John Lewis Car Insurance lets you take to the road with confidence. Their cable car policy has a 5 Star Defaqto Rating and includes a courtesy car and windshield cover as standard, plus guaranteed repairs by their approved mender network. Get a quote from John Lewis here
Top 3 Car Insurance Companies
Rest of the Best
In this guide
- Why are these the best car insurance companies?
- What makes a good car insurance policy?
- The best car insurance companies for customer service
- The cheapest car insurance providers
- The best multi-car insurance providers
- The best car insurance for over-50s
- The best car hire excess insurance
- The best temporary car insurance
- The best business car insurance
- All car insurance reviews
Why are these the best car insurance companies?
To inform our decision, we’ve collected the latest information about nearly 50 car insurers from independent expert review site Fairer Finance. Rather than rate these companies on price (buyers can use price-comparison sites like GoCompare for this), we used expert research to determine the quality of both the cover and service provided by each provider.
The key metrics we considered were:
- The level of coverage offered by each insurer’s best car insurance product (represented by a ‘Product Rating’ out of 5). We selected only insurers whose Product Ratings for their highest level of coverage was at least 4 out of 5.
- Each insurer’s Customer Experience rating (out of 100), an aggregate of scores for customer happiness, trust, transparency and complaints handling. We only selected insurers with a Customer Experience rating of 60 or above.
Additionally, we only considered insurers who could offer the following:
- At least £500 cover for lost keys
- Courtesy car for the duration of repairs
- New car replacement
- A windscreen repair excess of no more than £25
The insurers that scored the highest across these metrics have been featured in our ‘Best Insurers’ list above. We’ve excluded two high-scoring companies, due to the restrictions placed on the cover they provide. BMW Insurance caters almost exclusively to drivers of BMW vehicles, while Toyota Car Insurance seems to primarily cater to Toyota owners. Check out our detail reviews at the bottom of the page for more information on the individual providers. Looking for breakdown cover? Check out our definitive list of the best breakdown companies instead.
What makes a good car insurance policy?
There are several factors you should consider when looking for car insurance; doing so will help you see past prices and better understand the true value that different providers can offer you. However, unlike other insurance lines (which might have one key element of cover that differs between providers), the core coverage with car insurance is almost identical between different insurers. For example, pet insurance often has a vet fee limit that varies from provider to provider, while travel insurance can have medical cost limits that differ by millions of pounds, but car insurance is largely confined to three levels of cover that are standard across the board: comprehensive, fire and theft, and third-party cover. This means that consumers will need to look at other policy features, reviews and price to make a decision. Not all policy features we’ve highlighted might be relevant to you but they’re a good guide to start with. Others might be things like vandalism cover, cover for medical expenses or a fair claim commitment. It’s also worth looking at review sites to see the experience of other car owners and whether their claims are being paid in a reasonable time. And unlike other insurance lines — where you often get what you pay for — factors like price and rewards (such as Nectar points) might play more of a role in deciding which company is best for you. Here are some key things to look out for:
- Levels of excess — The excess is the amount you need to contribute towards a claim before your insurer will cover the rest. Some cheaper policies come with a high level of excess, which can be costlier than paying a higher premium. You can mitigate these costs by insuring your excess.
- Windscreen cover — Pays for your windscreen to be repaired or replaced if it gets damaged. It’s included as standard with premium insurers such as John Lewis, but you’ll have to pay extra on most cheap policies.
- Driving multiple cars — Many people assume that if they have comprehensive insurance they are automatically covered to drive other people’s cars, but that is not necessarily the case. Read the terms of your policy carefully to make sure you are insured for driving cars other than your own.
- Accelerated No Claims — Some companies offer what they call Accelerated No-Claims. This means you can claim a 12-month no claims discount after only 10 months on the road. However, the catch here is that often this only applies if you stick with the company for another year. For some, this will work out well, but it’s worth doing your research. In most cases, loyalty is not rewarded when it comes to car insurance, so, even with the no claims discount, you may be better off elsewhere.
For other motor insurance, check out our guides to van and motorcycle cover. If you’re buying a new car you may be interested in our guide to GAP insurance.
The best car insurance companies for customer service
CSIS is a specialist provider for people in the civil service. Of all the insurers we considered, it had the best overall Customer Experience rating. Policyholders report that CSIS’s complaints handling process is outstanding, with a rating of more than 97% customer satisfaction. Additionally, CSIS recently won a Times Money Mentor Gold Award for customer experience. John Lewis also ranked highly for its customer happiness rating and overall customer experience scores. Fairer Finance awarded it a high rating in its expert review, citing the brand’s high level of trustworthiness and strong customer happiness score. Direct Line is another brand that has a good reputation for its customer service. It was awarded a Silver Ribbon by Fairer Finance for its strong complaints performance. It also performs well on user review sites; on Trustpilot, for example, Direct Line is rated 4.3 out of 5, with 64% of customers describing its service as ‘Excellent’.
