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Dial Direct car insurance review

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Part of the BGL Group, Dial Direct is an insurance broker with more than 3 million customers across the UK. 

As it is a broker, it means your policy will be underwritten by one of the company’s panel of insurers, rather than Dial Direct itself.

Every Dial Direct policy comes with breakdown cover as standard. That means it might be worth exploring if breakdown assistance is one of your must-haves when comparing car insurance quotes

But what is it like as an insurer? Read our Dial Direct car insurance review to find out. We take a look at the policies it offers, the process for making a claim, and what customers say about its service online.

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What car insurance cover is offered by Dial Direct?

Dial Direct three main policies: third party cover, third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive car insurance

You can take out these policies as standard or Premier policies. With Dial Direct Premier, your policy will include motor legal protection as standard. 

Third party

If you take out a standard Dial Direct third party policy, your cover will include:

  • Injuries to other people: you’ll be covered if you injure, or kill, someone as a result of a motor accident
  • Damage to third party property: your policy will cover you in the event that you damage someone else’s property as a result of an accident
  • RAC breakdown cover: with Dial Direct, breakdown cover is included with all of its policies. It comes with UK roadside and recovery as standard, with the option to upgrade to a higher level of cover
  • Driving abroad: you can drive across the EU with the level of cover dictated by your policy for up to 60 days

If you have Dial Direct Premier third party insurance, you’ll also have motor legal protection. This will cover up to £100,000 in legal expenses to pursue uninsured losses following an accident. You can also claim up to £20,000 to cover legal expenses for motor prosecution defence, as well as access to a 24/7 motor legal advice helpline. 

Third party, fire and theft

Dial Direct third party, fire and theft insurance includes everything found at the third party level, as well as:

  • Fire damage: you can make a claim if your car is damaged in a fire
  • Theft: you can make a claim if your car is stolen, or damaged in an attempted theft
  • Manufacturer-fitted audio equipment: if the sound system fitted when the car was made is damaged or lost due to an insured event, you’ll have unlimited cover
  • Aftermarket audio equipment: you can claim up to £500 for any audio equipment fitted after your car was made if it is lost or damaged in an insured event

If you have Dial Direct Premier third party, fire and theft insurance, you’ll have the same level of motor legal protection included with third party cover.

Comprehensive

With standard Dial Direct comprehensive insurance, your policy will include everything from the lower levels of cover, as well as:

  • Accidental damage to your vehicle: you can make a claim if your car is damaged in an accident
  • Windscreen cover: you can claim for your windscreens and window glass to be repaired or replaced
  • Child car seat cover: you can claim up to £300 for a replacement car seat following an insured event, even if there appears to be no damage to the item
  • Personal belongings: you can claim up to £150 for any personal belongings not permanently fitted to the car (exclusions apply)
  • Courtesy car: if you’re in an accident, and take your car to a Dial Direct-approved repairer, you’ll be able to get a small hatchback as a temporary replacement
  • Medical expenses: you can claim up to £200 in medical expenses per injured person following an accident
  • Personal accident cover: you can claim up to a maximum of £10,000 in personal accident cover per incident, with a maximum of £5,000 for death, total loss of sight in one or both eyes, or the loss of a limb above the wrist or ankle
  • Replacement locks and keys: you can claim up to £500 if your ignition device is stolen, and you need to replace the key and associated locks
  • Uninsured driver promise: if you’re in a non-fault accident with an uninsured driver, your excess will be refunded
  • Vandalism promise: if your car is damaged by an act of vandalism, you can get your excess refunded if you report the incident to the police and provide Dial Direct with the crime reference number
  • Driving other vehicles: if eligible, you’ll be able to drive other cars under this policy, but with third party cover only

If you have Dial Direct Premier comprehensive car insurance, you’ll have the same motor legal protection included with the other levels of cover.

