Supermarket insurance deals a disappointment

20 February 2007
A decade after the launch of Sainsbury's and Tesco banking offerings, the time has come to make a reckoning, according to moneysupermarket.com director Richard Mason, who found them wanting.

After initial "promises to shake up the marketplace", many supermarket banks went on to offer weak home insurance deals, he argues, with Asda charging twice as much as competitor HomeQuoteDirect for the same cover.

M&S outperforms Asda and Tesco on competitive motor insurance premiums, and all the supermarket banks offer a ten per cent discount for online purchase – but alternative insurers esure are a better bet, with an insurance package 72 per cent cheaper than Tesco's.

On credit cards, the supermarkets fare little better, with not one zero per cent balance transfer deal lasting for more than nine months – in contrast to 18 deals elsewhere on the market which last for 12 months or longer.

"The new supermarket bank entrants forced the conventional players to improve their product offerings" at the start, Mr Mason concludes, but their showing since has been patchy at best.

The UK supermarket sector has suffered another setback recently with the announcement of a Competition Commission inquiry into whether supermarket chains are stifling local competition.

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