The steady stream of demutualisations has slowed to a trickle and there is now a very small field of mutuals and building societies from which to choose insurance products. The Research Department analyses buildings, contents and private car products to see how they perform in their respective markets
The insurance product most associated with mutuals is buildings insurance, traditionally allied to a mortgage. Where companies offered more than one buildings product we looked at the one offering the best level of cover.
None of the mutual products was best in the market - that position is held by Bluesure. There is little overall diversity in the buildings insurance market, and most mutuals offer acceptable levels of cover.
After Bluesure, the West Bromwich Building Society offers the best level of cover among the panel analysed. Key features include:
Areas where the West Bromwich lags behind include:
When we look at contents products there is much more diversity in the cover on offer, compared to buildings policies.
However, market leader Marks & Spencer significantly outstrips the mutual providers, with only NFU Mutual coming close.
The others form a trailing pack offering similar levels of cover.
Key features of the NFU Mutual product include:
Private car policies
Unsurprisingly there are considerably fewer private car policies available from the mutuals, since most of the remaining building societies are too small to offer these products. However, for comprehensive motor insurance NFU Mutual is a clear market leader.
Other mutuals like CIS, Royal London and Nationwide offer products that appear to fit in well with what is probably their target audience - mid-market in terms of both cover and price.
For comparison we have included a small number of policies available in the broker market. Key features of the NFU Mutual policy include:
The only area in which NFU Mutual cover is not market leading is in the provision of a courtesy car in the event of a total loss claim.
A number of other insurers do offer a courtesy car for at least a few days in these circumstances.