The travel insurance price battle was won by Options for single trip and annual cover, according to customer service performance measurement company Direct Excellence.

In a continuous programme of mystery shopping carried out in the final quarter of 2002, it also found that Goldfish entered the Top 10 lowest-priced single trip insurance at the expense of Sainsburys Bank, which slipped down to 12th. The key change in Top 10 annual cover list is the drop-out of Halifax Insurance and the entry of Bank of Scotland in at 10th place.

The best price providers are not to be seen in the fastest call table - so it might prove that low prices come at the expense of waiting.