We also researched the best provider for each of the most popular categories of car insurance (multi-car, over 50s, temporary cover, new drivers and convicted drivers). The results for this can be found further down the page.
The best car insurance companies in the UK
We’ve reviewed and aggregated ratings from independent sources to create our list of the UK’s top 10 best car insurance companies (listed in order).
Our list reflects the results of our 2020 customer satisfaction survey, as well as the quality of cover these brands offer. Click on the insurer name to read our full review.
- Aviva – 5/5. Great for customer service
- Saga – 5/5. Good level of cover and and friendly customer service
- Direct Line – 4.5/5. Best for a strong range of policies
- Sheilas’ Wheels – 4/5. Good for an efficient application process
- Churchill – 4/5. Good for a robust claim handling service
- LV= – 4/5. Great for comprehensive cover
- Hastings Direct – 4/5. Great for new and young drivers
- Admiral – 4/5. Useful for temporary car insurance
- Age Co (formerly Age UK) – 3.5/5. Great for over 50’s
- Swinton – 3.5/5. Great for convicted drivers
The best car insurance provider for you will look very different depending on your own circumstances. Inexperienced young drivers are unlikely to need multi-car insurance or policies designed for the over 50s. And experienced older drivers are just as unlikely to research policies geared for new drivers. With this in mind, we’ve highlighted some of the more common types of policies that appeal to a range of drivers in different situations.
Best multi-car insurance
Finder's Pick: Aviva Multi-car insurance
- Three levels of cover available
- Uninsured driver promise
- Multi-cover discount
- Fee-free cancellation
If you’re looking to insure more than one car, here are the providers who offer the best multi-car insurance discounts:
Aviva. You can insure up to five cars on one policy and get a 10% discount for every additional vehicle insured.
Direct Line. You’ll receive an unspecified discount if you insure more than one car, but can still keep them on separate policies. Get cover for up to ten cars per household.
Churchill. Churchill offers potential discounts for those wanting to get insurance for multiple cars, and the policies can be kept separate.
LV=. Some customers have reported a saving of over 20% with LV=’s multi-car discount, but the amount is dependant on personal circumstances.
Our research has shown that, overall, Aviva and Direct Line are the top providers here. Aviva is very transparent with its generous discount and allows up to 5 cars on one policy. Direct Line offers the most flexible multi-car cover, as it allows you to insure up to ten cars and get a discount while keeping to separate policies.
Best customer service
In our survey, Aviva came tops for customer satisfaction, with 5 out of 5 stars and 91% of their customers saying they would recommend the service to friends and family.
Here is some of the feedback we got from Aviva car insurance customers:
“Good service when taking out insurance, good quality cover and a reasonable renewal price.”
“Easy to deal with and brilliant when claiming.”
“They’ve helped me switch my insurance over easily and they’re helpful online and over the phone.”
“Reduced my policy price on renewal, great website and even better call centre.”
Some customers did complain Aviva were difficult to get hold of over the phone, but the general consensus was that the service provided by the company is top notch.
Best over-50s car insurance
While all providers will offer insurance to older drivers, the best over-50s car insurance policies may be those designed specifically for that demographic. Two of the providers listed above provide specialist cover for drivers that are at least 50 years old. These are:
Saga. Came second in our survey. Saga offers unlimited European cover, as well as a multi-car discounts where all drivers are over 50.
Age Co. Has no upper age limit and offers a handy Message Relay service, where a friend or family member to be contacted if you have an accident.
That said, the specialists may not necessarily offer you the best deal. For example, LV= is known for its competitive deals for older drivers, particularly those over 80. Like Age Co, More Than also has no age limit, where many other providers cap their cover at between 75 and 85.
Best temporary or short term car insurance
If you’re travelling a short distance or only plan on using a car for a short period of time, it doesn’t make sense to get long-term cover. Of the providers above, two offer short term cover:
Aviva. Aviva temporary insurance offers instant comprehensive policies from 1 hour to 30 days, and customers get the option to add EU cover and breakdown cover to the policy.
Admiral. Veygo, Admiral’s short term car insurance, is a relative newcomer to the market, but is growing in popularity. This options is particularly good for learner drivers, with immediate comprehensive cover available from only 1 hour and an easy to use app.
The best thing about both of these options is that, if you have to make a claim, the no claims discount of the car’s named driver will not be affected. That’s no excuse to be reckless, of course, but is definitely a relief!
Have a look at our guide to temporary insurance to see the other insurers who offer this type of cover.
Best car insurance for new drivers / Black box insurance
It can be tough being a new driver, especially when you see how much you may have to pay for insurance. Drivers under the age of 25 typically need to pay more than £1,300 a year for car insurance.
