The Research Department uses data from its Aequos database to analyse direct private car and home contents insurance, and packaged products for restaurants

Direct comprehensive motor cover
Eagle Star replaced its comprehensive private car policy in May with two new variants - Gold and Silver. Both offer comprehensive cover, but with significantly different levels of benefits. We looked at how these new products are positioned in the direct motor market.

The Gold cover policy offers all of the usual benefits associated with a comprehensive policy, including:

  • New car replacement for cars less than 12 months old and suffering damage costing more than 60% of the new vehicle price
  • Unlimited windscreen cover
  • Unlimited audio cover, for both standard and non-manufacturer fitted equipment
  • £10,000 personal accident benefits for people aged up to 79
  • Guaranteed no claims discount protection option for policyholders with more than five years claim-free
  • Full foreign use without limits on the period of travel.

    Despite these features the Gold policy still falls behind two other products - NFU Mutual and Cornhill Direct. Drawbacks of the policy are the relatively high fee for direct debits (8% of premium), and non-payment of customs duty on damaged cars not repatriated.

    The Silver policy strips out almost all elements of cover. There is no new-for-old car cover, only £100 of audio cover, no cover for personal belongings, medical expenses, lock replacement, personal accident, or hotel expenses. It is clearly targeted at the lower end of the market, for those who want the lowest comprehensive premium.

    Direct home contents insurance
    This month we looked at the contents policies on offer from the leading direct writers. There have been few major changes by the brand names in this market in recent months.

    Since its launch last year Bluesure's product remains a clear leader in terms of cover, with Churchill still trailing the pack. Non-traditional insurers such as Halifax Direct and Halifax part-owned Esure both offer products which are well positioned in the market. Key features of the Bluesure product include:

  • Bedroom rated contract with unlimited cover for contents
  • Money cover, up to £1,000
  • Lock replacement following loss of keys, up to £2,500
  • Contents in the open, up to £2,500
  • Loss of metered oil or water, up to £5,000
  • Unlimited freezer cover
  • Business equipment including stock, up to £5,000
  • £2m liability cover and £50,000 legal expenses as standard
  • No claims discount not available.

    Restaurant packages
    The packages market is one which does not see rapid change. We looked at policies available for restaurateurs. Looking at the 20 features analysed there is little difference between the leading two or three insurers. But across the market there are a wide range of different covers on offer.

    The Enterprise policy on offer from Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) via its call centres offers the widest range of cover, with NIG and Avon not far behind.

    Key features of the R&SA policy include:

  • Buildings and contents cover on an all risks basis as standard, with a £250 excess
  • Unlimited cover for glass replacement, with a £250 excess
  • Seasonal increase in contents sum insured of 50% during November, December and the month leading up to Easter
  • Frozen food cover up to £2,000 as standard
  • Business interruption up to £500,000 including loss of book debts up to £5,000
  • £4,000 of money cover as standard, including £2,000 of cover for money in the safe, with a £50 excess
  • £2m public liability cover
  • Optional legal expenses up to £100,000 per incident, £1m per year.

    Source: Aequos - for details: www.trd.co.uk , freephone 0808 1000804