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The ‘switching classes’ are on the march – driven by rising car insurance and energy bills

07 February 2017

The number of Brits switching at least one of the top 10 financial products in the last 12 months is up from 53% to 58%*

Car insurance, energy, broadband, credit cards and bank current accounts among the winners as switching increases;
23% of the UK population have never switched any of the main financial products.
By Switching car and home insurance and energy provider, Britain could collectively save up to £5.5bn** in a year
The number of Brits regularly switching financial products and services in the UK has jumped significantly, according to the latest Switching Report from Gocompare.com.

New research shows that 58% of people switched at least one of the top 10 financial products in the last 12 months, up from 53% in January 2016 (51% in 2015).  Car insurance, household energy, home insurance, broadband, mobile phone and credit cards all saw an increase in switching activity in 2016.

Research from Gocompare.com found that Britain could collectively save up to a £5.5bn** in a year, just from switching the ‘Big 3’ products – car and home insurance and energy.

 Rank Financial/utility product switched Year to Jan 2017 Year to Jan 2016
 1 Car insurance 22% 19%
 2 Energy provider 19% 17%
 3 Home insurance 17% 16%
 4 Broadband provider 14% 12%
 5 Mobile phone 14% 13%
 6 ISA or savings accounts 10% 6%
 7 Bank account (current account) 9% 6%
 8 Credit card 9% 6%
 9 Land line telephone 9% 8%
 10 Mortgage 2% 2%

The survey revealed that, on average, people have stayed with the same car insurer for 1.5 years; home insurer for 1.6 years and the same gas and electric energy supplier for 2.2 years.  However, the research also found that just under a quarter (23%) of the UK population have still never switched any of the main financial products.

Tom Lewis from Gocompare.com commented, “Switching is on the rise and it is largely being driven by price increases in the car insurance and energy markets.  Consumers know that when prices rise, the only solution is to switch.  The message is getting through that switching is relatively hassle-free and households who compare prices and switch can regularly make significant savings. For example, by using Gocompare.com customers could save up to £286 on their car insurance, £77 on their home insurance and £191 on their energy bills***.

“The view that ‘loyalty pays’ has been exposed in recent years as a shabby myth.  The truth is that many providers keep their best deals for new customers rather than rewarding existing ones.  So it’s important to regularly review your financial products and utility bills to make sure that you’re not paying more for the privilege of being an existing customer.

“Uncertainty over the effect of Brexit, the fall in the value of the pound and rising prices present a gloomy financial outlook for 2017.  So, if you are looking to make savings this year, switching providers for everyday financial services products and household utilities is an easy and effective way to reduce your outgoings.  

Tom Lewis continued, “The switching trend is likely to continue in the next 12 months with energy prices still on the up and motor and home insurance customers likely to see a rise in their renewal premiums due to increases in Insurance Premium Tax - the third increase in two years.  In June, the tax will increase to 12% and as it is paid as a percentage of the premium, the rise will hit those paying higher premiums hardest.  So, again, we recommend people shop-around when their policies come up for renewal.”   

  1. Give yourself time to review your financial arrangements by keeping a diary note of key dates including car and home insurance renewals, the expiry dates for fixed rate mortgage deals, fixed energy tariffs and introductory offers;
  2. NEVER accept insurance renewal quotes or energy tariff changes without first checking that the new price you are being offered is competitive;
  3. Compare prices and headline rates AND check the small print of the deal you are being offered.  Make sure that you are making like-for-like comparisons and understand all the charges, any penalties, exclusions and terms and conditions you will be required to meet, and that the product is right for you;
  4. If you’ve signed-up for a product with an attractive introductory rate, make sure you review the arrangement before the end of the offer period otherwise you could end up paying more in the long-run.
  5. Use a comparison website – they provide quick and up-to-date information on a wide range of financial products and services.

Visit Gocompare.com for more information on switching your car insurance, home insurance or energy provider.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*On 6 January 2017, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2001 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The 2016 switching survey was also an online survey conducted by Bilendi among 2001 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists, it was conducted on 5 January 2016.

**Source: Based on the percentage of people saying they switched the three main products (car, energy, home) in the Gocompare.com research, multiplied by the average savings figure for each product. All calculations are based on the total number of UK adults which is 48,913,000 according to the annual mid-year estimates for the UK in 2014: