When comparing insurance quotes, mind the cover gap

Get a quote for:

Go!

When you’re searching around for the right insurance deal, and getting a variety of quotes, it’s easy to assume that after inputting certain details you’ll be comparing like-for-like cover when the

weighing up risk and cost

results come back. However, it’s a mistake to assume this is the case. Many homeowners find out to their regret on making a claim that the home insurance they thought they had isn’t as comprehensive as they would have liked, with lower claim limits than they need. Here are the main reasons a cover gap can appear.

  • Generic policies

Problems often arise because of the generic results thrown up by comparison sites. While such sites are a great resource for being able to compare lots of different deals, problems can occur with ‘generic’ policies being offered. These are policies which are of a one-size-fits-all type: You may have requested certain cover limits and extras, but when the search ‘scrapers’ push your information through to providers’ websites, this information is then partially ignored or rejected and a quote comes back simply for a standard policy which doesn’t take into account everything you asked for.

  •  Cover limits with comparison site quotes

It may be that during your comparison search you requested a maximum claim limit of £60,000 for the contents element of your cover, for example. However, it might be that some insurers offer a much higher, or even lower, claim limit for contents as standard. If it’s a higher sum, at least you’ll be completely covered, but you might be comparing it to policies which specifically take your £60,000 limit into account, which may affect the premiums. In other words, it’s not a fair comparison. If the maximum claim limit on the policy is lower as standard, and therefore the search result doesn’t take into account the £60,000 limit you need, then although the quote might cost less than others, again the comparison wouldn’t be fair. Worse still, you’d end up under-insuring yourself. However, if you were to approach the insurer directly, or use an insurance broker, you could be surer that the quotes take into account the claim limits you’ve set. Or at least be clearly told that an insurer might have a higher claim limit than you actually need, which could affect cost.

  • Optional extras online

Many standard policies will differ to a small degree, which might not matter a great deal when it comes to the sorts of claims most people have to make. But if the difference is that a whole area of cover is missing, such as being insured when you’re away from home, or excludes home emergency cover, and you wanted both to be included, then the ramifications can be very serious indeed. Again, it’s a case of the results coming back without taking into account everything you asked for, but the buyer assuming they have; so you won’t be comparing like for like and if you take out a policy, it might not include what you need.

  • Check the small print

All of the above issues generally become a problem because people don’t read the terms and conditions as closely as they should. One answer is to go through a broker, rather than simply relying on online generated results. While many brokers also offer you the chance to compare quotes using a comparison site, you can usually (although you’re often given the choice) follow it up with a phone call to speak to someone to discuss your cover, or the broker will call you. Additionally, brokers give you the chance to tailor a policy more specifically to your needs, reducing the chance there’ll be a cover gap when compared to buying cover purely through an online process and the generic policies that can come with that.

  • Price problems

Not only could you end up with a policy that either doesn’t quite match your cover needs, or in fact comes nowhere near it, but you’ll not be comparing prices in a fair way. You might go for the cheapest policy that appears in a long list of results simply for that reason; it’s the cheapest. But if you don’t realise that the scope of the cover can be different between policies, you might end up paying a higher price; for example, you might eventually find out you can’t claim for items stolen from your garden, or there are severely restrictive clauses when it comes to claiming for storm and flood damage.

Policy Expert

We help our customers to compare insurance products and find a policy that’s right for them. Customer care is at the heart of everything we do and we have a dedicated customer service team on hand by phone, email, twitter and instant chat. For more information speak to one of our experts on 0203 014 9300 or email ask@policyexpert.co.uk

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.