Car insurance brokers

It can be difficult to get the right cover if you’ve made modifications to your car or have unusual insurance needs. Find out how brokers can use their specialist knowledge to find you the right policy.

eve powell
Eve Powell
Updated 7 March 2022  | 3 min read

What’s a car insurance broker?

A car insurance broker is an independent person or company that helps you to insure your vehicle.

They find out what your cover requirements are and then search for the most suitable options to get you a great deal.

Before easy-to-use comparison websites like GoCompare were around, car insurance brokers could help save you time and money.

Key points

  • Brokers can help if you have complex or specialist insurance needs
  • Unlike agents, brokers are independent and aren’t tied to a specific insurer
  • Their commission will be added to your premium, which may increase the cost

How do car insurance brokers work?

Car insurance brokers work independently, acting as a middleman between you and insurance companies.

They get paid commission by insurance providers for selling their products. But they must follow British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) regulations and always put your needs first.

Taking details of your requirements, they’ll help you decide what type of insurance and level of cover you need, and work to find you a great deal.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a car insurance broker?

With so many different policies and providers to choose from, using an insurance broker can help you to narrow down your options.

Other benefits of working with an insurance broker include:

  • Specialist expertise - Their extensive experience can help to find you the right product, whether your car’s had modifications, or your personal circumstances are making it harder to find insurance
  • Personal service - Taking your requirements into account, brokers use their expertise to make sure you won’t be under or overinsured
  • Discounted rates - Some have developed special relationships with certain providers, which can mean they have access to better deals than you’d be able to find yourself
  • Expert guidance - They can talk you through all the insurance options available and help you work out what cover you’ll need
  • Help with claims - If you need to make a claim, your broker may speak to the loss adjuster or claims department and take a lot of the hassle away from you

But there are also some disadvantages to using a broker:

  • Commission charge - This will often be included in your monthly premium, which could mean you end up paying more than going direct
  • Range of choice - Brokers usually stick to a panel of insurers, so you may miss out on better deals from other providers
  • It might be unnecessary - If your needs aren’t that unusual or complex, it can be easier and cheaper to use a comparison site or go direct

Can a broker help me find cheaper car insurance?

A car insurance broker can help you find cheaper insurance, but you’ll need to take into account their commission - this is normally included in your premium.

If you have complex insurance needs, a broker can be useful in helping you find the right policy at the best price.

However, for straightforward car insurance, there’s a good chance you’ll pay more with a broker than if you just find the deals yourself online or go direct.

Insurance brokers make money by charging a fee if you buy cover through them, so your insurance might cost more than if you'd gone direct to the insurer or used a comparison website

Whether using a broker is worth it depends - if you have specialist cover needs, say if you have driving convictions or an unusual vehicle, then a broker could offer you advice and get quotes from suitable insurers. But you're just after some standard car insurance, then you might be better off using a comparison website instead.
Ryan Fulthorpe - GoCompare Car Insurance Expert

How do car insurance brokers make money?

Car insurance brokers make their money from the commission and fees they earn when someone buys an insurance policy through them.

As licensed professionals, the commission they receive from finding you the right policy is typically a percentage of the policy’s annual premium.

So, while the cost of the premium itself will go to the insurer, the broker will benefit from the commission.

How are brokers different to comparison sites?

Although they can both help you find the right policy, there are some differences between how comparison sites and insurance brokers work.

Brokers will use a panel of insurers, so it’s a good idea to find out how many insurers they deal with or whether they’re a whole-of-market broker.

On the other hand, comparison websites like GoCompare will quickly compare and scan information from hundreds of providers to get you the best deal.

Comparison websites are also free to use, whereas brokers will either charge a fee or their commission will be added to your premium.

So although brokers can help you to find a deal, you might end up paying more than if you used a comparison site.

But for more unusual insurance needs, a broker may be able to give you valuable advice and help you find specialist cover. They can also take the legwork out of making a claim.

Are car insurance brokers the same as insurance agents?

No, they actually work quite differently from each other.

Car insurance agents usually just represent one insurer who they act on behalf of, which means you’ll potentially miss out on cheaper deals from other providers.

However, insurance agents don’t charge commission - this could lower your premiums if you bought through them.

Whereas brokers work with a panel of providers and they have to act with your best interests at heart, not the insurers.

But the easiest and cheapest way to find the best policy is to shop around and compare quotes.

Can an insurance broker help me if I have a driving conviction?

Most insurers will up their prices or refuse to cover you if you’ve had a driving conviction, but there are specialist insurance brokers that can help you with this.

You should still be able to get the same level of cover as someone without a conviction.

But because you’re likely to be charged more, it pays to compare quotes. If you’re not happy with the results, you could then see if a specialist broker could get you a better deal.

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