Dial Direct car insurance policies at a glance

Third party Third party, fire and theft Comprehensive
Age range All All All
Level of cover Third party Third party, fire and theft Comprehensive
Injuries to other people Yes Yes Yes
Damage to other people’s property Yes Yes Yes
Theft No Yes Yes
Fire damage No Yes Yes
Repairs to your own car following accident No No Yes
Motor legal protection Yes (Dial Direct Premier) Optional (standard Dial Direct insurance) Yes (Dial Direct Premier) Optional (standard Dial Direct insurance) Yes (Dial Direct Premier) Optional (standard Dial Direct insurance)
Your medical expenses No No Up to £200 per injured person Up to £10,000 personal accident cover (maximum payment £5,000 for death, loss of sight, or loss of limb)
Driving other cars No No Yes (if eligible, third party only)
Breakdown cover Yes Yes Yes
Courtesy car cover No No Yes
Hire car cover Optional Optional Optional
Windscreen replacement No No Yes
Personal belongings No No Yes
Replacement locks and keys Optional Optional Up to £500 (optional keycare cover available)
Protected no-claims bonus Optional Optional Optional
Cancellation fee £30 (within 14-day cooling off period) £45 (after 14 days) £30 (within 14-day cooling off period) £45 (after 14 days) £30 (within 14-day cooling off period) £45 (after 14 days)

Dial Direct car insurance optional extras

You can add the following optional extras to your Dial Direct car insurance:

  • Motor legal protection: if you opt to purchase standard Dial Direct cover, instead of Premier insurance, you can still add motor legal protection as an optional extra
  • Guaranteed replacement car: unlike with courtesy car cover, the guaranteed replacement car add-on provides you with a temporary replacement vehicle (of up to 1,000cc) following any insured event, not just accidental damage 
  • Keycare cover: with this add-on, you can claim up to £1,000 if your keys are lost, stolen or locked in a building or vehicle. This cover not only applies to car keys, but home and business premises keys as well

How to claim with Dial Direct car insurance

If you need to make a car insurance claim through Dial Direct, you should:

  1. Check the safety of everyone involved: first, you should check everyone involved in the incident is safe and secure, including yourself, your passengers, and any third parties
  2. Swap information: if a third party was involved in the incident, you’ll need to exchange details. This includes personal information, such as your contact details, alongside your insurance policy number
  3. Gather evidence: it’s wise to take photos and videos of any damage, and make a note of relevant details, such as the time of day, weather conditions, and precise location. You may also want to talk to any witnesses as the scene of the incident
  4. Contact Dial Direct: even if you don’t want to make a claim, you should inform your insurer about the incident as soon as you can. You can do so by calling Dial Direct’s 24/7 claims helpline on 0344 412 2142
  5. Wait for instructions: once you’ve explained the situation to Dial Direct, the provider will explain the next steps you should take. For example, your vehicle may need to be recovered from the scene, and a hire car may need to be arranged

How to cancel Dial Direct car insurance

You will need to contact Dial Direct to cancel your car insurance policy.

As long as you haven’t made a claim, you’ll be refunded for the time remaining on your premium, minus the following charges:

Cancellation period Fee
Within 14 days of your policy start date £30
After 14 days, or if Dial Direct needs to cancel your policy £45

How to contact Dial Direct car insurance

If you need to contact Dial Direct about your car insurance, and it isn’t related to a claim, you can:

  • Webchat: once you are logged in to your Dial Direct online account, you can contact the provider’s webchat team
  • Phone: 0344 412 2137 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday; 8am to 6pm Saturdays; 10am to 4pm Sundays)
  • Email: contact@dialdirect.co.uk 
  • You’ll incur an amendment fee of £25 if you need to make any changes to your policy following the 14-day cooling off period. 

Dial Direct car insurance customer reviews

Dial Direct has an ‘Excellent’ Trustpilot score of 4.4 out of five stars, based on more than 20,600 reviews. 

