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Hastings Direct car insurance review

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Operating since 1997, Hastings Direct now has 3.1 million live customer insurance policies across the UK.

Now one of the top five biggest car insurance providers in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll come across a Hastings Direct policy when you compare car insurance quotes.

Read on for our Hastings Direct car insurance review, including what each policy covers, how its customers feel about its service, and how you can make a claim.

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What car insurance cover is offered by Hastings Direct?

Hastings Direct has four main policies: Essential, Direct, Premier and YouDrive.

While Essential is only offered as a comprehensive car insurance policy, Direct, Premier and YouDrive can also be purchased as third party only, or third party, fire and theft.

All policies allow you to build up your no-claims bonus, but you’ll have to purchase no-claims discount protection as an optional extra.

Hastings Essential

With Hastings Essential comprehensive car insurance, your policy will include:

  • Damage to your car in an accident: if your car is damaged in an accident, you can claim for the repairs, up to its market value (excluding windscreens or glass windows)
  • Fire damage: if you car is damaged by fire, you can make a claim up to its market value
  • Theft: if you car is stolen, or damaged in an attempted theft, you can make a claim up to its market value
  • Third party liability: if you are in an accident, Hastings will cover damage to the other driver’s property, up to £20 million (or £25 million including all costs)
  • Personal accident: you, or your partner, can claim up to £1,000 for death or permanent loss of sight or limbs (above the ankle or wrist). If you are over the age of 75, this benefit is not available
  • Stolen keys: you can claim up to £300 to replace your locks and keys in the event they are stolen
  • Driving in Europe: you can drive in the EU, for up to 90 consecutive days with the same level of cover
  • Courtesy car cover: you can receive a temporary replacement vehicle if your car needs to be repaired following an accident, and you take it to an approved garage

Hastings Direct

If you purchase Hastings Direct at as third party only, you’ll be covered for:

  • Third party liability: if you are in an accident, you’ll be covered for damage to the other driver’s property, up to £20 million (or £25 million including all costs)
  • Driving in Europe: you can drive in the EU, for up to 90 consecutive days, at the same level of cover as you have taken out in the UK
  • Driving other cars: if eligible, you’ll be able to driver another car on your Hastings Direct policy, with third party only cover

If you upgrade to third party, fire and theft, your cover will also include:

  • Fire damage: you can claim up to the market value of your car if your vehicle is damaged in a fire
  • Theft: you can claim up to the market value of your car if it’s stolen, or damaged during an attempted theft
  • Unlimited cover for manufacture fitted audio/visual equipment: you can recover the costs of any audio or visual devices, such as your stereo, fitted by the manufacturer, without a cap
  • Aftermarket audio/visual equipment cover: you can claim up to £300 for any audio/visual equipment not fitted by the manufacturer
  • Stolen keys: you can claim up to £500 to replace locks and stolen keys
  • Child car seat cover: you can recover up to £300 for a child car seat, even if no damage is apparent
  • Onward travel: you can claim £50 per person, up to £250, if you can’t continue your journey as a result of loss or damage to your car. This can be spent on travel, or one night’s hotel accommodation
  • Courtesy car cover: you can receive a temporary replacement vehicle if you take your car to an approved garage in the event it needs repairs following an accident

If you choose Hastings Direct comprehensive cover, you’ll have further protection:

  • Damage to your car following an accident: if your vehicle is damaged in an accident, you’ll be able to claim for the costs
  • Personal accident: you, or your partner, can claim up to £5,000 for death or permanent loss of sight or limb (above the ankle or wrist). This isn’t available if you are over 75 years old
  • Medical expenses: you can claim up to £500 for each injured person following an accident
  • Personal belongings: you can claim up to £300 for personal belongings, in the event that your car is stolen or damaged. Exclusions apply, including money, jewellery, tools, mobile phones and laptops
  • Windscreen and window cover: you can claim for damages to your windscreens and windows
  • Uninsured driver promise: if you have to make a claim against an uninsured driver for an accident that is no your fault, you won’t lose your no claims discount or be required to pay an excess
  • Vandalism promise: you’ll not lose your no claims discount if you submit a claim for a car that has been vandalised, as long as you report the incident to the police and send Hastings the crime reference number

Hastings Premier

Hastings Premier breaks down in exactly the same way as the Hastings Direct policies above. You are able to choose from third party only, third party, fire and theft, or comprehensive car insurance.

In addition, with your Hastings Premier policy you’ll have:

  • Motor legal protection: legal costs up to £100,000 for certain types of disputes that arise if you have a road traffic accident
  • RAC breakdown cover: this includes roadside assistance beyond a quarter mile from your home, local recovery within 15 miles, and misfuelling costs in the UK. This can be upgraded to a higher level of breakdown cover

These additional policies are underwritten by a different insurer, and have their own terms and conditions you should familiarise yourself with.

Hastings YouDrive

Hastings YouDrive is a telematics insurance policy and, unlike many black box insurance policies, it’s available to all ages.

With a YouDrive policy, you’ll be sent a wireless tab in the post. Once you have received it, you place it in your car and pair it with the Hastings Direct app on your phone. It will then track and monitor your driving performance. Your driving will be then given a score, where anything above 30 is considered good.

Black box policies, such as YouDrive, can help make your car insurance premium cheaper in the long run, as you are proving to providers that you are a safe driver.

You can choose between third party only, third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive car insurance. What is covered at each level is the same as with a standard Hastings Direct insurance policy, as listed above.

