Insurance premiums continue to be one of the biggest expenses motorists face and, while some cover providers offer cheap deals, is it better to pay a little more for a better service?
Our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey of 50,000 UK motorists produced this rundown of 30 of the most popular insurers. It reveals how each insurance company is performing for our readers in areas including communication, helpfulness, how long it takes to settle a claim and the overall service. From your data, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the best insurers and where to go if you want the best cover.
Only the companies that received enough responses are listed to ensure accurate data, and brokers are included as they’re the people that our readers dealt with. In addition, we’ve shortened the list from a top 40 in 2013 to a top 30 to give you more concise results.
So could you be getting better cover for your money elsewhere? Our top 30 will give you all the answers you need.
It's fair to say Saga has dominated the standings in this year’s Driver Power, so it’s a very deserving winner. The insurer – which specialises in policies for drivers aged over 50 – won three categories and finished on the podium in the others. It’s the only provider to break the 90 per cent barrier, and this marks a return to form for Saga as it nearly fell out of our top 10 a few years ago. One satisfied reader and Saga policyholder summed up their experience, saying: “They are always very polite and helpful on the phone and genuinely try to get me a good deal.”
Looking at its scorecard, it’s clear there’s been improvement in all categories – more impressive given that making gains at the top is harder than ever. Its combined percentage is up two per cent and it’s only outside the top four in one category. Policyholders can’t get enough of RSA cover, with the claims procedure found to be “excellent”. Another customer added: “At any time I have needed their help, they are helpful and friendly.”
Frizzell's rankings are solid, and include first place in the speed to settle a claim and online ordering categories.
However, there are certainly areas for concern, and Frizzell needs to make sure it improves. For example, 20th place for informing customers during a claim isn’t great and ordering over the phone needs work, too. One reader said: “It leaves a lot to be desired when trying to get in contact by phone, and I had to do a lot of groundwork myself.”
Another impressive year for Liverpool Victoria as it moves inside the top five with a faultless record. Every category score is in the top 10, with motorists finding it hard to criticise anything about their cover. One said: “LV is clear, precise and helpful, and my policy has no legal jargon to get your head around.” And even when you do have a claim, this cover provider is there to help. One Driver Power respondent summed up his experience, saying: “I had a claim for considerable damage to one side of the car. They were absolutely splendid about the whole thing.”
NFU Mutual is the best for phone ordering, but it is almost last for its speed settling a claim. However, NFU was praised for its “business-like” approach and product range, including specialist car cover. It’s not the cheapest, but one reader said: “They treat their customers with respect and obviously really do value them as people, not just ‘premiums’.”
We said last year that Co-operative Insurance could stop its decline by focusing on its strengths, and it seems to have listened. Overall service, friendliness and helpfulness again scored well in 2014, and the insurer’s overall finish of sixth is its highest for several years. Its phone ordering service could be improved, but generally drivers were delighted with their cover. One said: “They are close to being the cheapest, are good value for money and have served me well.”
It's an impressive year for Marks & Spencer as it breaks into the top 10 and maintains its superiority over other supermarket rivals. If you need to make a claim, then M&S ranked well for communication and speed during the process. The insurance industry is criticised generally for its high renewal quotes, but M&S seems to excel here, too. One customer said: “I was offered a loyalty discount after just one year without asking for it. That’s good customer service.”
IAM Surety, which provides cover for members of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, was criticised this year for its processing of claims. One driver said it was “atrocious”, their case only put right after “an awful lot of stress and aggravation”. Others who hadn’t had to claim praised the value for money, with one reporting “excellent service and value”.
Aviva is on the march again as it continues to move up our chart. Its ratings are up across the board with telephone experience the highlight. Making a claim is straightforward and one motorist praised the high quality of repairs. Other positives include competitive pricing, specialist cover and multi-car discounts. The Aviva name also carried weight with readers. One said: “They have provided me and my family with good cover from a reputable company.”
Chaucer Direct has improved everywhere and is this year’s biggest mover. It scores a podium for overall experience and four other top 10 places. One customer said: “Chaucer seems to be more switched on to costs and people’s concerns.” Another added: “The repair work was done quickly and I only had to pay the excess.” One even suggested a possible area for improvement, telling us: “It would be even better if they included cover for Europe.”
Click to the next page for the ten lowest-ranked car insurance companies in Driver Power 2014...