Car insurance is essential to protect yourself from the financial risks caused by damaging your car, damaging another person’s property or vehicle, injuring someone with your vehicle, and more.
With so many car insurance providers in the UK, it would be easy to be overwhelmed – and many choose policies based on price alone through comparison websites, when finding an insurer should really be about much more – who offers the best coverage for a reasonable price, who provides an excellent level of customer service, an efficient claims process, and accessible ways to manage policies and make payments.
Bought by Many has revealed the top 10 leading car insurance companies in the UK based on high scores for customer service and complaints handling from financial services review firms including Fairer Finance, as well as the quality of the cover on offer, including additional add-ons. These rankings are based on Bought by Many’s August 2021 data.
1. Direct Line
Direct Line climbs from fourth place in 2020 to take this year’s top spot because of its excellent customer service, individual multi-car discount, and comprehensive policies, particularly business car insurance.
Direct Line Group has multiple brands, products, and distribution channels to give customers various options to protect their cars, homes, pets, businesses, and travel plans. Its car insurance solutions aim to provide affordable but high-quality policies by offering benefits such as a guaranteed hire car, onward travel, and a fair claim commitment.
Admiral is a UK-based insurance company that specialises in car insurance. The insurer leapfrogs almost all other companies in the list, rising from the 10th to second spot. It received an overall rating of 8.9 out of 10 from customer reviews verified by software company Reevoo and gained scores of 9.1 for ease of purchase, 8.9 for clarity of policy information, and 8.7 for value for money.
Admiral’s car insurance is divided into three levels of coverage: comprehensive; third-party only; and third party, fire, and theft. Its comprehensive plan provides the most coverage – covering third party, fire, theft, and the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle if involved in an accident or damaged maliciously. It also has numerous benefits, including windscreen coverage, a courtesy car, and extended cover for policyholders driving overseas.
Aviva was recognised by Bought by Many as one of the best multi-car providers in the UK as it offers up to a 10% multi-car discount. The discount does not apply to optional extras, but customers can insure up to five vehicles under one policy and must be registered at the same address. Its business vehicle insurance was also commended as it provides coverage for people who travel between different locations for work.
Aviva plc is a multinational insurance company that serves over 33 million customers across 16 countries. The levels of its car insurance cover comprise comprehensive as well as third party, fire, and theft insurance.
The comprehensive insurance covers loss or damage to the owner’s vehicle, liability, uninsured drivers, vehicle recovery, driving other cars, legal costs, motor injury, and comes with an individual no claim discount.
John Lewis Finance secures the fourth spot, thanks to its high scores for customer service and complaints handling given by research and rating agency Fairer Finance.
John Lewis Finance has been offering quality financial solutions at competitive prices for over 150 years. Its car insurance offers misfuelling cover, uninsured driver protection, friendly expert services, a courtesy car, onward travel cover, and 90-day European cover. It also allows customers to tweak their policies through optional extras such as legal protection, car breakdown, and a protected no claim discount. Its policies are underwritten by Covea Insurance plc.
Hastings enters this year’s rankings in fifth spot. It is one of UK’s leading general insurance providers, with more than 3.1 million live customer policies and over 3,300 employees in its offices in Bexhill, Leicester, Gibraltar and London. Around 90% of the firm’s policies are directly underwritten by the group’s Gibraltar based insurer, Advantage Insurance Company Limited.
Hastings offers flexible car insurance with several benefits, giving policyholders the freedom to add optional features, including enhanced personal accident cover, breakdown, motor legal expenses, and key protection.
Churchill Insurance was deemed as providing one of the best individual multi-car and business car insurance policies in the UK.
Founded in 1989, Churchill Insurance was among the first direct motor insurance providers in the UK. Its car insurance has a 24-hour emergency helpline, guaranteed repairs for five years if the policyholder uses Churchill-approved repairers, a new vandalism promise, and a courtesy car as standard. It also allows customers to choose among a replacement, upgrade, or money when the car is written off.
Churchill is also well known for its affordable DriveSure telematics insurance policy, which was designed to help young drivers to drive safely and lower their premiums.
Civil Service Insurance Society (CSIS) is a specialist provider for people in the civil service. Of all the insurers considered for the list, it had the best overall customer experience rating. Policyholders report that CSIS’s complaints handling process is outstanding, with a rating of more than 97% customer satisfaction. The insurer recently won a Times Money Mentor Gold Award for customer experience. One key feature of its car insurance products is the availability of interest-free monthly instalments and no administration fees or charges.
Being a not-for-profit organisation, CSIS donates all profits to civil and public service charities through its partner, the CSIS Charity Fund. In the last decade alone, the insurer has donated more than £7 million to various charitable institutions.
8. Bell Insurance
Bell Insurance is part of the Admiral Group. It specialises in car insurance for first-time, safe, and young drivers. The insurer uses “plug-and-drive” black box technology to ensure fair premiums. This telematics system is also open to experienced drivers, helping them reduce premiums through Bell’s safe driver scheme. Bell’s Safe Driver (Plug and Drive) policy has been given a four-star rating out of five by independent financial researcher Defaqto.
9. Age Co
Age Co is known for providing financial products and services for people over 50. It offers car and home insurance, financial services and funeral plans, and independent living solutions.
Age Co’s car insurance line is divided into insurance for the over 60s, insurance for the over 70s, and insurance for the over 80s. Customers can purchase comprehensive, third-party fire and theft, or third-party only coverage.
Available benefits of Age Co’s car insurance policies include a message relay service that allows policyholders to contact a friend or family after an accident, coverage for permanently fitted audio equipment, a Get You Home service, unlimited windscreen cover, motor breakdown cover, and European cover for up to 180 days annually. It also has optional key protection, excess protection, and motor legal protection coverage.
10. Dial Direct
Dial Direct is one of the UK’s largest insurance companies, providing car, van, and home insurance products to more than one million customers. Its policies include a wide range of features and benefits, allowing customers to select a comprehensive insurance product that suits their needs and lifestyle.
Direct Dial’s comprehensive car insurance policy covers for loss or damage caused by accidental or malicious damage, fire, theft or attempted theft, or vandalism. If the insured’s vehicle is involved in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, any excess that they pay will be refunded. A contribution of up to £300 per claim also goes towards the cost of replacing a child’s car seat. The insurer’s car insurance has received a 4.5-star ranking out of five on consumer review website TrustPilot.
(Updated August 26, 2021)