It is important to note that this score reflects Dial Direct as a whole, and not just its car insurance products. Dial Direct also offers van insurance and home insurance.

Of its five-star reviews that mention car insurance, customers praise Dial Direct for the ease of its application process and its competitive quotes.

However, customers complained about high renewal quotes (which isn’t just an issue with Dial Direct, but the wider car insurance industry), poor customer service and difficulties with receiving or accessing policy documents.

“Transferring the insurance on my car was quick and easy to do online. Being in my 70s and not tech savvy, I was anxious to begin with, but was pleasantly surprised. It took no time at all to set up the new and cheaper insurance and I’m happy with the result.”

“Very impressive quote for car insurance that beat my current provider substantially. Easy to switch and sign up. Very happy with the process, cover and breakdown recovery.”

“Easy to set up car insurance online. But because we already have a policy on another car with you we cannot use your portal as we use one email address, [which] doesn’t encourage customers to have more than one policy. I had to ring up to ask for my documents which involved a 28 minute wait before being connected to an advisor. Was promised the documents by email that day but I had to call again three days later, which again involved a long wait, to request them again.”

What Defaqto rating does Dial Direct car insurance have?

On top of its ‘Excellent’ Trustpilot rating, Dial Direct has the following reviews on Defaqto:

  • Third party, fire and theft car insurance: ★★★
  • Premier third party, fire and theft car insurance: ★★★
  • Comprehensive car insurance: ★★★★
  • Premier comprehensive car insurance: ★★★★

How does Dial Direct compare to its competitors?

Provider name Trustpilot score Defaqto score
Dial Direct 4.4 stars 4 stars (3 stars for third party, fire and theft policies)
esure 3.1 stars 5 stars (4 stars for Third party, fire and theft, 3 stars for Flex)
Ageas 4.1 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Essentials)
Axa 4.3 stars 5 stars (3 stars for standard third party, fire and theft and comprehensive car insurance)
Direct Line 3.7 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Third party, fire and theft and Essentials)
People’s Choice 1.4 stars 5 stars (4 stars for third party, fire and theft)
Hastings Direct 4.1 stars 5 stars (4 stars for Third party, fire and theft, 3 stars for Telematics, 2 stars for Essential)
Admiral Insurance 4.4 stars 5 stars (4 stars for Telematics, 3 stars for Essential)
Aviva 3.9 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Third party, fire and theft)
LV 4.5 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Third party, fire and theft)
NFU Mutual 4.4 stars 5 stars

Conclusion

One of the biggest benefits of Dial Direct car insurance is that every policy, including third party only, comes with RAC breakdown cover as standard. You can also select a Premier policy at all levels of cover if you automatically want motor legal protection to be included.

However, there are a few points worth mentioning. Dial Direct only has four-stars from Defaqto for its standard and Premier comprehensive insurance policies, which puts it behind many of its competitors.

Its cancellation fees during the 14-day cooling off period are also quite high, while you can only drive abroad under your policy for 60, rather than 90, days. The uninsured driver promise, meanwhile, appears not to protect your no-claims bonus, and its in-car equipment cover is seemingly limited to audio systems only. 

Frequently asked questions about Dial Direct car insurance

Dial Direct is an insurance broker owned by BGL Group PLC (which also owns Budget Insurance, Zenith Insurance and Jaunt). 

This means its car insurance policies are underwritten by a panel of leading insurance companies in the UK. 

As for Dial Direct’s various add-ons and extras, they are underwritten or provided by the following:

  • Motor legal protection: RAC Insurance Ltd (administered by ACM ULR Ltd)
  • Breakdown cover: RAC Motoring Services
  • Guaranteed replacement car: ARAG PLC on behalf of SCOR UK Company Limited (administered by ACM ULR Ltd)
  • Keycare cover: Ageas Insurance Ltd (administered by Keycare)

Dial Direct’s parent company, BGL Group, is based in Peterborough.

Connor Campbell

Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.

Amy Reeves

Editor

Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.