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Clearing cookies - why does it help ?

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I’ve been wondering why it supposedly helps to clear cookies when using car insurance comparison sites. 

It’s said that insurers increase prices where they detect multiple quotes from the same computer by using the cookies.

I’m not sure that makes sense. Couldn’t they just use the car registration anyway ? 

If anyone works in the industry or knows for sure that would be interesting. 



  • davidmcndavidmcn Forumite
    19.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    You don't need to enter the registration to get a quote. Cookies are a more reliable method of detecting several quotes being sought from the same browser. To what extent they actually take it into account, I don't know. 
  • Dave360180Dave360180 Forumite
    111 posts
    Eighth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Is the idea that the comparison site detects it or passes the information to the merchants ? 

    Do they use the address if easier ?
  • GabiBGabiB Forumite
    247 posts
    100 Posts Name Dropper
    If you clear cookies it won’t confuse cashback sites (if you use them) as they will be able to track the visit? As for the comparison sites if you look for lots of quotes does it change your risk factor (and therefore pricing)?
    Financial Geek. Gadget and Tech Fan. Interested in Parking. Appeared on MLMS 2020.
  • Dave360180Dave360180 Forumite
    111 posts
    Eighth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Yes that explains it, I remember now. Clear cookies for cashback but not comparison sites necessarily. Thanks GabiB
  • AretnapAretnap Forumite
    3.9K posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    In the days when international air travel was still a thing ISTR noticing that prices with certain airlines often seemed a bit higher the second time I visited their website, and made a point of clearing my cookies or using a different browser if I was going back to book flights that I'd looked at earlier. This made sense to me - if you're coming back to flights that you've looked at before it's probably because you've decided to book them, and you're probably not going to be put off if the price has crept up by a few quid in the meantime. So why not put the price up a little.

    No idea if something similar happens with insurance quotes but it's worth remembering that the premium an insurer will quote depends both on their impression of how risky the customer is, and how price sensitive the customer is. So if you act like a price sensitive customer you would expect to get lower quotes. 
  • SandtreeSandtree Forumite
    1.4K posts
    1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Cookies is only one possible way insurers will detect repeat visitors, policy details, IP addresses and a number of other items can also be used. 

    Historically there have been lots of other theorised practices in online pricing (mainly outside insurance but no reason why it couldn't also apply to insurance) such as if a website detects a user is using MacOS then it may default the ordering differently (or change prices) than if it sees the user is on Windows XP. I've never known an insurance company to do similar but mass market products technical pricing is 99% statistics and the data will be there for them to do the analysis and price if there is a strong correlation in claims experience or elasticity etc... the last one I was involved with was looking at if car colour should be a rating factor.
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