People who rely on only one price comparison website when looking for insurance, loan or credit card offers may miss out on the best deal, research by the consumer finance magazine Which? Money has found.
Which? tested the three largest price comparison websites – Moneysupermarket.com, Gocompare.com and Confused.com – for home contents, travel and car insurance
as well as loan and credit card
quotes in order to find out how the deals they offered compared and how useful each one of them was to find the most appropriate deal.
In most cases each website came up with a different cheapest quote: for instance, the cheapest home contents policy cost £51 on Gocompare.com compared to £71 on Confused.com. Moneysupermarket.com offered the cheapest standard-rate credit card at 6.8 per cent APR – much lower than Gocompare.com's cheapest deal which offered 12.9 per cent APR.
Going one step further, the consumer finance magazine also found that some insurers offered a cheaper quote when the product was bought directly through their website.
A home contents policy offered by Bradford & Bingley, for instance, cost £68 on their own website, while Moneysupermarket.com quoted £72, Confused.com £83 and Gocompare.com as much as £100.Which?
Money also realized that a true comparison between the three sites and the quotes they gave was impossible, and that consumers had to do a lot of extra work to find the best deal for their particular situation.
Each one of the comparison sites asks different questions on which the quote is based, and shows different product features. Therefore, in order to be completely sure about the product consumers need to visit the providers' own websites to check details such as the excess they would have to pay in the event of a claim.
In other cases the cheapest quote is not really what a particular consumer needs, as it does not provide as much cover as other policies or does not offer optional extras.
Martyn Hocking, editor at Which? Money, commented: "With such an array of financial products to choose from, it can be tempting to turn to a price comparison site to do the legwork for you.
"But you might be very confused to find that different sites can give you vastly different quotes and often don't give enough information for you to make an informed choice", he warned.
"You need to use two or three comparison sites and check directly with providers to get the best quote, and remember that cheapest isn’t always best – it’s a false economy if you don’t get enough cover for your needs or have to pay a huge excess if you claim."
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