Defaqto rating: 5/5 stars
The independent expert ratings agency awarded its top mark in 2020 for Sheilas' Wheels' comprehensive car insurance
Note: Not all Defaqto products with the same star ratings have the same covers and terms.
Trustpilot rating: 3.8/5 stars
Sheilas' Wheels car insurance has generally favourable ratings on Trustpilot, the customer review website. Its average score of 3.8 out of five stars, reflects an 'excellent' rating from 68% of more than 2,600 reviews.
Marketing towards women came as a result of underlying thinking that women are generally more careful drivers than men. However, the European Court of Justice ruled in 2011 that price discrimination based on gender breached EU rules on equality. Hence, the strongly female brand identity that's intended to appeal to women.
That said, the company offers its Defaqto five-star rated fully comprehensive policy and third party, fire and theft car insurance to both men and women.
Its comprehensive policy, however, still offers a few items as standard that the company believes make it stand out for female drivers – such as handbag cover and family-friendly repair workshops.
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The brand Sheilas’ Wheels – Sheilas named after the Australian slang term for a woman – was launched in October 2005 by Peter Wood, the insurance entrepreneur also noted as the founder of Direct Line and Esure.
Remembered primarily for its annoying, but effective, series of adverts starring the singing trio The Three Sheilas, Sheilas' Wheels is a part of the Esure group, which Wood co-founded with HBOS in February 2000.
All car insurance policies are arranged, administered and underwritten by Esure. By 2010, Sheilas' Wheels were also offering travel and home insurance, and in 2011 the company moved into the insurance brokerage market to help those with more exotic needs find car insurance.
The company offers a wide range of products and optional extras such as multi-car insurance discounts and breakdown cover.
Sheilas' Wheels offers the two main types of car insurance:
This covers you and your car against injury or damage as well as claims from other parties in a road traffic accident if you were involved
Third party, fire and theft
This only covers you against claims from other parties in an accident, or in the event your vehicle is burnt or stolen
The company also operates a multi-car insurance option that allows the policyholder to insure additional vehicles registered at their household for a discount.
Yes, Sheilas' Wheels Multicar is aimed at providing discounts to policyholders for insuring additional vehicles registered at their address and offers the following benefits:
Discounts – anyone over the age of 25 living in the same household qualify for a discount on their cars after you insure two or more cars with Sheilas' Wheels
Guaranteed quotes – subject to your personal details not changing, all quotes will be guaranteed for up to 12 months
Individual policies – each car insured enjoys its separate policy, so if a claim is made on one car, it won't affect the no claims discount on other vehicles
Yes, the company has moved into the brokerage market to help provide insurance to customers with needs that don’t always fit the Sheilas’ Wheels imprint.
For example, those with high-performance vehicles or classic cars, or perhaps those with a few points on their licence who are looking better insurance quotes.
Sheilas’ Wheels offers the following benefits, as standard, with its fully comprehensive insurance cover.
Open seven days a week to help you start you claims process.
Unlimited cover for death or injury to other people in a car accident you caused.
You will be provided with a vehicle to keep you on the road while your car is being fixed by recommended repairers.
Repairs carried out by workshops recommended by Sheilas’ Wheels will be guaranteed for five years.
The loss, theft or damage to any handbag in your vehicle, and its contents, will be covered up to £300.
Recommended repairers receive guidelines to ensure they are best suited to working with young families.
Subject to eligibility the policyholder will be insured when driving other cars.
A free phone service offered to the family of policyholders.
In addition to the above standard package of benefits, Sheilas’ Wheels offers – for an extra premium – a range of extra services.
If you are involved in a car accident that was partly, or wholly, the other driver's fault, this optional extra will help you recover legal costs up to £100,000 if the company believes you have a strong case.
This means costs that are not covered by the insurance policy such as compensation lawsuits, alternative travel arrangements and loss of earnings can be recovered.
The company may also pay up to £100,000 in legal costs to help defend a customer involved in a motoring incident.
If you are injured or killed in an accident that was your fault, Sheilas' Wheels will pay up to £100,000. It will also pay certain costs towards operations, physiotherapy, overnight hospital stays and dental repairs related to injuries sustained in an accident.
If your car is stolen and is unrecovered or a total write off, Sheilas' Wheels will provide a similar sized vehicle by the end of the next working day for up to 21 days while your claim is being processed.
If you lose your keys, or they are stolen or damaged, they will be replaced or retrieved if locked in your car.
If you put the wrong fuel in your tank, the RAC will get you back on the road and Sheilas' Wheels will cover the cost of draining and cleaning the fuel system and replenishing the tank with 10 litres of the correct fuel.
Provided by the RAC, Sheilas’ Wheels offers three levels of breakdown cover:
Roadside – which provides roadside assistance and repairs, and if the car cannot be fixed at the roadside it will be transported to the nearest garage
Roadside and Home Rescue – includes the above, with the addition of assistance if your car breaks down at home
Roadside, Home Rescue and Recovery – all the benefits of the above two, with the addition of a national recovery service to anywhere in the UK.
Sheilas' Wheels prides itself of supplying family friendly insurance and its quality customer service. Its after-claim support also stands out, with features such as counselling to help cope with the aftermath of an accident.
So, to sum up, the positives for Sheilas' Wheels:
Family friendly service and support
Counselling phone service for accident victims
Multi-car insurance discounts
The Three Sheilas reached number 91 in the UK singles chart in 2007 with a novelty single produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman called (I'm So) Happy Happy (You're Mine).
The company says on its website that there are 1,174 Sheilas' Wheels policyholders called Sheila, with one customer called Sheila Wheeler.
While the EU directive of 2011 effectively outlawed the practice of insurers charging women drivers less than men, studies have found that men, on average, are still paying £121 more than women to insure their cars.
This is not necessarily an equality issue, however, as men are more likely to buy more expensive, more powerful and newer cars than women, and professions such as footballers also drive up insurance costs for men.
The Financial Ombudsman Service received 268 car insurance complaints about Esure, owner of the Sheila’s Wheels brand, in the first half of 2020. That gives Esure just over 6% of all motor insurance complaints. Esure has 5.5% of market share, so received more complaints than might be expected for its size. But Esure sells cheap policies to normal drivers of standard cars, not expensive specialist policies. This means it probably has a greater number of policies for its market share. To put complaints in context, 67 firms had 10 or more complaints each and those totalled 4,550 complaints. Nearly 200 firms had fewer than 10 each, sharing just 479 complaints between them.