The cheapest car insurance providers
Those seeking the cheapest annual premiums can get good deals on their car insurance, providing they’re content with certain features missing from their policy which may be available from premium insurers. You can find out the average cost of UK car insurance today in our guide. To find the cheapest car insurance available in the UK, we ran quotes from a selection of leading comparison sites. We used a 2021 Vauxhall Corsa, as it’s a Group 1 car; the cheapest group for car insurance premiums. We searched for comprehensive cover for a 27-year-old male with a clean driving record living in the North West of England. The car was a five-door hatchback with an estimated value of £15,000. Please note that we received these quotes in March 2021 and insurers frequently change their prices, so the company that is the cheapest when you run your own quotes may differ.
Cheapest Money Supermarket quotes
On Money Supermarket, the cheapest quote was with Admiral, with an annual premium of just £263.20. This policy included a £150 compulsory excess and a £250 voluntary excess. Personal injury, windscreen cover and a courtesy car were all included as standard. Breakdown cover was available as an optional extra from £44.95 and legal cover was available for an additional £24.95. Elephant and Diamond — subsidiaries of the Admiral Group — were close behind with all the same cover for £264.32 and £265.44 respectively.
Cheapest GoCompare quotes
On GoCompare, the cheapest available quote was also from Admiral, this time for £290.08. This policy included a £150 compulsory excess and a £250 voluntary excess. Personal injury cover and a courtesy car were both included as standard.
Cheapest Compare the Market quotes
On Compare the Market, Admiral again came in as the cheapest insurer with a quote of £322.56 for an annual premium. This policy included a £150 compulsory excess and a £250 voluntary excess. Personal injury cover and a courtesy car were both included as standard. LV= was more expensive at £408.46 but had a cheaper compulsory excess (£100) and offered one of the cheapest options to add motor legal protection (£25.99 for the year).
Is cheap car insurance worth it?
While it’s often made clear what isn’t covered on a cheap car insurance policy, budget premiums can come back to bite in other ways. Many customers who have bought the cheapest policies claim they’ve been hit with extra admin charges and “surprise” fees when trying to make a claim or change their car mid-contract. Paying more for your car insurance can actually save you money in the long run. Comprehensive policies from big-name companies like John Lewis and Direct Line may have higher premiums, but could be better value over time because you won’t need to pay additional fees for things not covered on budget policies. For example, More Than comprehensive car insurance policy includes personal accident cover of up to £5,000 and windscreen cover as standard, both of which are not typically included in cheaper policies. They’ll even cover the cost of replacing a child car seat if it’s damaged in an accident. It’s also worth noting that cheap insurers typically have a poorer claims service, so when you do need to claim, it’s more difficult to get the compensation you need.
The pros and cons of car insurance comparison sites
With the rise in popularity of comparison sites, many people look for the cheapest price when choosing an insurance provider, believing it to be the best deal. However, that is often not the case. In reality, comparison sites come with several pros and cons.
- The good: more competition — Comparison websites such as Go Compare, Confused and MoneySuperMarket have brought positive changes for consumers. They’ve created competition between car insurance providers, resulting in prices coming down, and made customer reviews of the different brands more readily available.
- The bad: more bad car insurance policies —
Car insurance companies NOT on comparison sites
You can find some of the best deals on car insurance by going directly to some insurers. Policies from these car insurance companies are not available on comparison sites:
How to get cheaper car insurance
1. Renew a few weeks ahead
Research by MoneySavingExpert has found that drivers can get the best quote for their cover 20-26 days before their existing policy ends or renews. This seems to be the sweet spot for people who are shopping around ahead of renewal. Some companies let you lock in a quote 30 to 60 days ahead of your renewal. If you find a good price you could save it and then check again 21 days before renewal and choose the quote that is cheapest.
2. Shop around
It always pays to shop around and call your insurer to negotiate your price on renewal. Insurers can have a ‘standard’ discount that they will apply if you call them. It also may help if you’ve found cheaper quotes for the same level of cover from other providers, adding weight to your negotiation.
3. Comprehensive is often cheaper for experienced drivers
Some drivers have also found comprehensive policies are offered to them cheaper than third party cover because the insurer believes they will be less of a risk. Some young drivers may find it’s cheaper to get black box car insurance.
