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It’s a case of form and function.

Just as a little road-test, I’m going to check out the functionality of two UK based insurance providers in terms of online user experience.

When getting a quote for car insurance, web forms are very time consuming and require a lot of detail. It is therefore incredibly tempting to go to an aggregator in order to generate multiple quotes instead.

How do companies such as Zurich and Allianz make the journey easier for the potential customer and hopefully dissuade them from going to comparison sites for their quotes?


Allianz offers a range of insurance products, from standard car and home to equine and musician. It also has a fully responsive website which is handy for researching cover on the go.

For now let’s take a look at getting a quote on desktop for car insurance.

Links to car insurance are fairly obvious, with links across the top, in a side menu and there’s a bright orange call-to action offset nicely against the greys and blues.

As you fill out your details, the blue ticks are a handy indicator that you’re completing it fully and correct. 

The ‘Find’ buttons work fine and quickly loads content, although occasionally we’ve found that the number plate finder was slow to retrieve information and also crashed.

However this problem seems to have been fixed as of today and in more positive news, once getting through to the personal details form, Allianz has enabled auto-fill to save time, unlike other insurance sites like Confused.com or Gocompare.

In past experience, it’s always been a bit of a gamble as to whether my job title would actually show up within a hover menu on any form, however this isn’t too bad.

I’m not a copywriter but I’m sure the insurer wouldn’t debate too semantically about my choice. Unfortunately ‘bloggers’ will have to find their insurance elsewhere, or embark on a slightly more sequined career path…

At the bottom of the form is where you find the entry fields for any penalties on your licence. In one test, after entering a simple three-point penalty speeding fine, the quote process ended abruptly without warning.

This is quite frustrating, as it could have possibly told you about its restrictions before filling in the lengthy form. Especially as half way through when filling in your previous claims information, a pop-up box warns the user that they will have to provide proof of this at a later stage.

For successful applicants though… 

This screen featuring a variety of clickable options and a sliding widget that allows you to adjust your voluntary excess, which immediately updates the final quote.

Generally speaking the forms are easy to fill in, loading times are good with the final quote arriving quickly, and error handling was clear and not too pernickety, with un-line validation telling you immediately you’ve gone wrong before submission.

To improve matters, text fields could certainly be larger, more warning could be made available prior to filling in regards to penalty restrictions, and perhaps the lengthy form could be broken up over multiple, easier to digest pages.

Again on the plus side though, on a mobile the Allianz site is a pleasure to use, with large text boxes, predictive autofill options and large scrollable menus.


Zurich has exactly the sort of down-to-Earth photography featuring warmth and ostensibly ‘real’ people that insurance companies need to instil trust in potential customers. 

CTA wise the green ‘get a quote’ button is subtly offset against the blue, which is just one of many indicators towards suggesting that this is offering a more ‘tasteful’ experience’, including the soft typeface and unfussy navigation.

On the car insurance page you confronted by a rather lengthy form, however there is clear indication that this will just be the first of three pages in total.

Perhaps for the less website-savvy, a little text box appears immediately to indicate what the question marks mean. There will be very little ambiguity in what you’re doing here.

Unfortunately there is no option for auto-fill at the start of the form, however pop-up boxes make your journey through the form completely idiot-proof.

In terms of error handling, the form prompts you immediately when you’ve gone wrong and offers a solution.

Thankfully auto-fill kicks in when you get to the address section.

At the bottom of the form, I came unstuck. Two error messages appeared indicating mistakes I had made along the way, which I wasn’t made aware of while filling in the form.

Although I had written the cover start date as today, this was considered ‘in the past’.

The more observant of you will have realised where I went wrong. It took me a good few minutes to figure it out.

The next problem I encountered was that right at the very end after filling in a speeding fine with three points, I was then told I couldn’t be insured.

Once again an early warning of this would have saved a lot of time.

Apart from this niggle, the form is easy to fill-in, completely clear on its message and provides loads of help along the way.

Perhaps it loses points because it doesn’t have a mobile optimised site, but then again one would have to ask the question would anybody really be purchasing insurance on a mobile phone?

For loads more advice on optimising web forms, check out Graham Charlton's double-hitter: 12 useful tips and 10 more useful tips.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 23 July, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (1)


Alison Brundle

Good to see that both Zurich and Allianz are using an address lookup tool to make it easier for their customers to enter their details. As more people start using their mobile to get quotes (which I think is inevitable), moving towards a 'search-as-you-type' solution for address lookup such as Capture+, could further improve the user experience.

about 2 years ago

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