Revealed. Latest usability practices by UK car insurers

In our latest usability review of UK car insurers, we can reveal popular design practices. This covers direct insurer quote & buy journeys and was done for benchmarking service DigitalBar.

Revealed. Latest usability practices by UK car insurers

A popular start-point

All providers aim to hook applicants into their journeys quickly. Tesco is the notable exception, perhaps ahead of the game on Consumer Duty. 

The commonly used 'hook' is to ask customers for their car registration and instantly play back the car model details; this immediately personalises the experience and gives users an instant 'I've got this!' feeling, securing their commitment to the next steps of the journey.

Scoot along or scroll?

The fashion for 'scoot along' style journeys (i.e. short pages, 1-3 questions per screen) is favoured by some high scorers in our review e.g. Hastings, Flow, but most major on or combine with a 'scroll' approach (larger numbers of questions per screen) e.g. AXA, Aviva, Asda, Diamond, Elephant, Esure, MoreThan, Sheila's Wheels, Swinton. There's no right or wrong here. It's about execution. Both can work well.

A minority in our review (Ageas, Rias) use 'progressive disclosure' (a stepped, long page scroll, where completed questions reveal additional questions)

The good, bad and ugly of steps

Good UX practice is to be transparent about the number of steps in your quote & buy journey and to label the steps. The idea is to help inform and orientate the user. Many UK car insurers follow the transparency principle, but some fall short or misjudge the execution.

Good practice is to be transparent about the number of journey steps and to label the steps.

Good - Admiral

A simple journey structure, a small number of clearly labelled steps. The user is clear about what to expect. 

Many others do similar versions of this with varying degrees of refinement e.g. Asda Money, AXA, Swiftcover, Elephant, Ageas.

Good - Hastings

A small number of clearly labelled steps. More understated than Admiral, more modern and refined than most.

Not so good - Direct Line

A larger number of unlabelled steps and lack of transparency. The user has no information about the journey ahead. 


Not so good - Flow

Similar to Direct Line but with a progress bar and even less information about the journey structure. The design intention is probably good; aiming to create a sense of ease and calm, strip away the noise, understate the task; however, the user is in the dark.

Could do better - Aviva

A clean design approach and numbered steps but no transparency on what will be asked. 

Right idea, poor execution - LV

LV= is transparent about the number of journey steps but labelling is compromised by the design structure. We suspect the labelling was an afterthought. The script font makes the label text difficult to read and inaccessible. The labels are not present on mobile devices. 

Other shout-outs

Natural language

Well done to Hastings, Elephant and Tesco for using natural language. Esure gets marked down for dated terms of reference e.g. asking customers to recognise themselves as 'Proposers'.

Weekly mileage calculators

Many users don't know their annual mileage but will have a better idea of distances driven in a typical week. Well done Hastings for auto-calculating weekly distances, also AXA for their calculator tool (pictured below) although this is a tad prosaic.

Support and help

Good in-journey support by Hastings, Elephant, Esure and Tesco as well as digital laggards NFUM. NFUM clearly up-weights the human support to deflect from their deficient online experience but credit where credit's due. Poor in-journey support by AXA and Aviva.

Consumer Duty - a precursor?

And with Consumer Duty coming in 2023, a shout out to Tesco for the care and attention they show at the start of their journey. Is this diligent approach the shape of things to come?

More digital insurance insights are available from DigitalBar and our UX insurance experts here at Pancentric Digital. 

DigitalBar is a specialist benchmarking service that measures digital standards in the insurance sector and promotes excellence by recognising good and progressive practices. Compare the digital capabilities, customer journeys and usability levels of more than 300 UK general insurers across multiple product classes including car, home, pet, travel, bicycle and more. The service is a joint venture initiative by digital experts Altus Consulting and Pancentric Digital.