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Best car insurance companies: top 10
We list the top ten best value car insurance companies overall – and the best during an insurance claim
Choosing insurance ranks as one of the least exciting aspects of buying a new car, yet it’s a crucial legal requirement, and you’ll be glad you picked carefully if you need to make a claim.
While you may spend hours deciding on the right engine, colour and trim level, which insurance provider you go with is likely to come down to cost. This is hardly surprising when insurance prices continue to climb, especially for younger drivers and those with a pricey car to insure or any convictions on their licence.
But is it wise to decide purely based on price? During the claims process, you may soon come to appreciate the better experience and service provided by a highly rated insurance provider, even if they cost slightly more to begin with.
We’ve rated the UK’s top 10 insurance providers, assessing them across seven categories, from communication to ease of purchase and how easily claims were settled. We also asked respondents how helpful and courteous staff were, how their knowledge stacked up and about their expertise in handling a claim.
The speed of a settlement was also rated, along with how well the insurer kept you in the loop during the process, and whether the end result represented good value.
The results should paint a clear picture of not just how much an insurer costs up front, but whether their policy and service is worth your money overall.
Read on for our rundown of the top 10 best car insurance companies in 2017.
1. NFU Mutual – 92.71%
NFU Mutual is no stranger to our top spot for car insurance, and with first place in all the major categories in our survey, it’s hard to spot how it can improve. Considering 96% of customers told us they intended to renew their policy, it seems most policyholders don’t really want NFU to change much, either. The online quote system could be more intuitive and streamlined, particularly when compared to some of the internet specialists, but most NFU Mutual customers prefer to stick with the phone.
Considering there are also 300 local offices to visit, people particularly love dealing with NFU Mutual’s helpful and knowledgeable staff face-to-face. This is especially the case when a claim is progressing, when communication and customer satisfaction is first-rate.
2. Royal Sun Alliance – 90.78%
It might not be able to topple NFU Mutual, but Royal Sun Alliance still garnered impressive feedback in our survey. Online customers were happy with the ease of ordering a policy and the speed of processing, finding the process very intuitive.
The R SA also performed well when customers chose to call, with staff knowledge coming third and good results with claim handling. Customers were very happy when it came to being informed of progress, the speed of a settlement and the whole experience of making a claim. A resounding 91% of customers said they would renew their policy.
3. Zurich – 88.79%
Zurich’s excellent third-place spot was bolstered by a great performances by its call centres. It’s far from being a one-trick pony though, posting results within the top 10 across the board, with highlights including fourth place for product knowledge. It’s best at claims handling, though, taking second for the speed of settlements, third for being helpful and fourth for keeping customers informed.
Value for money was great, too, matching the insurance provider’s overall third position, so it looks like it’s mainly a poor website holding Zurich back. Motorists put it in 32nd for navigation and 33rd for its speed of use, reducing the ease of purchase score to 12th.
4. Co-op Insurance Services – 88.30%
It might be just off the podium, but Co-op customers still told us the provider did a lot right. The website was fairly intuitive and secured sixth place, but could be faster and more informative.
Rather like Zurich, its telephone operators improve the overall experience, making purchasing policies very easy. Value for money was another strong area, along with the speed of settling claims, but you also told us staff could be more helpful and friendly. The majority of customers (77%) told us they would renew their policy.
5. M S Bank – 88.24%
While M S might more often be associated with buying clothes or sandwiches, a top-five performance means you should probably consider the high street chain for your car insurance, too. Perhaps unsurprisingly, its website is slick and a breeze to use, while customer service staff also score well. Staff are said to be friendly and informative, while claims are dealt with speedily. Telephone ordering could be improved, with the process being a little sluggish and unhelpful, but product knowledge was at least scored highly.
6. RIAS – 87.88%
The sister company of insurance provider Ageas, RIAS allows customers to buy insurance directly from its website or over the phone. The former is clearly well sorted, with navigation, speed of ordering and the provided information all sitting within the top four results. Unfortunately, callers are less well served, with RIAS sitting in 26th place for its phone ordering. There are no such issues with making a claim via the phone or helpfulness during the process, though, with RIAS back in second place and a solid third for keeping customers informed.
7. Quote Me Happy – 87.26%
Quote Me Happy performed very strongly in some key areas, coming first for its online policy process, the speed of online ordering and the website’s useful links to information. Impressively, the speed of ordering also took first place over the phone, along with second for its courteous and friendly staff. Seventh for claims satisfaction was a good result and motorists were kept informed, but told us settlements could have been completed more quickly. Given the name Quote Me Happy, 22nd place for value for money is also slightly disappointing.
8. Direct Line – 87.19%
The company familiar to millions thanks to its red telephone on wheels also proved friendly and helpful when customers called regarding insurance claims. Settlement speeds, the size of settlement payouts and policy costs secured it a spot in the top 10, while seventh place for value for money isn’t to be sniffed at. Direct Line needs to make it easier to sign up though, with its ordering process down in 20th place when you pick up the phone, in stark contrast to its advertising. Staff product knowledge was also a weak point, but 83% of customers told us they would renew their existing policy.
9. LV – 86.97%
Liverpool Victoria put in a solid performance, with its online process, speed of orders and navigation of its website all within the top 10. This was echoed across telephone customers, where speed, product knowledge and friendliness were scored similarly well by respondents. However, claim handling slipped further down the table, with an overall score of 13th. Customers were happy with the calls exchanged, though, and felt well informed, even if value for money was only deemed to be average.
10. SAGA – 86.96%
Saga is a specialist provider, limiting its policies to the over-50s. Its staff were praised, with high scores for how helpful, informative and quick they were during a claim. Saga has clearly created an intuitive website, too, with a third place for ease of navigation, while speed, information and the overall online process of ordering insurance were in the top 10. Surprisingly, Saga did less well when customers ordered by phone, falling just below the top 10 for processing speed and product knowledge. Still, existing customers are a contented bunch, with 80% happy to renew with Saga.