4. Get a multi-car discount
Many of the companies on our list of the best car insurers offer online or multi-car discounts, which can lower your premium for each vehicle. For example, every car added to Admiral’s MultiCar policies gets an additional discount, and LV= claims its customers can save up to 20% by insuring multiple cars at once.
5. Choose a car in a low insurance group
One final element that affects the price of your cover is the group your car belongs to. Vehicles in Group 1 are usually the cheapest to insure, with premiums getting costlier the higher you go. You can learn more about car insurance groups in our in-depth guide.
The best multi-car insurance providers
If you have more than one car that you’d like to insure, there are several insurers that will offer discounts if you add multiple vehicles to your policy. Admiral claims that customers who take out one of its MultiCar policies can save as much as £240 on their insurance, as well as plenty of time. This is based on 10% of customers who gave a best alternative quote. On MultiCar, you get discounts for every car you add to the policy. Plus, you’ll only have one renewal date for all of your vehicles together and each car still earns its own no claims bonus. LV= also offers multi-car insurance to its customers. For new customers buying via the same channel: 27.3% would have saved 20% vs. multiple single policies Jun to Sep ’21. LV= lets you add up to 6 cars and 12 drivers to one policy; add them all together or one by one when it’s convenient. You can also choose specific levels of cover and optional extras for each vehicle. Aviva’s MultiCar insurance is another good option. You can add up to 5 cars to your policy and save 10% for every additional vehicle, provided they’re all registered at the same address. You’ll also earn a no claims discount for each vehicle, so if one has an accident, it won’t affect the rest. Please note that discounts do not apply to optional add-ons. If you have a lot of cars you need to insure together, Direct Line might be the best choice. With Direct Line, you can add up to 10 cars per household. You’ll also get an introductory discount and a discount for every additional car you choose to insure. Like other insurers, you can also maintain individual no claims for each car.
What to consider when selecting a multi-car policy
The first thing you should do when considering a multi-car policy is to make sure it will actually save you money. In some cases, it can still be cheaper to buy individual policies for each car. The level of savings will depend on your personal circumstances but mainly relate to the age and model of the cars being insured and your driving experience. For example, adding an 18-year-old who has just passed his test onto the same policy as a 50-year-old with a nine-year no claims bonus may not result in a saving. It may be better for a new driver to look at companies that specialise in young drivers or black box insurance. Multi-car insurance comparison can be difficult because you may not be able to see rates for multi policies on price comparison sites. However, we recommend shopping around; first, look for individual policies for each car and then compare a range of multi-car quotes by considering the following factors:
- Discount — the savings offered for insuring more than one car with an insurer. Sometimes this is a fixed discount or it can be linked to the number of cars you add to the policy.
- Matched no claims bonus — this part of a multi-car policy allows you to apply the longest no claims bonus of a vehicle being insurers to both cars. Not all companies offer it. It can add extra savings, but check whether the no claims bonus of both cars will be affected if either car is involved in an accident.
- Separate claims records — a multi-car policy with a separate claims record ensures that if a car is involved in an accident it will only be logged on that vehicle’s record. That means it won’t impact the no-claims bonus of the other car on the policy.
- Adjustable levels of cover — find out whether you can set different cover or excess levels for each car on the policy. If all the drivers are a similar age and drive comparable models, this may not be much of an issue for you, but flexibility may be desirable for some households.
- Start dates — It may be the case that one person already has a policy with a company and wants to add another car to receive the multi-car discount. Some firms insist that all cars have the same policy start date, while others allow separate start dates. If you need to have the same start date, check if your provider (especially if it’s the same company you’re starting a multi-car policy with) will provide a refund for any of the current policy you are not going to use. And make sure you never have any gaps in cover.
The best over-50s car insurance
Post Office Money
Post Office Money’s Over 50s car insurance cover includes a number of features that make it a stand-out policy for senior drivers. On its comprehensive cover, Post Office Money will refund your excess if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, and if you’re not at fault, you won’t lose your no claims discount. Windscreen cover is included with no excess payable for glass repairs. You’ll also get personal belongings covered for up to £500 if they’re lost or damaged following an accident. Finally, you’ll get a 3-year guarantee on repairs carried out by Post Office-approved repairers.
Saga is another notable insurer for senior drivers. It’s a specialist dedicated to providing high levels of cover for over 50s. Saga’s premium car insurance product, Saga Plus comes with a 3-year fixed price and includes features that are usually only available as additional extras on most policies. These include key cover and even legal protection to help you recover uninsured losses (including lost earnings) if the legal team believes your case can be won. RIAS’s Over 50s car insurance includes windscreen cover as standard. It’s well regarded by customers, garnering a rating of 4.4 out of 5 based on over 4,600 reviews on Trustpilot as of March 2021. Age Co is an award-winning insurance provider for over 50s. There’s no upper age limit on policies unlike some other providers, and your no claims discount is protected as standard (which is often an optional extra). You’ll also get a guaranteed courtesy car if you opt for a comprehensive policy.
