Insurance companies are more popular for both advice and buying car and home insurance than a broker, finds the National Consumer Council (NCC).

Its latest report found 28% of the 2,000 people interviewed chose an insurance company for car cover compared to 25% who chose a broker.

And 23% preferred an insurance company for home cover compared to 13% who opted to use a broker.

Moreover, the vast majority of people were either very or quite confident about making a decision about which was the best product for them to buy.

Conversely, the report also reveals that consumers find it increasingly difficult to get truly independent advice about key financial services.

There is a real contradiction between what consumers say is important for effective advice and where they say they would go for financial advice.

"Among consumers overall – those with and without recent financial decision-making experience – more now feel that getting truly independent advice is difficult than believed that five years ago," said NCC director Anna Bradley.

"Not surprisingly our survey shows that, in practice, consumers seek advice from providers themselves – banks, building societies and insurance companies – where product information and choice is usually limited to those of a few or only one company."

Most consumers (58% overall) do not know how much it costs to see an independent financial adviser.

Around a quarter think independent advice is free of charge (23%), and only around one in five (19%) said it would cost something.