While most providers will cover a young or inexperienced driver, there are a few that will offer a deal that won’t break the bank, and may even offer discounted premiums. One way to access lower premiums is black box insurance. This means having a small device fitted to your car to track your driving performance (similar to the black box found in a plane’s cockpit).
While not in our top 10, Marmalade insurance deserves a mention here. The company scored 4 stars in our customer satisfaction survey, with 87% of customers saying they would recommend it. Marmalade’s black box policy only has 2 stars on Defaqto, which means it’s not the most comprehensive, but it is a strong option, especially if you value good customer service above all.
If, on the other hand, you’re over 30 and new to driving your age might actually help to save you money.
Best car insurance for convicted drivers
If you have a driving conviction, such as speeding, drink driving or driving without insurance, getting car insurance can be a struggle. Even just having points on your licence can lead to a hike in your premium.
Out of our top 10, the only company that has a special page on its site dedicated to insurance for convicted drivers is Swinton. It’s not a specialist policy, just their regular offering, but the fact they took the time to create a special section of the site for this means they might be more sympathetic towards drivers with these circumstances.
Another option is to go through one of the specialist brokers on the market, such as Keith Michaels or the Complete Cover Group. One thing to note here is that there may be additional fees to pay when purchasing insurance through a broker.
If you’re unsure how your conviction might affect your cover, you can use this handy disclosure calculator, run by Unlock and Home Protect.
Don’t be discouraged- getting car insurance when you have a criminal conviction is not impossible. The key thing is to shop around and compare different providers.
You might also consider volunteering to pay a higher excess (but always make sure you can actually afford to pay it should you have an accident), or get black box insurance, which is when a telematics device is fitted to your car to monitor your driving. This kind of insurance is popular with young drivers and, while no one likes to feel like a teenager with a curfew, the savings you can make if you stick to the rules of the road might be worth it.
Cheapest car insurance
The important thing to remember is that cheapest isn’t always best. What’s more, car insurance premiums are affected by many personal factors, including a driver’s age, occupation, location and driving history.
However, there are ways to try and keep the cost of your insurance down.
Cars in the UK are divided into groups from 1-50, with cars in groups 1 and 2 being the cheapest to insure. Car groups are calculated using a number of factors, including the original sale price, performance and security level.
You can learn more about car groups and how they affect your premium in our comprehensive guide to car insurance groups.
Tips for saving on your car insurance
- Increasing security. If your car is not currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
- Having a secure location to park your car. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
- Reduce mileage. If you start working part-time or your long commute becomes much shorter, letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper car insurance.
- Limit optional extras if you don’t need them. Think carefully about which optional extras you really want as adding extra protection to your policy will generally push the price up too.
- Advanced driving skills. You could be in line for a discount with certain providers by taking an advanced driving course such as those offered by the Pass Plus scheme.
- Fewer drivers. Only add drivers to your policy that regularly drive your car
- Consider telematics insurance. Having a “black box” fitted to your car to monitor your driving could result in discounts if you drive safely.
- Larger excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
Compare car insurance companies
Key questions before you choose your insurer
Ask yourself these questions about a potential insurer to help you decide whether it’s right for you:
How do I make a claim?
How do I contact the insurer and can I speak to someone 24/7 to make a claim?
Some insurers offer 24/7 claim lines (like Aviva, LV=, Axa and Hastings Direct) , whereas others only have claim lines that operate during UK working hours, and offer a separate emergency line that is outsourced to a third party company for the rest of the time (like Churchill, Admiral and Direct Line).
It’s worth checking you can always contact the insurer if the worst happens. Our individual reviews of each insurance company usually detail this.
Can I amend my policy?
Insurers differ in what they charge you for amending details such as your address or job title. Some don’t charge anything at all whereas for other certain amendments will incur a charge.
It’s worth checking how flexible an insurer is on this before you sign up.
Which are the best and worst cars to insure?
Generally, the more expensive a car is, the more it’s likely to cost to insure it. If you’re thinking high performance and sports cars will be expensive to insure, then you’d be right as they tend to cost more to buy and are unfortunately more appealing to thieves.
Every new car in the UK is given a car insurance group rating, which helps insurers understand which cars will cost more to insure and which cars will cost less. Sports cars and high performance models have some of the highest group ratings out there. On the other end of the rating scale are the smaller and safer cars – these usually cost less to buy and repair, which is likely to result in lower premiums.
If you have your heart set on a particular car, do your research before making the purchase to assess whether you can afford the insurance premiums that will follow.
How to find the best car insurance company
Firstly, ensure you’re getting the cover you need. When shopping for car insurance, one of the first factors you’re likely to consider is how much it costs. But remember that choosing the cheapest policy won’t necessarily give you the cover benefits you need – it’s important to compare what you get with the policy.
