Using Comparison Sites

Finding the best deals on things like bank accounts and home insurance can be a daunting process. With so many providers battling it out for our business, offering endless deals and promotions, it can quickly become confusing. That’s where comparison sites come in. They provide up to date prices, on everything from energy plans to mobile phone contracts, from many different providers. Ideally, they should take the pain out of the process and show us the best deals within a few minutes. To a great extent, that’s what they do. But we have to use them in the right way to get the best out of them. Here are a few pointers on making comparison sites work for you:

Compare comparisons!

A golden rule when using comparison sites is to always use more than one to get down to the best prices. Ideally, use at least three comparison sites to get the best idea of the deals out there. One reason for this is that some comparison sites make deals with providers to ensure they have the lowest priced product. This means that the same insurance policy, from the same insurance provider, could be priced differently on different comparison sites. Another reason is that most comparison sites don’t cover all of the different providers offering a service. Using more than one comparison site takes a bit more of our time, but ultimately it’s worth it. By comparing the comparison sites against each other, we can feel confident in making the right decision, and getting the best value.

Careful with the quotes

Once you’ve inputted your info into the comparison site, you’ll get a list of quotes from different providers. Quotes are usually listed in price order (from lowest price to highest price). It’s important at this stage to check through the list and make sure the best deal is actually at the top if the list. Sometimes, they’re not. One reason for this can be that prices are listed by ‘annual price’ rather than by ‘monthly price’. This is fine if you intend to pay the entire annual fee up front. But if you don’t have the means to pay a lump sum, and will be paying by monthly instalment, you might be paying more than you should. Most comparison sites give you the option of listing quotes by annual or monthly price. Be sure to check the right box so quotes are listed in the order that makes sense for you. Carefully checking all of the details on the quotes you receive will make sure you get the right deal.

Once you’ve compared, consider going direct

Comparison sites don’t sell products or services themselves, they just trawl the different providers and collate the info. They are a very useful tool for giving us a good idea of the best deals on the market. But, once you’ve compared the deals on a couple of comparison sites against each other, feel free to go direct. It will add a bit of time on to the process, but it might save you a bit more money, too. A recent Which? survey found that 68% of people who contacted insurance providers after getting a quote were able to haggle a discount. The comparison site will provide a reference number for each quote. If you do choose to go direct, use this reference number when contacting the provider, and see if any further discount is available. If we don’t ask, we don’t get.

Where to start

New comparison sites pop up all the time. It’s a growing market, but within it there are some big, established sites to check out first. Quids In! isn’t linked to any comparison sites, so our advice is independent and neutral. However, these sites have generally been around a while, and have developed reputations as being relatively tried and trusted.

As a starting point, consider having a look at:

Comparison sites are the best way to quickly and easily get a good idea of what deals are out there. They don’t impact your credit score in a way lenders can see (that only happens when you actually apply for something). If we use them right, they are a great tool for saving money and getting the services we need.