The appeal of price comparison sites is obvious. Input your details and in return up pop potentially money-saving deals on things like your utility bills, holidays and mobile phones and of course some types of insurance.
For simple, like-for like comparisons, comparison sites can be brilliant.
As you may know, when buying car insurance for example, you can enter all your details into a comparison site.
Providing that your needs are fairly standard, or at least within set criteria, you will immediately get back a whole series of quotes.
If you are happy with one of these, you can go ahead and buy insurance there and then.
But when it comes to private health insurance things are not so clear cut.
Private health comparison sites provide leads, not quotes.
Having checked the best known sites, Chase Templeton couldn’t find any which offered full quotes.
They instead act more as lead generators.
Your basic details are captured and then this information is passed on to healthcare providers and brokers to follow-up with you, collect your full details and then provide you with a quote.
“They don’t even attempt to capture the crucial data necessary to deliver you with a quote for cover appropriate to your circumstances,” comments Richard Holden, commercial director at Chase Templeton, one of the UK’s leading private health insurance brokers.
He continues “Then the basic information they’ve gleaned may go only to one provider, completely negating the purpose of price comparison sites.”
Be careful, there are other pitfalls with going online.
Chase Templeton typed in the names of leading comparison sites plus the phrase “health insurance” into a leading search engine.
This is the approach taken by many to find the websites they’re looking for.
As perhaps you’d expect, the natural search results took the company’s researchers to the relevant sites.
However, the ads above, which traded off health insurers’ names, took them to simplistic data capture pages.
“When we looked at the source of one of these ads the website was registered in the Seychelles and the UK address was home to some 700 companies” says Mr Holden.
“It seems likely that those giving it data could then be plagued by unwanted telephone calls and emails.”
He adds that going online can be more problematic generally.
“To provide an accurate quote and cover that meets the particular needs of an individual, you need good information.
Currently websites simply skim the surface in order to generate an indicative rather than an actual quote.”
This means, he argues, that they are also not best equipped to match policies to individual needs, pointing out, for example, that the availability of hospitals and treatments varies by locality.
Different policies also feature different benefits, limits and exclusions.
As an award-winning broker Chase Templeton promotes a personal approach to health insurance, offering independent, expert and impartial advice – that’s free.
The company’s advisers take time to listen, to learn about every client’s background, their health needs and wants and, of course, budget. Then they conduct a whole-of-market review to see which provider offers the best solution.
“With private medical insurance, one size does not fit all.
It’s a very personal purchase that requires very personal attention” concludes Mr Holden.
Diane Ray, MoneyHighStreet comments: ‘Clearly very interesting research undertaken here by Chase Templeton and a very clear message to be very careful when you are looking to buy private health insurance.
“As with all insurance, it’s vital that you buy the insurance that provides you with the cover that you need. It’s not about just getting the cheapest insurance.
A professional insurance broker can, as Richard Holden explains, help you understand your needs and match these with the most appropriate cover.
Importantly too they can provide you with ongoing support, perhaps if you need to change the cover you have or need to make a claim.”
Useful contact details
- For personal advice on your private health insurance options contact Chase Templeton.