back to article Google skids car insurance comparison engine onto rivals' lawn

Google is now offering to compare car insurance prices for Brits following the company's acquisition of BeatThatQuote. It signals that the web advertising giant is more than happy to hoover up personal data from anyone willing to hand over their home address, age, their motor's registration number, and other sensitive …

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Meh

Same old same old

meh

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Anonymous Coward

Yay

What's next, Google buying Experian?

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WTF?

Let me fix that.

"Google spent £37.7m on BeatThatQuote in March 2011 to beef up the Chocolate Factory's credit card and insurance-related offerings in the UK."

I read that as:

"Google spent £37.7m on yet another price comparison service to................no, I'm out of ideas........anyone?"

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Re: Let me fix that.

Maybe they're going to build a price-comparison-site comparison site. You know, one click and it types your details into all the price comparison sites and finds you the best quote.

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Alert

Re: Let me fix that.

Wouldn't that be like typing "Google" into Google?

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Happy

Re: Re: Let me fix that.

Does this mean that I can break the insurance industry if I search for price comparisons in google?

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Re: Let me fix that.

>I read that as:

...I read it as

"Google spent £37.7m on yet another prick comparison service"

..something Freudian, I'm sure

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Re: Let me fix that.

The idea of a price comparison comparison site featured in a radio episode of "Mitchell & Webb" a month or so ago.

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Re: Let me fix that.

If there are two, then I'm going to start a price comparison comparison comparison site so users can get the best deal from both of them!

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Have used...

But have never brought from them. They have consistently shown that going direct to the insurance companies still gets a far better deal than any price comparison site.

I suspect only the insanely lazy would use and buy through them.

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Re: Have used...

That can be true, however being 22 and only 2 years no claims it's cheaper for me to use the price comparison sites. Even if I then go to the actual site their prices are higher than running the search first through a price comparison

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Pint

Re: Have used...

Surely the strategy is to use an aggregator to narrow your search down to a top five or so, and then go to those ones directly?

I still shudder in memory of the pre-internet days of phoning round one insurance company after another, having to repeat the exact same details time after time after time, sometimes more than once on the same call, and often only to receive some ludicrously-high quote. Yipes.

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Z80
Headmaster

Re: Have used...

"But have never brought from them. "

Have you ever bought from them though?

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WTF?

Re: Have used...

They are a waste of time and fraud and best avoided because :-

1 . The biggest and best insurers are not on comparison sites. ( So you have to enter your data several times any way as per pre-internet days)

2. The cheapest quotes are not cheap; when you click through the price increases.

3. You get harassed by phone calls from India or where ever for days afterward trying to sell you insurance.

Never ever bought anything from one yet.

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Re: Have used...

I used one when I first passed my test (too old to mention, but just had no interest in driving up until then!) and it saved me, quite literally, thousands. I could have been there forever and all the "big names" that I'd ever heard of and tried to contact were still quoting ludicrous prices even direct. The place I ended up with, Quinn Direct, is actually in Ireland but still sells valid UK/EU car insurance.

After I found a decent price from a decent company, I stayed with them and I have to admit that NOW, I can't get a better deal on any price comparison site than what the company offer to me automatically every time renewal comes up. If I rang round 20+ companies, I still doubt I would (we're talking literally 50% of the "big name" insurer's quotes).

Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. But to be honest, their X% commission is worth it if I don't have to phone around 20+ companies first. At the end of the day, if I work out how much per year I'm spending on the car, that's how much I have to earn to get to work - and if I'd phoned round every insurer that I'd ever heard of, my best quote would still be twice what a price comparison site found for me.

I think they excel in niche cases like mine (older driver with new license and crap car) but they probably pull about even overall. Hell, even the price comparison site you use makes a hell of a difference. Out of the two that have TV adverts that I'd seen, one was consistently 10% dearer, sometimes for the same insurers!

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Re: Have used...

Well duh, that's why I give them an old mobile number I never use any more and a ${pricecomparisonsite}@mydomain e-mail address.

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Re: Have used...

