Insurance comparison sites

Looking for a new health, car, or home insurance policy? CHOICE's review of comparison websites reveals some hidden catches.
 
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04.Compare the market

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A new entrant to the Australian market, comparethemarket.com.au is known for its “Compare the meerkat” TV campaign, which made it the number one site for car insurance in the UK. It compares health, car, life, and travel insurance.

We have assessed sites using ASIC’s guidelines for financial comparison sites and principles developed by consumer groups (including CHOICE) for electricity comparison websites, as follows:

  • Accuracy Do they clearly disclose the basis of awards or ratings? Do they include all providers or a warning if not all providers are compared?
  • Impartiality What kind of relationship do they have to the product providers on their site?
  • Transparency Do they disclose links to providers including commissions, referral fees, payments for inclusion in comparisons and payments for featured products?
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Accuracy

  • Insurance providers are listed under “Who we compare”; there are nine out of a possible 36 health insurance funds listed and nine car insurers.
  • It is noted several times on the site that they don’t compare every product in the market
  • We’re informed that the top results for car insurance are based on price but no other basis for recommendations is disclosed.

Impartiality

  • Compare the Market is owned by Budget Holdings Limited who also own insurance underwriting giants Auto and General, including brand names such as Budget Direct.
  • Six of the nine car insurance providers are underwritten by sister organisation Auto and General Insurance.
  • Two of the 21 travel insurance brands compared, Budget Direct and 1st For Women, are owned by Auto and General Services (AGS).

Transparency

  • The fine print on Compare the Market’s website discloses that a fee is earned for each policy purchased as a result of the use of the site.
  • It also notes that AGS earns a fee if you purchase the Auto and General insurance brands.

Compare the market say:

Comparethemarket declined to comment for this story.
 

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