Specialist insurers may not be the most cost effective

30 November 2007
Consumers are being warned that firms offering specialist motor insurance such as cover for elderly motorists or women-only can be far more expensive than high street names.

Research by Moneysupermarket.com has revealed that premiums for specialist insurers often vary between 30 and 100 per cent more than other companies indicating that insurers marketing themselves as ‘women-only’ or specialists for the elderly are not automatically the best value option for these consumers.

Analysis from the price comparison site has shown that by opting for specialist insurance means motorists could be missing out on a better best deal. For Example, a 60-year-old man with a Focus, Astra or Megane would pay an average of £117.70 with Swiftcover which is around 33 per cent less than cheapest specialist Saga at £156.50. The average RIAS quote is £237.40 – or more than double Swiftcover.

Richard Mason Director of insurance at moneysupermarket.com explains: "Older drivers generally find their cars cheaper to insure, so this gives more scope for insurers to claim they offer better value. But our research has found elderly motorists shouldn't rely on specialist insurers. It definitely pays to scour all of the market for the best cover for your needs."

Things are no different for women-only insurers. A 30-year-old woman with a Focus, Astra or Megane will find the cheapest women-only brands will quote her about £223 compared to traditional provider Swiftcover at an average of £172, or 30 per cent less. Specialist insurer Diamond averages £330 or over 90 per cent more.

Richard Mason continues: "Specialist insurers such as Sheilas' Wheels, Ladybird and Diamond promote themselves heavily to women as the value alternative, catering specifically for their needs. But our research clearly shows it pays to shop around for premiums across the whole of market. While these insurers may sometimes come up trumps for women, chances are they will be beaten on premiums by the bigger, better known brands.

"Some specialist insurers do offer extra benefits, such as handbag cover, half-price MOT or free mobile phone and connection, but women should not be swayed by female-friendly adverts for cheaper car insurance. Instead, assess whether the extras are beneficial to you and let the premiums speak for themselves."

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