I still remember going to the local insurance broker, who did all that stuff for you, found the cheapest cover going, and hand filled in your insurance certificate whilst you waited. I don't miss their 15% cut.

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JDX
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Re: Have used...

Terminally lazy? Really, you search hundreds of agents manually? Or do you mean you use the comparison tool and then manually check the best two or three?

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FAIL

Re: Have used...

On the subject of point 1. who are the biggest and best insurers? UKI? the owner of Direct Line who currently lead the league table in FOS complaints?

In fact I can think of Direct Line who are not on price comparison websites but as I understand other UKI brands are.

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Re: Have used...

1. The only ones I know not on CompareTheMarket (last aggregator I used) are DirectLine and Aviva, for my wife, son (1yr ncb) and daughter (Learner) they were more expensive, or refused to insure, or were wildly more expensive (£ thousands).

2. Never seen this. I have seen Admiral and others add unrequested additions to the insurance which are easily removed by unchecking the relevant checkbox. Otherwise the insurance price matched the quote in every case.

3. Never had this either and I have always provided a phone number and email address that work. I did get a few chasing emails, but the unsubscribe link on the emails seems to work just fine.

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Re: Have used...

As he said^^^

Use the comparison site to find the best deal, then to go to the insurer via quidco.

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Unhappy

Re: Have used...

I'd suggest you refine your quote search technique!

Just checked quinn direct out and they wanted to charge me £1022 for the year!!!

I currently pay for the same vehicle £240 per year, with £25 cashback already paid, so £215.

And I could have got it for less than £194 if I went for a lesser insurer that others report problems with claiming.

Nice write-up, but a million miles out for me personally.

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Re: Have used...

"Just checked quinn direct out and they wanted to charge me £1022 for the year!!!"

And you just proved my point. For myself, they are still 10-50% off any quote I get. This, in itself, shows that each individual gets a different handling by each company depending on what that company prefers to insure and how they go about it. This is why there (used to?) be companies that only insured women, or older drivers, etc.

Old car, new car, old driver, new driver, no points on license, points on license, years of NCD, no NCD, 3rd party, full-com, etc. etc. etc.

Which in itself shows just how much price comparison sites are worth. Because the insurer that gives your mate a humongously expensive quote (like yours) might give me the best quote I can get anywhere else (like me!). And if you don't phone round all the insurers, you can't tell what they are going to charge you at all.

My boss was on the phone to his insurer's only the other day. After years of loyal service, they'd whacked up his quotes so he's went on a phone-round and got about 20% off the price just by negotiating with the insurer in question. But he'd already gone on a price comparison site and found something even cheaper too. Companies vary and some of them whack prices up when times are hard for them (which might be because they're being undercut by others!), or for certain customers, or even drop prices BECAUSE YOU ASK.

You can phone round 150-odd companies and play through the games if you like, spending hours on the phone which is worth more to me than any commission a comparison site might take, or you can use a price comparison site to find a really niche company that you'd never heard of and would never consider phoning and get the cheapest quote ever (like I did!). Everyone is different, and that's why price comparison sites exist. With your insurer, whoever they are so long as they're anybody that I've ever heard of and therefore checked, I would be paying 20% more than I am now. But I bet a price comparison site would find you something cheaper than what you're on now if you kept using them.

Swings and roundabouts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have used...

Interesting. I have on many different sites on various occasions weighed up the comparison sites against the insurer's direct quotes and they have always been exactly the same.

The only caveat is whether there is a cashback deal available from Quidco or the like that is obviously preferable to giving the commission to the comparison site.

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WTF?

"... while completely respecting their privacy" - no comment on whether his face was straight while delivering this particular gem?

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DJV
Happy

Of course his face was straight...

...thanks to botox!

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Anonymous Coward

Really this image that Google simply grabs data from every company they own into one big pot is ludicrous. They'd get shafted utterly when (not if) it became clear this was a widespread practice.

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Meh

<---You should have gone with this one.....

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Stop

If they can do better than GoCompare in keeping my e-mail address instead of selling it to the highest bidder (I've been spammed constantly since I used them) then that's OK.

Don't use GoCompare if you don't want spam.

