How do Comparison Sites For Home Insurance work
Many of us now enjoy the convenience of buying our home insurance online by using price comparison websites. Comparing home insurance online has never been simpler and easier. Within minutes you are able to obtain a range of provisional insurance quotes from dozens of well-known household insurance companies.
Working with Multiple Insurers - the technology behind a home insurance comparison website relies on price information, supplied in real-time, from their panel of home insurance partners. This information has to be consistent and in a standard format, allowing the aggregators mathematical algorithm to automatically produce search results, based on the user’s online quote request form. This means that the aggregator website must have strong commercial and technical agreements with between 50 to 100 individual competing home insurers. This in itself is quite a challenge, when you consider that many insurers are arch rivals. Many of these home insurers also sell directly to the general public, via their own websites. Many may privately be happy to not give away some of their margin to a middleman. On the other hand many up-and-coming smaller insurers, scramble and fight to get into the aggregated search results – such is the power balance of these online comparison websites. Millions of pounds is invested in marketing and advertising to generate huge volumes off user traffic.
How Do Insurance Comparison Websites Work? – most price comparison websites work by prompting website visitors to enter their requirements into it’s standard online quote form. Most aggregators follow roughly the same process to acquire all the necessary information from the policyholder and the building to be insured, before producing a range of comparison quotes. Realistically, the process can take about 10 minutes and policy holders will need to have all their relevant information to hand. The steps’ focus on the property and the person. Each individual answer to any given question helps to eliminate policies or insurers down to a manageable final selection. The main price comparison steps are as follows:-
- Property Details- the quote forms will first prompt you to enter details of your postcode and the type of building. For instance whether it is a house, flat, apartment, bungalow or townhouse. You will be required to select whether your home is detached, semi detached, link detached or terraced. They will also need to know how old your home is, how many rooms it has, whether it has trees nearby, is the roof flat and whether it has shown signs of heave, landslip or subsidence. All these criteria are used by insurance companies to determine premium. For instance a four-bedroom older detached home in Surrey, is likely to be more expensive to insure than a brand new one-bedroom home in Aberdeen.
- Home Usage – next the quote form usually prompts users to enter details of how the home is used. Some insurers exclude certain types of usages (such as working from home, taking in lodgers, letting to tenants, holiday or second homes or property left unoccupied for extended periods), etc. They will also need to know when you purchased the property and how many people live there. The aggregators wizard is again using this data to reduce the number of available options, as users reveal more data regarding their usage of the home. For instance if you bought a second home, which you’re leaving empty most of the time, and planning to run a business from it – you will find considerably less insurers willing to take on the risk – when compared to a home that is lived in permanently, and is not used for any other purpose apart from as a residential home.
- Home Security and Safety – the next step questions the levels of security and safety features homeowners have at their home. Many insurers on the aggregators panel will offer special discounts for policyholders whose home is more secure, better protected, have certain types of door and window locks and are members of the local neighbourhood watch. Once the user has selected their security and safety levels, the number of essential policies that matches their needs is also reduced accordingly.
- About the Policyholder - next the quote form usually requires users to enter their contact details, date of birth, occupation and other personal details so their personal details can be automatically cross checked against insurance databases for previous insurance history and possibly and history of fraud. This information is automatically transposed to insurers own quote systems at the end of process, so users don’t need to re-enter their details again.
- Type of Insured Required - next homeowners can specify whether they want buildings insurance or combined buildings and contents insurance. If they choose contents as well, they usually request to specify the contents levels of cover, whether possessions away from home cover is required and whether they require extended accidental damage insurance. Many insurers will offer a risk related no claims discount if the user has not had any claims in recent years. All these factors help to reduce the number of possible search results at the end of the process.
The results are easy to view and list possible suitable policies that matchup to the criteria entered by the user above. These are usually ranked by the cheapest home insurance policy first. Some aggregators allow users to manipulate the results even further by adjusting the levels of excess related to an individual policy. Within the search results user can click on a link to visit the home insurers own website to buy online. When visiting the actual insurers web site, it is possible that you may have to enter some of the answers again or be presented with a number of extra questions, to firm up the quote on offer.