Best Car Insurance Companies 2023
Looking for the best car insurance in the UK? We've listed the best rated car insurance companies and also the worst on the market.
Finding the best car insurance in the UK can be a hassle. There are so many car insurance companies to choose from and a low price doesn't always mean good service.
Indeed, it's difficult to know which are the best car insurance companies and who to avoid - a flashy ad campaign doesn’t guarantee a good deal on your policy.
Each year we ask HonestJohn.co.uk readers to rate how their car insurance companies have performed as part of the Honest John Satisfaction Index.
By giving a rating out of 10 for overall satisfaction, customer service and value for money, we can reveal the best car insurance companies that offer the most complete package, not necessarily just the lowest price.
Here we reveal the best car insurance companies in the UK, as well as the worst car insurance companies that achieved the lowest scores.
More than 80 insurers were rated in the latest Honest John Satisfaction Index and the good news is that more than two thirds received a score of more than 8 out of 10, suggesting an improvement over the 2022 results. If you want to find the best car insurance on the market, you've come to the right place.
Best car insurance companies
If you're looking for the best insurance company, these are the leading firms to choose from. All were rated strongly by our readers and ranked highly for customer service and speed of service.
1. NFU Mutual
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 9.27
Want the best car insurance in the UK? Top of the tree for the fifth year in succession is NFU Mutual, which achieved a highly impressive rating of 9.27 out of 10 for overall satisfaction. It did so comfortably too, with a considerable margin over the second placed insurer.
NFU Mutual certainly seems to have satisfied customers as according to the insurer, 9 out of 10 policies renew every year. It also says that it pays out on 99% of claims. As well as car insurance it offers specialist policies for motorhome insurance and campervan insurance.
2. Quote Me Happy
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 9.06
Second for best car insurance in the UK is Quote Me Happy, which recorded 9.06 out of 10 for overall satisfaction and was the only other car insurer (aside from NFU Mutual) in our top ten to record a score above 9 out of 10.
Quote Me Happy offers two levels of car insurance, Essential and Plus but both come with a high level of cover including Personal Accident Cover and a courtesy car included. Trust Pilot backs up our results with Quote Me Happy scoring 4.3 from more than 40,000 reviews.
3. M&S Bank Car Insurance
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.98
Picking up the bronze medal for the best car insurance in 2023 is M&S Bank Car Insurance. Marks & Spencer Bank may not be that well known for car insurance but it proves that it can pay to shop around rather than sticking with the established big insurers.
M&S Bank Car Insurance offers two levels of car insurance - Premier and Standard. Both offer an impressive level of cover including a courtesy car and uninsured driver protection. Premier cover also includes legal protection and a guaranteed replacement car.
4. Shelias' Wheels
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.95
Although originally marketed as an insurance company aimed at women drivers, Sheilas’ Wheels also offer insurance for male drivers. And it's clearly performing well when it comes to the best insurance companies with an impressive score from customers.
Cover includes Handbag Cover so if your bag is stolen from your car, it (and its contents) are covered up to £200. There's legal liability and a courtesy car too. It says it pays out 98% of claims.
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.94
Also called Liverpool Victoria (although that's not as trendy...), LV= is one of the best recognised insurance companies thanks its strong advertising campaigns. It's also one of the most used by HonestJohn.co.uk readers, making this score all the more impressive.
Prices for LV= insurance start from £219 and it offers van insurance as well as multi-car policies for up to six cars and 12 drivers. Standard cover includes an uninsured driver promise. If the other driver is not insured and the accident isn't your fault, you keep your no claims discount and there's no excess to pay.
=6. Direct Line
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.77
Direct Line is now well known for not being on comparison sites. If you want a car insurance quote from Direct Line you need to go straight to them. The company has been around for 35 years and is one of the most well recognised car insurance firms.
As well as the usual Comprehensive and Third Party, Fire and Theft policies, Direct Line also offers Comprehensive Plus cover which includes Motor Legal Cover and vandalism cover so if you make a claim for damage to your car caused by vandalism, you won't lose your No Claim Discount.
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.77
Aimed exclusively at drivers aged 50 and over, Saga achieved an impressively high score with our readers, finishing joint 6th with Direct Line when it comes to the best car insurance. It also offers caravan insurance and motorhome insurance.
Saga offers three levels of car insurance cover, Saga Standard, Saga Select and Saga Plus. The latter comes with three year fixed price. You'll get a price for one year's cover but, because Saga fixes this for your next two renewals, as long as nothing changes, you'll pay the same price. Given the ever rising price of insurance, this looks very attractive.
8. Tesco Bank
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.74
One of the more affordable car insurers, Tesco Bank also performs well when it comes to customer satisfaction with HonestJohn.co.uk readers rating it among the best car insurance in the UK.