Can over-50s get cheaper car insurance?
The good news is that drivers who are over 50 should get affordable car insurance quotes wherever they get cover. Insurers base their premiums on driving experience, which over 50s are likely to have a lot of. If you have built up a long no claims bonus you’re in a good position to get one of the best car insurance rates. According to recent research carried out by Compare the Market, 50% of over-50s could achieve a premium of just £304 for their car insurance (based on market data from November 2020). That’s less than half the price of the average car insurance premium, which now stands at £707 per year (based on Compare the Market Premium Drivers Report December 2020). The figures also look good for people in their 60s. Confused.com’s Car Insurance Price Index report found that in Q4 2020, the average quote for a 67-year-old was just £454. However, for those aged 70 and above, prices may start to creep back up. You’ll also need to renew your licence every three years. Don’t forget to update it with any medical conditions that have occurred since the last time you renewed it. If you’re in your 80s, you may find your car insurance options are limited. Thankfully, companies like LV= don’t have an upper age limit on their over-50s car insurance policies. If you’ve been diagnosed with dementia, we’ve written a guide to car insurance for people with dementia.
Car hire excess insurance
What is car hire excess insurance?
Excess insurance for hire cars is one way to keep costs down when renting a vehicle in the UK or abroad. When you hire a car it will usually come with insurance; however, the excess payment you have to make if you need to claim can be substantial. The excess on hire cars can range from about £500 to £1,000 and the hire companies may try to charge you hundreds for pounds of that excess for as little as a scratch. If you cover the excess it means an insurance company will pay the excess bill if you have an accident. Car rental companies often offer excess cover over the counter but they can charge over the odds and there are third-party insurers that provide much better value. Using a third-party company to cover the excess can save more than £100, even for short trips.
How does car hire excess insurance work?
If you buy car hire excess insurance from a third-party provider, you’ll pay the car hire firm’s excess if you crash and then claim the money back from your insurer. Excess cover can be bought for a single trip or as an annual policy. Annual European excess cover can start at under £50, so if you’re hiring a car a few times in a year it may offer good value. Single-trip excess cover can start from under £20. When you get to the car hire desk to pick up your car, you’ll often have to put a ‘pre-authorised’ amount on a credit card, which will cover the excess in the event of a crash. If you don’t have any accidents your card won’t be charged or it will be refunded. This is still cheaper than paying for the hire company’s excess policy, which is often called ‘super CDW (collision damage waiver) insurance’.
The best car hire excess insurance providers
Questor Insurance are very highly rated on Trustpilot, scoring 4.7 out of 5 based on over 10,000 reviews when we checked in March 2021. Customers cite Questor’s transparency and fair premiums as key reasons to choose them. Questor states that it can offer daily car hire excess insurance policies from just £2.99, with annual policies available from £44.98. Their vehicle hire policies cover not only rental agreement excess but also tyres, windscreens and lost keys.
CarHireExcess.com offers worldwide car hire excess insurance from as little as £3.99 per day or £51.99 a year. Their policies include tyres and windscreen as well as lost keys and damage to the vehicle’s undercarriage. Cover goes up to £7,500. CarHireExcess.com is rated 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot based on over 8,800 reviews, and 75% of their customers rating them 5 stars. Insurance4CarHire offers up to £6,500 for damage and theft cover per policy and up to £500 each per claim for misfuelling and car key cover. It lets you buy your policy from 364 days in advance up to right before you collect your car. You can also add up to seven additional drivers per rental. It’s rated 4.3 out of 5 on Trustpilot based on more than 130 reviews, with 78% of respondents describing their experience as ‘Excellent’.
Temporary car insurance
What is temporary car insurance?
Temporary or ‘short term’ car insurance offers cover for between 1 and 28 days. Some companies even offer insurance for a set number of hours if you only need cover for a very short period. It can be used for you to drive someone else’s car or for another person to use your vehicle. There are many reasons people use temporary insurance. Popular uses include moving house, sharing a road trip or long drive, borrowing a friend’s car, adding a son or daughter to a policy while they’re back from university or driving a new car off a forecourt. In some cases, it makes more sense to buy temporary insurance than to add a named driver to an existing 12-month policy. However, a short-term policy cannot be used to replace a full car insurance policy, even if you only use your vehicle a couple of times a year. It is illegal to keep a car that is not insured or registered with the DVLA as SORN. Temporary car insurance is rarely necessary for rental cars, as they usually come with insurance.
