Best customer service for car insurance

For more winners read: The best current accounts - as voted by you

The best credit cards for customer service - as voted by you

Nobody likes splashing out hundreds of pounds every year just to get their car insured. But while it's important to get value for money, it's also important to know that the insurer's service is up to scratch and that if you come to claim, the process is managed smoothly.
Each year we encourage people to tell us about the financial companies they deal with in our Great British Customer Service Survey. Our aim is to identify the companies who look after their customers, so that our users can make sensible decisions when buying insurance or choosing financial service providers.

The survey is currently running so why not let us know how your financial service provider is treating you (and stand the chance to win £1,000 in our prize draw).
This analysis draws some findings from last year's results to help you see which companies are taking their customers seriously. We have only included companies with 30 votes or more to ensure statistical significance.

Setting up the policy

Getting started is often the most painful part with tedious sign-up processes with overwhelming amounts of paperwork to contend with. According to our research the companies who made it easiest to set up the policy were Liverpool Victoria, Saga and Swiftcover.

Value for money
Price is very often people's biggest priority. Again, Liverpool Victoria and Saga policies were considered best value for money with Sheila's Wheels joining them at the top of the table.
Customers of Kwikfit, AXA and HSBC were not so happy and gave these insurers the lowest scores in this category.
Making a claim

While price is important, you need to be confident that your policy will pay out when you need it to. Claims customer service is arguably the most important measure of any insurance company.

Our survey asked readers about the helpfulness of the claims team, the speed of response and whether or not they felt they were treated fairly.
Even though Kwikfit customers weren't thrilled about the price of their cover, they were very happy with the service they received when claiming, with customers voting them on top for all three of these measures.

Liverpool Victoria came second for claims service, with Churchill third for helpfulness and speed and HSBC third for treating customers fairly.

Endsleigh, Privilege and AXA propped up the bottom of the table on these measures.

Best overall

Liverpool Victoria emerged as the best all rounder in the survey, featuring in the top three insurers for each of our car insurance categories.
Vote now in the 2011 survey

For the third year running we're asking you to tell us who deserves to be crowned top for customer service and who should be shown up for shoddy performance.
Now it's your turn to take part in this year's survey and speak out about the financial services you love or hate, and to reward you for your time there's a chance to win £1,000 or one of five £50 shopping vouchers.
The results

Find out how your car insurer fared in our survey. The table below shows average scores out of 10 across a range of categories from value of money to fairness and helpfulness of claims team.

  Number of votes Setting up the policy score Value for money score Helpfulness of claims team score Speed of response score Were you treated fairly score
AA 166 7.97 7.86 7.82 7.73 7.64
Admiral 185 8.21 7.83 8.56 8.06 8.59
AXA 59 7.4 7.25 7.29 7.57 7.57
Churchill 249 8.4 7.95 8.86 8.64 8.61
Direct Line 333 8.13 7.78 8.46 8.38 8.35
Endsleigh 47 8 7.75 7 6.29 7.43
Esure 141 7.91 7.61 8.55 8.58 8.48
HSBC 32 7.83 7.43 8.27 8.55 8.73
Kwikfit 44 7.41 6.88 9.67 9.67 9.67
LV= 253 8.64 8.46 9.02 8.87 8.89
More Th>n 144 7.76 7.78 8.03 8.14 8.09
Norwich Union (now Aviva) 185 8.1 7.78 8.42 8.26 8.27
Post Office 76 8.08 7.82 8.5 8.4 7.7
Privilege 67 7.52 7.54 7.45 7.09 7.45
RIAS 63 8.38 7.84 8.13 8.5 8.13
Saga 290 8.54 8.29 7.89 7.8 7.8
Sheila's Wheels 114 8.15 8.22 7.33 7.11 8.5
Swiftcover 152 8.52 8.14 8.05 8.11 7.83
Swinton 110 7.46 7.54 8.46 8.62 8.15
Tesco 147 8.22 7.85 8.14 8.38 8
Zurich 131 8.37 8.05 7.96 8.08 8.08


Your Comments

Really surprised that the A. A. came out on top. We took out both Car Insce. & Breakdown last year. Now we have just had our renewal for the Breakdown & they had kept our payment details from last year & if we don't contact them before the due date they will be taking £155.25 out of our account. It took me 20 mins. on the phone, & I asked them to take all our details of thieir records. I feel this is completely wrong, they should ask if you want to continue then renew. We have told them because of their actions we will never go with them again. Also, we asked for conformation that they had destroyed all our details from their files & to confirm in writing that this has been done. Well, we have been waiting for over a week, no surprise, no letter.
Very disappointed with their service.
D. Cooksey.

