Price comparison sites offer a great way of comparing like-for-like products and services, right? Think again. You might get a good deal at first, but when it comes to making a claim you could be left out of pocket.
If you’re paying too much for your car insurance or your energy bill has recently rocketed, you’re probably in the right frame of mind to shop around for a better deal. But will you get a good one on a price comparison site?
Maybe not. I know it sounds weird, but comparison sites too often fail to compare like with like. It seems their interpretation of two supposedly comparable policies is a little skewed.
Not all car insurance policies, for example, are of the same standard or serve the same purpose. Some will be fairly basic, others more comprehensive. Ignoring this and comparing on price alone would lead you to conclude that the best policy is the cheapest. This is crazy – it’s like saying a Ford Focus is much better than a Ferrari because it’s cheaper.
Are they using dodgy tactics?
Comparison sites employ a host of tactics to make themselves more attractive to visitors. These include boosting a quote’s voluntary excess to push down the price, meaning you’d have to stump up more cash in the event of a claim.
The same goes for using pre-ticked boxes – missing these could mean your quote isn’t quite based on what you want. Take home insurance. You might not have smoke alarms fitted, but if this is pre-selected and you miss it, you may get a better quote than you should. If you then try to claim in the event of a fire, you’ll find out how expensive this oversight is, as your claim could get turned down.
Time to get it right
These sites have been around long enough to get it right, and while they are very convenient to use, their use can only be gauged by what you are offered at the end of the process.
I think it’s time for comparison sites to grow up and offer consumers what they want, by presenting quotes that both match the requirements identified by the customer and are uniform across the site. Fudging the results to make you think you’re getting a good deal, when you may not be, isn’t right.