Secondly, the real test of car insurance is what happens when you need to make a claim. That’s why it’s important to consider both the level of cover and the level of service. It’s no good having a courtesy car included in your cover if, in your hour of need, it’s not available or turns out to be a poor substitute for your own car. The information in this guide about our top insurers is a good starting point.
Lastly, of course no one wants to pay over the odds for their cover, so it’s always important to review your premium each year and compare car insurance from different providers. Consider switching as you’re likely to save – some people save hundreds of pounds. If you do want to stick with your insurer, you can try haggling, as that’s common and usually effective.
Our 2020 customer satisfaction league table
We asked policy holders to rate their satisfaction with their insurance company, and whether they’d recommend it to a friend. We’ve shown both for each brand in the table below. Our independent survey of 750 insurance customers was carried out in December 2019.
|Overall satisfaction||Customers who’d recommend||Issuer||Review|
|★★★★★||91%||The largest general insurer in the UK and our top prize winner, Aviva has three levels of comprehensive cover to choose from, as well as third party and third party fire and theft cover. This might sound confusing, but customers in our survey praised the easy application process and good service.||View deals|
|★★★★★||81%||Saga offers specialist tailored cover for drivers over the age of 50, with a minimum age of 45 (you must have at least one named driver over the age of 50 on the policy to qualify). Customers reported friendly service and a good level of cover.||View deals|
|★★★★★||75%||While less of Direct Line’s customers said they would recommend the service, the strength of its policies pushed its overall score up. Customers surveyed called the products on offer competitive and the service helpful.||View deals|
|★★★★★||87%||As Marmalade only offers cover to drivers up to the age of 30, it didn’t quite make our top 10. However, the service did very well in our survey, with customers calling it easy to use and praising the competitive prices.||View deals|
|★★★★★||84%||Sheilas’ Wheels started life as a female-only car insurance provider, but now offers cover to both men and women, with a focus on benefits to appeal to women and parents The service was said to be helpful and efficient by customers.||View deals|
|★★★★★||83%||Most people would be aware of Churchill, largely to its nodding dog. Love or hate those ads, customers called the service provided by Churchill reliable and helpful, and some were impressed by the claim handling process.||View deals|
|★★★★★||82%||As well as standard car insurance, LV= also offers cover for electric and classic cars. Its comprehensive cover includes windshield damage and replacement locks and was considered good value by customers in our survey.||View deals|
|★★★★★||77%||Hastings Direct’s two main cover options are Direct and Premier. The company also offers Essential comprehensive cover, as well as third party and third party fire and theft, but there’s not a lot of information available on those.||View deals|
|★★★★★||76%||As one of the most well-known insurers in the UK, Admiral offers a range of cover options, including combined a home and car policy, multi-car cover and temporary car insurance. Customers praised the good value cover and helpful staff.||View deals|
|★★★★★||76%||The company formerly known as Age UK, Age Co is another over-50s specialist. Like Saga, it also offers cover to younger drivers, but its policies are tailored to those with more experience – in life and on the road.||View deals|
|★★★★★||77%||Swinton offers three levels of comprehensive cover, as well as third party fire and theft. All comprehensive options offer decent benefits and the company also caters for young drivers, convicted drivers and those looking for short term cover.||View deals|
|★★★★★||73%||The largest supermarket chain in UK, Tesco also provides solid car insurance policies. You can choose the Black Box policy for young drivers (17-35), or the standard cover for drivers over 21, which customers reported to be good value.||View deals|
|★★★★★||72%||Axa’s comprehensive cover comes with a lifetime guarantee on repairs, a courtesy car and protection from uninsured drivers. The company’s claim handling service was said to be quick and efficient by customers in our survey.||View deals|
|★★★★★||71%||Known mostly as a posh department store, John Lewis also provides a range of financial products. Its comprehensive policy comes with a load of benefits, including misfuelling and vehicle ID theft cover as standard.||View deals|
|★★★★★||69%||A staple of the British roads, The AA offers third party fire and theft cover and a benefit-laden comprehensive cover. AA members get extra perks and customers called the company’s car insurance cover reasonably priced with good service.||View deals|
|★★★★★||65%||Diamond is another insurer targeting women drivers. Like Sheilas’ Wheels, it covers men as well, but has benefits such as handbag and child seat cover, which it believes will appeal to women (who are considered lower risk drivers).||View deals|
|★★★★★||64%||More Than’s comprehensive cover includes windscreen cover and replacement locks. The company also offers a third party, fire and theft policy, as well as cover for young drivers and a decent multi-car discount.||View deals|
Car insurance ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
Everybody’s circumstances will vary so car cover that might work for you might not work for someone else. Do your research, shop around and compare deals in order to find the right fit for your needs.
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