If you're a Clubcard member, you're guaranteed a Clubcard discount, whether you're a new customer or renewing. Tesco Standard Car Insurance is for drivers aged 21 and over and comes with a range of optional extras available but Tesco Bank also offers Black Box insurance for drivers aged between 17 and 35.
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.73
You may not have heard of RIAS but the company has been around since 1992. It used to be a specialist insurance company for the over 50s, but now provides cover for all ages. It is also proving to be one of the best insurance companies around with a strong showing in the Satisfaction Index.
RIAS Comprehensive Insurance includes wrong fuel cover, where it will pay to drain and flush your fuel tank as well as cover any damage to your engine if you accidentally put the wrong fuel in your car.
10. Sainsbury's Bank
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.72
Sainsbury's Bank is another of the supermarket brands that has performed well when it comes to offering the best car insurance. Like most of the big insurers, it offers various levels of cover, including three levels of Comprehensive Cover - Essentials, Standard and Plus.
All levels include a courtesy car - although it's only a three-door hatchback - along with cover for lost keys and protection against uninsured drivers. If you want breakdown cover you need to choose Plus cover though.
Worst car insurance companies
Just as the feedback from HonestJohn.co.uk readers gives us the highest-rated insurers, it also provides us with an insight into the worst car insurance companies. Here are the five insurers propping up the table.
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 7.91
The worst car insurance company? According to our readers the answer is Esure. A few years ago this score would have ranked well, but over the past three years we've seen the average satisfaction score for car insurance companies increase.
Esure was in fact the only insurer to score less than 8 out of 10 in the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index. This also seems to be borne out by its TrustPilot score of just 3.7. As a comparison, NFU Mutual, our readers favourite car insurance company, has a TrustScore of 4.5.
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.01
Better know as a breakdown provider, RAC has branched out into various other motoring areas including car insurance. Sadly, our readers aren't that impressed with the RAC and have ranked it among the worst car insurance companies.
It does however offer a wide range of insurance including specialist policies for learner driver insurance, pay by mile insurance and black box car insurance. That hasn't helped it here though with a satisfaction score barely scraping past the 8 out of 10 mark.
3. 1st Central
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.03
Despite a very strong TrustPilot score of 4.4, it seems HonestJohn.co.uk readers weren't as impressed when it came to 1st Central car insurance, ranking it third from bottom of the pile.
It offers a range of insurance products including a no frills 1st Central Value option that does without windscreen and personal belongings cover. There is also 1st Central Connect, a black box policy that bases the premium on how your car is driven.
4. John Lewis Finance
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.16
Scoring a respectable 8.16 out of 10 doesn't look bad in isolation, but the impressive score of the best insurers means John Lewis, that bastion of the high street, finds itself in the bottom 5 worst car insurance companies.
As you'd expect, the level of cover is high with a courtesy car as standard, legal liability cover and new car replacement if yours is less than 12 months old and is written off or stolen.
Car Insurance Satisfaction Score 8.17
Another insurer better known as a high street brand, Co-op Car Insurance was rated just above John Lewis by HonestJohn.co.uk readers. Co-op claims prices start from £196 and offers discounts to Co-op Members, similar to Tesco with its Clubcard discounts.
Co-op offers two simple policies - Comprehensive and Third Party, Fire & Theft. It also offers specialist electric car insurance, van insurance and young driver insurance.
Who is considered the best car insurance company?
According to visitors to HonestJohn.co.uk, NFU Mutual are the best car insurance company in the UK, and have been the best-rated for five years in a row.
Rated highly for overall satisfaction but also value and customer service, NFU Mutual are continuing to deliver for its customers.
What type of car insurance is best UK?
Although a third party insurance policy can sometimes be a cheaper option, for peace of mind it is hard to recommend anything other than fully comprehensive.
It provides third party cover as well as fire and theft, as well as ensuring that should you be involved in an incident where you are at fault you can still make a claim and get back on the road as soon as possible.
Which comparison site is best for car insurance UK?
Rather than choosing one price comparison site, the best way to ensure you get the cheapest deal is to use as many as you can.
It is also worth trying Gocompare and Quotezone. Even though they will search many of the same insurers for quotes, you may find that you get a different figure through different comparison sites, which is good news for you.
There are also some insurers that do not appear in comparison site searches such as Direct Line, so although it is another form to fill in you may end up getting a better deal.
Insurance policies are complicated in every case and not always easy to understand fully. We'll guide you through the terminology and what it means to you.
The Contract of Insurance
When you buy an insurance policy you are entering into a contract. The importance of this is that the insurer has agreed to cover you - based on what you have told them. Don't lie to insurance companies, as they may not pay out on your claim if you have not been truthful or omitted relevant details.