In successive years the AA has significantly upped my breakdown annual renewal costs but on each occasion when challenged they have dropped the price to about that of first-time customers. I've explained by way of background that I've been with them for the best part of 40 years and that that ought to put me at least on parity with new customers. It certainly pays to ensure that a) they are not allowed to simply renew automatically (most insurers like to so that they can up the price) and b) if you are not happy, to say so. They then have the choice of lowering the charge or losing your custom.

Staggered at the LV score for speed. My last experience with them was that it took over a month for their expert to confirm my car was damaged. I had to rent all through and it cost nearly three times my premium! Never again.

The AA didn't come out on top. They're just the first on the list alphabetically!

Aaron Aardvaark

please tell Guest that the AA came out on top beacause the list is sorted alphabetically! They were 18th if one gives equal weighting to each category.

Some years ago, I took out a policy with the AA and specified what conditions I wanted, excess etc. Everything was clearly stated on the covernote but when policy documents were received, everything was completely different. When I complained, they suggested I write to the company and ask if they would consider changing the policy. My reply was that as I had paid monthly, I would cancel the policy and direct debit immediately. Later they sent me a bill for time on risk. My response was that they were lucky to have got what money they had off me and if they wanted to persue the matter, I would go to court and state that they had obtained the business under false pretences and ensure that they were given as much publicity as possible. Their high street shop closed shortly afterwards!

Having offered an excellent premium last year, Saga wrote to say that they would automatically renew [and a more-than doubled premium] unless I told them not to, 10 days in advance of the renewal date. So I rang in good itme to tell them not to - had no effect - they tried to anyway - only the fact that I had changed credit card prevented the money being taken - then they had the cheek to ask for the return of the cover note which I didn't want but they'd sent anyway. I pointed out that it would have been easier to comply with my instructions not to send, and refused to return it until I received a reply-paid envelope. Not impressed.

For car insurance the AA finds the best insurance company for your needs based on the information you give them.  Therefore they act as a broker not as an insurance company.


We go for Aviva (Norwich Union) because when my car was reversed into by someone - also insured with then N.U. through their Ford Scheme - they did a very good repair job (after my hassling their repairer) and when someone hit it with a trailer they ended up repainting the whole car due to paint mismatch.

My partner got her car written off - white van man yapping to his mate - and they immediately paid up generously, their legal services people also getting her a good result for injuries.

Admitted, not so good as when India dealt with renewals, as staff now seem to care little. The only way (if you are local) is to go to the 'marble hall' and decline to leave until someone deals with the matter.

They have also been sympathetic to older drivers. One tip. Avoid the internet comparison sites unless you use a magnifying glass to read the policy carefully: beware, you may not get what you thought in the name of 'competitive premium'.

I have just renewed my insurance, with a substantial hike in premiums from my previous provider, i shopped around.
I received an alleged "confirmed quote" in writing from the AA of £568 which was not the cheapest, but the best value for money. Upon calling them and giving them the reference number and code they quoted me in excess of £900, i explained i had a confirmed quote in writing from them of £568, not once, but twice in two letters. I immediately went on the offensive, they became defensive, they uttered all manner of excuses for a rise of over 65% in what was a confirmed quote which i had, twice, in writing.

I have complained about such misrepresentation as this is clearly what it is, and the complaint is proceeding.

My moral is simple, avoid the AA and any other company employing such deceipt.

I'm surprised The co-operative insurance isn't on the list although I see they are nominated elsewhere

always pay any insurance due with a cheque.ALWAYS

I'm 59 with max ncb, own a 3 door 2008 Mitsubishi Colt CZ1 (superb car) which I park on my drive, I've got a fully comp policy, with voluntary excess of £250, guaranteed no claims bonus protection and legal help for £215 this year, £30 more than my first year (last year) with The Pru, who are underwritten by Churchill, the strange thing is Churchill's own quote was more than The Pru's...Aviva was £200 more than The Pru with 3 months free and the AA was almost £100 more...think I will be staying with The Pru until further notice

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