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Think you've hit the nail on the head...there all complaining google might be evil with your information. But I don't think I've ever received any spam or anything as a result of using a google service!?!

Put your telephone number into GoCompare or MoneySupermarket or whatever and you get calls / emails within minutes and then for the next few years!!

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For any occasion on which you need to provide an e-mail address in order to receive a one-off communication:

https://www.guerrillamail.com/

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Thumb Up

Don't use your real phone number

Simples

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Use disposable e-mail addresses and type in a false phone number. (I realise that the false phone number may be regarded as anti-social, since there will probably be a victim, but you can give the phone number of another car insurance company.)

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Black Helicopters

false phone number

Use disposable e-mail addresses and type in a false phone number. (I realise that the false phone number may be regarded as anti-social, since there will probably be a victim, but you can give the phone number of another car insurance company.)

Here's a supply of realistic-looking but unused phone numbers, "Telephone Numbers for use in TV and Radio drama programmes":

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/telecoms/numbering/guidance-tele-no/numbers-for-drama

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm...

" by opting users out of receiving marketing material from companies by default." - Can someone kindly take a few moments to explain to me how Google will survive if they hack off the marketers and advertisers all the time?

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Respect privacy?

If they truly wanted to respect privacy they wouldn't ask for unnecessary details like phone numbers when providing quotes. Bunch of lying tossers.

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Re: Respect privacy?

I bet somebody in Bedford (01234) with the number 567 890 gets a lot of unwanted calls.

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Re: Respect privacy?

A group of schools seem to be the owners of the (01234) 567890 phone number

http://rrmpartnership.org/parents-and-carers/childcare/

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Anonymous Coward

Next stop: NHS outsourcers?

I find this very worrying indeed, handing over even more data to an organisation that is directly subject to an uncontrolled PATRIOT ACT backdoor. After all, those clients did not agree to hand over their data for ANY other purpose than managing quotes and their account. Personally, I think such an acquisition should result in an immediate freeze on access to personal data until proper permission has been gained from each individual. Otherwise, what's to stop Google from buying up some NHS providers and suck your medical data as well?

We should be *EXTREMELY* careful with handing personal data - that is a one way ticket to trouble.

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Anonymous Coward

Google seem to be making money in all the ways we dislike.

What next? Google law services limited? Google traffic wardens?

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I've just given this a whirl and haven't received a single email. Found me a quote slightly cheaper than who I just renewed with. If I linked with topcashback I'd make a slightly bigger saving. Makes a change from the hundreds of emails and calls you normally end up getting.

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Anonymous Coward

Calls / spam

The only e-mail I get from comparison services are the ones summarising the quotes they have found for me. I try to remember to tick any appropriate boxes about passing on my info.

I have only ever received one phone call, from the insurer that came top of my list of quotes, and that wasn't a problem at all.

I use the comparison services regularly to check I am getting the best deal on energy, home phone as well as the annual car and home insurance.

I also check Quidco as well.

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Anonymous Coward

He told Which? magazine: "We want to help consumers find the best car insurance in the fastest and most honest way possible while completely respecting their privacy"

And what was Which's comment. "yeah, reckon!"?

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Happy

Would that comment have been made before or after they'd finished wiping their last mouthfuls of coffee off him?

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Anonymous Coward

Missing the obvious

Goocompare! Goocompare!

Google are just about as annoying as that annoying moustache bearing singing tenor from the adverts run by a company of a similar name which is of course no relation to the multicolour search/advertising outfit.

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Pint

Tried that

I tried a few of these comparison websites.

Then I did what I should have done at the beginning: called NFU Mutual and got coverage for a cheaper price, with better benefits and a local office and rep that you can visit in person if you have a problem.

If you don't mind a brochure with a picture of a tractor on it, it's great.

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Pirate

Re - Tried that

Curious that their quote for my Land Rover was twice what I actually pay then!

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Bronze badge

Never had an issue with price comparison websites and as for the phone number 0101010101 or similar works for me.What I do have an issue with is getting an insurance reminder in the UK then using the insurers own website for a quote check only to find its actually cheaper there than they have quoted for the renewel.

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