You may well find that your policy does not cover you under certain circumstances which are listed as part of the 'exclusions'.
A good example of how an exclusion can affect you is if you have bought your insurance on a price comparison site fully comprehensive, but did not include 'travelling to and from a place of work'. Your policy will be cheaper, but you would not be covered if you had an accident on the way to work.
If you are going to make a claim, you need to fully understand your policy and the way its is worded.
Fully comprehensive does not cover you for an alternative vehicle or other losses you may have as a result of the incident
Principle of Indemnity
This is very important. It is in fact the fundamental principle of insurance. In other words, this is what your insurance company promises to do.
The principle of indemnity is one where the insurance company promises to cover you for damage. So it;s imperative that you read your insurance policy. It will say you are indemnified 'up to' the market value. Remember this if you are dealing with a total loss vehicle, or if you do not want your car as a total loss.
You should be 'no better or worse off' due to a claim either 'financially' or through 'improvement' of your vehicle. In other words, you cannot claim for unrelated areas of damage, or a financial loss you have not had.
Third Party Fire and Theft
This does not cover you for any damage to your vehicle other than by way of fire, theft or vandalism. But it does cover you for any damage to property or injury you may have caused.
Fully Comprehensive Insurance
This covers your for accidental damage to your vehicle whether caused by yourself, as long as not 'wilfully done' (if you have caused the damage on purpose) and also covers damage by a third party.
This 'may' cover you for damage from weather. Such as floods, wind and hailstones, unless they are specifically excluded from your policy. Though most insurance companies will exclude on your policy what they perceive as acts of God. So it is at their discretion.
Fully comprehensive does not cover you for an alternative vehicle or other losses you may have as a result of the incident. These are called 'uninsured losses' and you would need either legal cover on your policy or have a solicitor pursue these losses on your behalf. As with third party fire and theft, it does cover you for any claim against you.
This is what you are not covered for. And it's why you need to carefully read your insurance policy. You need to do this before you buy to ensure it meets your demands and needs. You need to see what is NOT covered as much as when something IS covered.
An exclusion could be anything from not being covered to use the vehicle on a track day, road racing, testing or a sprint event. Or it could be you have decided not to cover commuting. It is very important you read what is not covered in the event of a claim.
Your insurance company will ask you to declare all modifications. The way your insurance company views a modification is anything that your vehicle did not come with from the manufacturer.
You can not imply you did not know it was a modification, as ignorance is no defence of the law. You have agreed to it in your contract of insurance.
So prior to insurance always declare any modifications. If you have a £2000 set of alloy wheels on your vehicle, do not expect your insurance company to replace them should one become damaged if you have not made them aware.
Often you will find insurance companies will not apply any additional loading on a policy for up to three minor modifications. So it is in your interest to make them aware. Do not give them any excuse not to pay.
If your car has options that came from the manufacturer, that's different. Find out what they are, as they may make your vehicle worth more.
What is an insurance excess?
Excess is the first part of the claim you have agreed to pay. This should only be applied to claims on your own vehicles and not claims against you. These come under the following titles.
Statutory or Compulsory Excess
This is the lowest excess on your policy you can pay. It forms the basis of how the insurer underwrites the policy so the higher this excess, the higher the risk they attach to it.
This is the amount you have volunteered to pay in addition to the compulsory excess, so the two are added together.
The higher the voluntary excess, the lower the premium will be. Make sure you can afford to pay it in the event of an accident.
Young Driver Excess
If you are a young driver (someone under 25) you may well find this excess applied. This also is added to the Compulsory Excess. Check the policy, as your insurer may advise they add all three together.
In addition, there are products available you can use to 'insure' your excess, that way you do not have to pay it if you have an accident. You can also get a lower premium by having a higher excess, saving many hundreds of pounds, so it makes sense to insure it.
What is an uninsured loss?
Uninsured losses are the things that are not covered by your insurance as a result of an accident. These include your excess, loss of use, the cost of arranging an alternative vehicle and for personal injuries.
When you took out your policy, you may have purchased something called legal assistance. This allows you to claim for the things above that are not covered by your contract of insurance.
Aside from the above, there are many other things that are seen in court as being 'reasonable' to claim for as a uninsured loss.
For example, if you arrange for a taxi or get the bus rather than hire a vehicle, you can be offered compensation for loss of use, even if you have not hired another vehicle.
If your vehicle is a total loss, it would be deemed 'reasonable' for you to carry out appropriate checks on your future vehicle.
If you do not have legal assistance, you may need seek the services of a solicitor or a claims management company to claim these uninsured losses back for you.
There are changes proposed which will affect your legal rights to representation meaning that you may well have to pay for your own legal fees. This is why we suggest from this year, always paying for additional legal assistance cover if you can afford it.