What does temporary car insurance cover?
Most short-term car insurance policies offer similar cover to longer-term insurance. Temporary policies are usually comprehensive but companies do offer third party, fire and theft. The cover is often immediate so you can buy it on the same day you need it and any claims should not affect the no claims bonus of the vehicle being driven. Because the cover is immediate it means it can be used for test driving a car or driving a vehicle home if you decide to buy it at a dealership. Many temporary policies allow business use and cover vans up to a certain size. Some policies include European cover or give you the option to pay more for it. So it’s possible to have short-term cover if you’re borrowing a car to drive to France, for example.
Common exclusions with temporary car insurance
Many temporary car insurance policies have an upper age limit of 75 and the lower age limit can vary. For some companies, it starts at 21, which makes it difficult for young drivers to get short-term cover. However, the AA’s lower age limit starts at just 18, while InsureDaily and Cuvva both insure drivers as young as 19. There are separate short-term policies for learner drivers (often 30, 60 or 90 days) offered by companies like Marmalade. Find out more about learner driver insurance here. If you have points on your licence or motoring convictions, it can be difficult to get temporary cover. Also, some providers will not cover non-UK licences so you should shop around and compare cover levels if you’re planning on letting a visitor to the UK or an expat with a foreign licence use your car.
How much is temporary car insurance?
As with most car insurance, the cost of temporary car cover will depend on a number of factors, such as how old you are, the car being driven and where you live. Cover for short periods is usually very affordable. Cuvva’s prices for certain cars start under £10 for a few hours of cover. Quotes for longer periods with other providers often fall well under £100. If you think the short-term quotes you receive cost too much, try some other options. For example, adding another driver to the policy means several people can use the car anytime they want, so it may save you money over a year if you’re considering using temporary insurance more than once.
The best temporary car insurance
Cuvva is an app that allows you to get immediate cover from 1 hour to a whole day. The app is available on Android and iOS and it has good reviews online. You have to be over 21 to use it and it’s designed for borrowing a car from a friend or family member.
Insure Daily offers instant cover to customers from 1 to 28 days. It’s rated 4.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot based on over 13,900 reviews. Insure Daily can provide short-term cover for drivers as young as 19 years old, making it an ideal choice for students or young drivers waiting for an annual policy to come through.
Tempcover can insure cars and vans from as little as one hour to as long as 3 months. It claims that when you book online, you can get a policy in as little as two minutes. It holds a rating of 4.6 on Trustpilot, with 81% of users giving it five stars. Many big insurers like the AA and Swinton Insurance offer short-term car insurance through Tempcover’s website. Admiral offers two short-term cover options. Existing Admiral customers can get temporary cover added to their policy, while customers new to Admiral can try Veygo short-term cover instead. Veygo allows you to cover your car from as little as one hour to up to 30 days, but you can only buy up to 60 days in advance. Admiral’s own temporary cover goes up to 30 days at a time and a maximum of 120 days per policy with no time limit on how far in advance you can purchase. Other insurers that offer temporary cover include Aviva (backed by Dayinsure), RAC, and Swinton Insurance (via Tempcover).
The best business car insurance
“Business use” is defined as driving to multiple locations as part of your workday, but your vehicle should not be an essential element of the work itself. It is not intended for people who use their car or van for their job, such as a delivery driver: for this, you’d need a commercial car insurance policy. You will normally need to visit the business insurance section of an insurer’s site to purchase this cover. Here are the insurers we found to offer the best car insurance coverage specifically for business use. Aviva offers business car insurance for both sole traders and company directors. It features passenger cover for your colleagues, which not all commercial vehicle policies include. Aviva also offers a lifetime guarantee on all repairs made by their approved repairers. Direct Line can provide business car insurance on cars provided they aren’t owned or leased by a company. You can get a quote for business car insurance over the phone. Until recently, More Than offered a good car insurance policy for business use. However, they are no longer selling van or business car insurance. To add business car insurance to your quote simply select the relevant car usage, which forms part of the quote process. Typically, these options are domestic, pleasure and business use. Some insurers simply adjust your existing policy to include business use, reflected in a small price difference.
Read more: Average Car Insurance Rates by Age (2022)
If you want a colleague to be able to drive your car, you’ll need to add them to the policy as a named driver.
Car insurance reviews
Read our expert, independent reviews to learn more about the cable car indemnity companies featured in the Top 10 – and the ones who missed out :