Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2016: The winners: Insurance
For the eighth year in a row, we’ve asked readers of Moneywise magazine and Moneywise.co.uk to share their experiences, good and bad, to find the most trustworthy financial companies in the UK.
This year, more than 24,000 people took the time to share their experiences and to score firms. For more information on how the awards work, see our Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2016 page.
So without further ado, meet the most trusted insurance providers in the UK in 2016.
Also see the Moneywise Awards results for:
Most trusted insurer
Winner: Liverpool Victoria
Readers judged more than 100 insurance companies and brands in this year’s awards, and LV= was the overall winner. The mutual was praised across the board, for the price of its policies, the quality of cover, clear communications and customer service teams.
In a nutshell: “A trustworthy, financial firm, offering a good range of products which are good value for money.”
Most trusted health insurance provider
Winner: CS healthcare
Highly commended: Benenden
CS Healthcare is only available to people who work or have links with people in the public sector. And like CSIS, those who qualify for it love the service they receive.
“CS Healthcare provided a speedy settlement, sympathetic treatment and a good level of cover,” reports one reader who had to make a claim.
Benenden was highly commended in this category, for “great customer service and, dedicated advisers” and being “always happy to help”.
Most trusted home insurance provider
Winner: NFU Mutual
Highly commended: The Co-operative Insurance
In the world of home insurance, NFU Mutual has a reputation for being expensive. Several of its customers said they could have got a cheaper policy elsewhere, but they trust NFU to pay them when it matters.
One customer, who signed up off the back of several personal recommendations says: “I have heard nothing but praise for this company and how they deal with disasters. They are more expensive but I believe you get what you pay for in this instance.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, for a body founded by the National Farmers Union, it’s particularly good for people in rural areas too, claims one reader.
The Co-operative ranked second among home insurers, largely for competitive quotes, though a few customers were won over with a £50 voucher sign-up offer.
Best provider for contents insurance
Highly commended: Legal & General
Endsleigh might specialise in cover for students, but it was the stand-out insurer for renters who only wish to cover their property’s contents.
Endsleigh differentiates itself from its peers by offering particularly flexible policies, and is helpful to people who live in shared accommodation.
Runner-up Legal & General was commended for its value for money and quality of cover – but more than one reader warned the renewal quote shouldn’t be accepted without trying to haggle first.
Most trusted car insurance provider
Highly commended: NFU Mutual
You need to work in the public sector or have access to the public sector to use CSIS (the Civil Service Insurance Society), but if you can get a foot in the door you’ll be grateful that you did.
As in previous years, CSIS scored highly, and it was the overall winner for most trusted car insurer.
Even highly regarded insurers usually attract a snide comment or two about renewal quotes, but not CSIS: “I’ve found over the years I cannot find the same cover at the same price from any other provider,” as one person puts it.
NFU Mutual was our runner-up for car insurance, but was praised for its quality of insurance generally. One reader says: “I deal with this company for all aspects of insurance to do with home, car, travel, pets etc. because I can go to a little office and speak to real people who can advise and reassure me.”
Most trusted travel insurance provider
Highly commended: Staysure
Specialist travel insurer Holiday Safe has the respect of hundreds of Moneywise readers, and the highest overall scores in its category.
Competitive quotes and quality cover are a given, but what most impressed customers was how retired travellers, and people with pre-existing conditions weren’t made to feel like misfits during the application process. “There’s a comprehensive section regarding pre-existing medical conditions,” a reader explains.
“My wife and I have three pre-existing conditions between us and it never loaded the premium,” says another.
Staysure is highly commended for its a simple, cost-effective proposition. “It’s always been very easy to deal with and offers a four-star package at a reasonable price,” as one puts it.
Most trusted pet insurance provider
Winner: Animal Friends
Highly commended: Sainsbury’s Bank
Animal Friends has a remarkable level of support among its customers, who clearly feel their furry friends are in safe hands: “My cocker spaniel unexpectedly developed acute pancreatitis. The quick thinking of my vet, who recognised what was happening, saved her life.
“Animal Friends took care of everything (other than the excess on the policy). Payment was quick. I can’t praise them enough,” says one reader. Policyholders also like the fact that a proportion of premiums goes to good causes.
Sainsbury’s Bank ranks second. Though several insurers have stopped covering pets in recent years, Sainsbury’s has made a concerted effort to increase the range of products it offers to cat and dog owners.
Most trusted life insurance provider
Winner: Liverpool Victoria
Highly commended: Pru Vitality
The insurer formerly known as Liverpool Victoria, LV= took gold in this category.
Some customers felt that as LV= is owned by its policy holders, it’s capable of delivering better service at lower prices. “I tend to trust mutuals in general, but LV= in particular because of the quality of its call-centre staff. It is easier to trust a company that deals with you in a timely and competent manner.”
In second place is Pru Vitality, which has been grabbing attention with rewards for good behaviour. Fancy cinema tickets as a reward for doing more exercise? Plenty of readers did!
Most trusted insurance comparison site
Winner: Top Cashback
Highly commended: CompareTheMarket
Comparison sites scored highly generally in this year’s awards, but sites that boasted extra cashback on top were the real winners this year.
TopCashback scored top, convincing readers it’s the best place to buy insurance, once the cashback is taken into account.
“I will always search the main comparison sites for their best deal and then go to TopCashback to see if I can buy through them,” was representative of lots of readers’ opinions.
In a closely fought contest, CompareTheMarket beat cashback site Quidco to the Highly Commended Award.
See the winners and runner-ups for:
Generally thought of as being interchangeable with life assurance, but isn’t. Life insurance insures you for a specific period of time, at a premium fixed by your age, health and the amount the life is insured for. If you die while the policy is in force, the insurance company pays the claim. However, if you survive to the end of the term or cease paying the premiums, the policy is finished and has no remaining value whatsoever as it only has any value if you have a claim. For this reason, life insurance is much cheaper than life assurance (also called whole of life).
This is more usually a feature of car insurance but it can also crop up in contents, mobile phone and pet insurance policies. An excess is the amount of money you have to pay before the insurance company starts paying out. The excess makes up the first part of a claim, so if your excess is £100 and your claim is for £500, you would pay the first £100 and the insurer the remaining £400. Many online insures let you set your own excess, but the lower the excess, the more expensive the premium will be.
Does exactly what it says on the tin: covers the contents of your home for theft and damage and also may insure certain possessions (jewellery, cycles) outside of the home. Things to watch for include the excess and also the maximum payout on individual items. Another grey area is kitchen fittings, as some contents policies say these are not contents but part of the fabric of the property and covered by buildings insurance and some buildings policies don’t cover them because they regard them as contents.