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How we review car insurance: Our methodology explained

Choosing a car insurance provider can be overwhelming. From which level of cover to pick, to figuring out what is included as standard, there can be a lot of information to wade through.

That’s why our team of personal finance experts has done the hard work for you. They have combed through the policy documents of some of the biggest car insurance providers in order to gauge just exactly what is on offer, and how different levels of cover vary on an insurer-by-insurer basis. This means you can make a more informed decision when it comes to taking out a new policy.

To ensure our car insurance reviews are as useful as possible, we monitor and evaluate 23 data points for each provider. How a provider performs within these parameters determines our final recommendation.

These data points sit within one of the following categories:

  • Level of cover included as standard
  • Customer experience
  • Range of additional extras
  • Industry recognition

When reaching our conclusions about a car insurance provider, these categories are weighted proportionally. For example, we believe the level of cover included as standard by any given policy is the most important factor, as this determines how and when you can make a claim.

Close behind is customer experience. After all, it’s one thing being able to make a claim; it’s another how you’re dealt with when making one.

You may wonder why price isn’t one of the categories. This is because car insurance premiums vary wildly depending on your driving history, your car, your age, and your location. We could look at the average car insurance premiums for each provider; however, even that may be misleading.

While how much a premium costs is likely going to be the deciding factor behind which provider you chose, it shouldn’t be the only thing you take into consideration. That’s why we have structured our reviews to help you look beyond price, and into the nitty gritty of what you are actually covered for.

The car insurance features we prioritise

We consider the most important factors that determine the quality of a car insurance policy to be:

  • Level of cover
  • Range of policies on offer
  • Additional extras
  • How you make a claim
  • Customer service availability
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Industry recognition

Levels of cover

Firstly, does the car insurance provider offer third party, third party, fire and theft, and fully comprehensive cover. We believe you should be able to choose the right level of cover for your needs, whether that’s the legal minimum third party insurance, or a fully comprehensive policy with all the bells and whistles.

Secondly, what does that cover include? For example, can you claim for a chipped windscreen? How much personal accident cover does it provide? Will you get a courtesy car if your vehicle is in the garage?

Range of policies on offer

By flexibility of policies on offer, we mean how much choice you have, aside from just the level of cover.

For example, can you choose the premium level policy that includes breakdown cover as third party-only? Is it possible to get the basic package, but with comprehensive cover rather than just third party, fire and theft?

Additional extras

Part of choice is customisability. This is why we take into account which optional extras you can add onto your policy, as well as which levels of cover include these extras as standard.

You might not want to have to pay for breakdown cover, or motor legal protection. Or, you might see these as essential parts of your car insurance policy. Either way, we believe the ability to choose is important.

How you make a claim

Car insurance exists so that, in the event you have an accident, you can make a claim. How easy it is to make that claim, and how long you have to inform your provider of any incident, is therefore crucial when comparing policies.

Customer service availability

When, and how, you can get in contact with your car insurance provider can be an overlooked aspect of comparing policies. But it shouldn’t be.

Let’s say you struggle to talk over the phone. An insurer that only offers customer service via that method therefore might not be for you. In that instance, you might want to find one that has a live chat option, or a responsive email address. Our reviews provide you with that information up front.

Customer satisfaction

We carefully examine the Trustpilot scores of every provider we review, in order to assess customer satisfaction.

This involves searching for the car insurance-specific comments, and analysing what the most common areas of both positive and negative feedback are for said provider. This can be greatly indicative of what a new customer can expect from the insurer in question.

Industry recognition

Alongside other awards, we look at the Defaqto scores for each policy a provider offers. Defaqto is an industry-recognised product database that assesses and reviews, among other things, car insurance policies. We believe it’s a useful data point to look at, but one that we provide context for by situating it alongside the customer feedback found on Trustpilot.

You can read more about our commitment to editorial impartiality and our editorial code on our About Us page.

Connor Campbell

Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.