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Comparison websites aren’t always what they seem
December 17, 2013


Price comparison websites may not be bringing down the cost of motor insurance. The Competition Commission has just published its preliminary findings in its investigation into the motor insurance market. The commission has described the market as dysfunctional for a number of reasons, one of which is the way in which contracts between insurers and price comparison websites keep premiums artificially high.

Most of us only use one comparison site to find a motor policy.  It probably doesn't make much difference which one you choose as most insurers appear on all 4 main sites and they usually have agreements with the website that they won't offer the same policy cheaper elsewhere, so not on their own sites or on other comparison sites.

That just means that the comparison sites have no incentive to press insurers for cheaper premiums for people using their site – because any reduction they negotiate will have to be passed on to other sites and would also reduce the commission they receive.

Then, of course, there's the problem of who actually owns these websites.  Did you know that Admiral owns Confused.com?  And Esure owns 50% of GoCompare?

And are you aware that Admiral owns elephant.co.uk, Bell Insurance, and Diamond?  Here's a link to their website which lists what they own:

http://www.admiralgroup.co.uk/business/our_companies.php

So when you're on Confused.com, don’t be surprised when you get similar quotes from Admiral, elephant, Bell and Diamond.

And don't be surprised if you get the same quotes on all 4 comparison sites.  There's no incentive for individual companies to give more competitive quotes when they are owned by the same group and either own the comparison site or have agreed not to give cheaper quotes anywhere else.

In the end, you need to shop around and compare quotes carefully with a healthy dose of scepticism.

17/12/2013

The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.