Are Insurance Comparison Sites Good Or Bad For Motorists?

Tuesday, 7. January 2014

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

I think we all agree that the Internet is a great British invention but like all great inventions there is often a price to pay, the spread of child porn, online bullying, identity theft to name but a few.

But generally the Internet has enriched our lives, we can communicate much quicker and when family live abroad you can now talk to them on Skype as though they are in the same room with the help of a large TV and X Box gadgetry. Whilst there are some great tools that appear to make life easier and cheaper (I’m thinking price comparison sites here) are we actually getting true value for money or is it leading to some sort of price fixing.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

My background is in accountancy, more specifically Cost & Management Accountancy. When my old company wanted to land a contract they would take the spec. provided by the customer and cost it in terms of materials, labour and overhead. Add a contingency for unexpected costs, a bit of profit and submitted the quote. You then rather unscientifically crossed your fingers and hoped for the best.

Whilst you didn’t always get to see what the competitors were quoting you would occasionally find out that you were 30% less than the closest bid. From the client’s point of view this was great but supposing we knew what all the other companies were bidding, wouldn’t we tend to bid a lot closer to the closest bid, maybe undercut by say 5%?

Well my fear is that this is happening in the car insurance industry which is in desperate need of a shake up. Online comparison sites allow every insurance company to see what each other is quoting and it is surprising how close the top 5 companies can be when you run a quote.

The insurance companies can differ greatly in size with completely different levels of overhead and staff costs to recover and yet they all quote within £20 per annum. You may think that this may be a way to make insurance companies reduce their rates but all we ever hear is that high cash for crash claims have increased premiums or bad weather leading to increased crashes have increased premiums – then they all follow suit, increasing premiums, acting like a massive cartel.

This lack of competition has led to laziness with lack of control. Poor cost controls lead to increased premiums which means that we all end up paying for super inefficiency. The insurance companies impose few controls on the body repair shops accepting wildly inflated repair bills, incredibly inefficient claims handling add to the cost and inconvenience to all drivers.

I’ve seen insurers pay accident management companies over £100 per day for a Ford KA replacement, they simply don’t care, they just increase the premiums. Even then they don’t do it directly. The rates on the comparison site may seem quite close but then come all the addons, legal cover, breakdown insurance etc. etc.

I understand that the Competition Commission is looking into car insurance, not before time, but will they make any difference? Time will tell and I will report it! Moan over – happy New Year! By Graham Hill

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Meerkats (Photo credit: quisnovus)

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