Comparison sites vs going direct

Should I go direct for car insurance?

The benefits of going direct to insurance providers

Buying insurance can be complicated, which is why many Britons use price comparison sites to find the best deal. But, are you actually getting the best deal? It might seem like you're saving time and money, but sometimes the deals aren't as cost-effective as you might think. Learn some of the benefits of going direct when buying car insurance.

Shaking hands and car

Do price comparison sites offer the best deal?

Price comparison websites work by giving you a list of quotes for the product you want to buy – in this case car insurance. You search for what you want and the deals that match your search terms show up on the screen, with the 'best deals' near the top.

But there are several reasons why these deals aren't always the best ones.

  • Sponsored Deals Some price comparison sites are sponsored by insurers, which means they'll put deals from those insurers near the top of their listings. Keep an eye out for badges or stickers with 'sponsored' on the listing as this might not be the best price on offer.
  • Complete Searches Price comparison sites don't always scan the entire market, and different sites have different algorithms, which means they'll each give you different search results – so you might not be seeing all the deals available.
  • Assumptions Price comparison sites might make assumptions about you and the kind of insurance you need. When you search on a comparison site, make sure you've given details like your age, job, and address as these can all affect your insurance costs. If you get a deal that doesn't include these, you might end up paying more for your cover.
  • Hidden Costs The deals displayed on price comparison sites might not be as cheap as they seem. Quotes with low premiums might be at the top, but the excess you'll have to pay could be very high, and you might not be able to afford the cost if you need to claim.
  • No Frills Cover The cheapest deals may not have enough cover for your needs. The lowest premium and an affordable excess is cheap upfront, but you might not be covered for accidental damage and end up paying for the damage yourself – which can be expensive. Always compare the insurance policies as well as the price.

Going direct to an insurer

Finding the perfect insurance quote for your budget isn't always easy, and sometimes you won't find them on a price comparison site.

  • Insurers may only show some of their deals on comparison sites, and these can be the cheapest quotes with no extra levels of cover. If you go to the insurer direct, you might find they have competitive deals with comprehensive cover available.
  • If you find a few deals that look attractive on one or more price comparison sites, don't take for granted that they're the best on offer. If you call up the insurer directly, they might even offer you a better deal for your trouble.
  • Some insurers aren't on comparison sites at all, so you won't know what deals they offer and whether they're suitable for you unless you contact them directly.

AA comprehensive insurance has a number of benefits over third party, fire and theft. And if you buy direct, the AA also gives the guarantee of a courtesy car if your car is in for repairs, written off, or stolen – a useful extra that you won't find on any price comparison websites.

Learn more about the car insurance we provide, including the policies only available directly through the AA.

We also have a guide to car insurance jargon that can help you understand what you buy.

Car insurance for £250 or less

That's what 10% of our new customers pay*

* Survey of new business sales from, November 2023 to January 2024. Prices based on comprehensive cover only.