison sites from demanding exclusive prices and allow insurers to once again offer their cheapest prices direct on their own websites. This in theory will lead to lower premiums overall, with the AA suggesting that the new measures could reduce the average annual insurance costs by around £20. However, the recent rise in the average insurance premium suggests that even with these measures in place, motorists may see insurance prices rise steadily over the forthcoming financial quarters. 


Combined with the recent revelations regarding the conduct of some energy comparison sites, motorists again find themselves “confused” as to where the best prices and policies can be found. One certainty is that it still pays to shop around. Many companies like Direct Line don’t appear on comparison sites and other car insurance providers like Shield Total Insurance offer up to 75 per cent no claims discounts direct through their website. 


It’s also worth keeping an eye out for out for "multi-policy" discounts offered by some insurers such as Churchill, as bringing a number of insurance policies together under one premium can often result in significant reductions per vehicle.  The other option that consumers have is to turn to a specialist broker, who can not only remove the stress and effort involved in searching for the best deals available, but also lead to specially negotiated deals than are not available online. 


With prices on the rise and comparison sites under increasing pressure to offer transparent unbiased results, it now pays more than ever before to really shop around for your car insurance. Using a combination of comparison sites, getting quotes direct and exploring the idea of using a broker is the only way that consumers can now be certain that they are seeing all the prices and options out there in the market place. 

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