New research reveals that the time it takes in getting through to a call centre is just as important to motor insurance-buying customers as comparing costs and cover.

According to research from consumer information company Experian, 47% of callers had at some point decided not to wait in a queue when calling an insurer for a quotation and had picked another company instead. The survey involved interviews with 300 used car buyers – almost all of whom were in the process insuring a vehicle.

Other findings show that 44% of those surveyed cited cost as the deciding factor when buying insurance, while 19% said that a freephone number was the biggest incentive when picking a new insurance company for a quote.

"There is always a balance between the cost to the customer and the level of service provided," said Experian's Steve Kilmister. "Our research shows that when seeking insurance for a newly-acquired car, the first impressions of an insurer, such as an 0800 number and how quickly the quote is given are important."