Price comparison websites (PCWs) are an increasingly popular means of sourcing insurance products, with 20% of South Africans using them to get quotes on everything from hospital cover to pet insurance.
PCWs are useful tools, but buying insurance is not as easy as comparing prices on one site and clicking buy. Here are our top tips for buying the life, dread and disability cover your family needs at the best possible price while still benefiting from the convenience of PCWs.
- Work out beforehand what policy and level of cover you need and then use a comparison site to help you find the best deal.
- Life, dread and disability cover are not just about your monthly premium. You should also compare policy benefits, such as funeral and terminal illness benefits, as well as waiting periods and exclusions.
- Get quotes from more than one PCW and do your own online research. Remember, not all insurers are listed on all comparison sites and some don’t appear on them at all!
- Be a savvy shopper and be alert to how PCWs make their money, namely:
- ‘Click-throughs’, where they earn commission when a consumer clicks through to an insurer’s website in order
- Paid advertising which appears on their website
- Sponsored listings, where insurers pay to have their products appear at the top of any search results.
- Remember that cheapest isn’t always best and that PCWs do not guarantee a product is suited to your needs. Most products available on PCWs are ‘standard products’ that won’t take your personal circumstances and needs into account. This is particularly so with regards to more complex insurance such as income protection, critical illness or medical insurance. Most insurers have call centres and websites where you can have a direct conversation with an agent to discuss the product you need. Make use of them!
- When you select a product from a PCW you will normally click through to the insurer’s own site to complete the transaction. At this point you may be offered additional products (add-ons). Remember that before accepting any such offers you should research them to ensure that you are getting the best product at the best price.
- Always check before you buy. When you click from the comparison site to the insurer’s site, be sure to check that all the product and policy information is correct, or you may end up paying for the wrong insurance.
- Always read the policy documentation before you buy a policy. This should be available on the insurer’s own website. If you can’t find such documents, don’t purchase the product!
Finally, if you don’t want to be inundated with unsolicited approaces from insurers, try using a different email address when getting comparison site quotes – that way your inbox won’t fill up with junk mail!