Insurance firms must improve the sales standards in their cold-calling operations, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has warned.
Sales practices for cold-calling fell well below standards met on most telephone sales, the watchdog found.
Staff were often inadequately supervised and badly trained, failing to explain the detail of policies to customers.
"Consumers were pressurised and the benefits of the product were sometimes exaggerated," commented the FSA's director of retail Vernon Everitt.
"The bottom line is that firms must never pressurise consumers into making a rushed decision and must always clearly spell out the nature and limitations of the products," he stressed.
Products affected included personal accident insurance, accident and sickness insurance and health cash plans, the investigation found.
"Step back and take all the time you need to make sure the insurance is right for you," Mr Everitt advised customers.
Meanwhile, moneysupermarket.com's head of life insurance, Emma Walker, urged customers to seek professional advice.
"Consumers should read the small print and compare as many policies as possible," she added.
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