Other Hastings Direct car insurance products

Aside from the four policies mentioned above, Hastings Direct also offers:

Hastings Direct car insurance policies at a glance

Hastings Essential Hastings Direct Hastings Premier Hastings YouDrive
Age range All All All All
Level of cover Comprehensive Third party, Third party, fire and theft, and Comprehensive Third party, Third party, fire and theft, and Comprehensive Third party, Third party, fire and theft, and Comprehensive
Injuries to other people Yes Yes Yes Yes
Damage to other people’s property Yes Yes Yes Yes
Theft Yes Yes (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive) Yes (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive) Yes (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive)
Fire damage Yes Yes (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive) Yes (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive) Yes (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive)
Repairs to your own car following accident Yes Yes (comprehensive) Yes (comprehensive) Yes (comprehensive)
Motor legal protection No No Yes No
Your medical expenses Personal accident cover up to £1,000 Medical expenses of up to £500 per injured person. Personal accident cover up to £5,000 (both comprehensive only) Medical expenses of up to £500 per injured person. Personal accident cover up to £5,000 (both comprehensive only) Medical expenses of up to £500 per injured person. Personal accident cover up to £5,000 (both comprehensive only)
Driving other cars No Yes (if eligible, third party cover only) Yes (if eligible, third party cover only) Yes (if eligible, third party cover only)
Breakdown cover Optional Optional Yes Optional
Courtesy car cover Yes Yes (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive) Yes (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive) Yes (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive)
Hire car cover Optional Optional Optional Optional
Windscreen replacement No Yes Yes Yes
Personal belongings No Up to £300 (comprehensive) Up to £300 (comprehensive) Up to £300 (comprehensive)
Replacement locks and keys Up to £300 Up to £500 (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive) Up to £500 (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive) Up to £500 (third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive)
Protected no claims bonus Optional Optional Optional Optional
Cancellation fee £0 (within 14 days) £45 (after 14 days) £0 (within 14 days) £45 (after 14 days) £0 (within 14 days) £45 (after 14 days) £0 (within 14 days) £45 (after 14 days)

Hastings Direct car insurance optional extras

For an additional cost, you can include the following optional extras with your Hastings Direct car insurance policy:

  • RAC breakdown cover: available in four different levels – Roadside, Roadside and recovery, Roadside, recovery and at home and European motoring assurance. Basic roadside cover is included with Hastings Premier as standard
  • Motor legal protection: up to £100,000 in legal costs (included with Hastings Premier as standard)
  • Protected no-claims bonus: you can protect your no-claims discount if you need to make a claim
  • Hire car cover: this is an upgraded version of the standard courtesy car cover

How to claim with Hastings Direct car insurance

If you need to make a car insurance claim through your Hastings Direct policy, you can do so online, via the provider’s mobile app, or over the phone (0333 321 9800).

When making a claim, you should:

  • Make sure everyone at the scene of the incident is safe and secure
  • Contact Hastings Direct as soon as possible, even if you don’t intend to make a claim. You have a maximum of seven days to contact Hastings
  • Hastings Direct will ask you for details of the incident, which will determine what kind of claim you make
  • The provider will then arrange the relevant course of action, for example booking an approved repairer, or sourcing a replacement vehicle

How to cancel Hastings Direct car insurance

If you want to cancel your Hastings Direct car insurance policy, you’ll need to call 0333 321 9801.

Hastings Direct will then calculate whether or not you are owed any money once the cancellation fees have been paid. You won’t be refunded any of your remaining premium if you have made a non-recoverable claim on your policy.

The cancellation fees are as follows:

Cancellation period Fee
Within 14 days of the start of your policy £0
After 14 days £45

How to contact Hastings Direct car insurance

If you need to contact Hastings Direct about your car insurance, you have the following options:

  • Phone: 0333 321 9796
  • Email: customersupport@hastingsdirect.com
  • Live chat in mobile app

You can also make changes through the MyAccount portal, online and via the mobile app.

If you want to make a complaint, meanwhile, you can:

  • Fill out an online complaints form
  • Call 0333 999 8904 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)
  • Write to Customer Relations Manager, Hastings Direct, Conquest House, Collington Avenue, Bexhill-On-Sea, East Sussex, TN39 3LW

Hastings Direct car insurance customer reviews

Hastings Direct has a ‘Great’ Trustpilot rating of 4.1 out of five, based on more than 131,100 reviews.

It’s important to note, however, that these reviews are for the Hastings Direct brand as a whole, and not just its car insurance products.

Of those that mention car insurance, many of the brand’s five star reviews mention how helpful Hastings Direct customer service was when they needed assistance. Competitive prices were also highlighted in multiple reviews.

As for those reviews that gave Hastings Direct one or two stars, many complained about their policy being unexpectedly cancelled. There were also a number of people who had purchased Hastings YouDrive without realising – always thoroughly check the details of your policy before paying.

“Needed insurance for a vehicle that had just been registered and so not on DVLA system and couldn’t be insured online. I was able to speak to a Hastings Direct agent (good to be able to speak to a real person!) who quickly and efficiently arranged the policy.”

“Competitive price as in recent months getting good comprehensive insurance has become so expensive even for people who try to drive carefully and want fair and reasonably priced insurance for doing so. Not having to pay more for those that don’t, that’s my main reason for choosing Hastings Direct car insurance.”

“My daughter had insurance with Hastings Direct and was paying over £2,000 per year as it’s her first car. She was 10 months in when they decided to do a “Policy review”. I supplied all the information they asked for and it turned out there were some small changes to be made. 1) Change the vehicle ownership from my name to her name. 2) Declare she had some stickers on the car. Once these were changed they decided to cancel her insurance. No apology it’s just cancelled. Oh and they charged me £45 for cancelling the policy early! Their customer service is appalling. Because of how they handled this, my daughter can no longer get insurance on a pay monthly as she’s had insurance cancelled. Stay well clear of these cowboys.”

What Defaqto rating does Hastings Direct car insurance have?

Hastings Direct has the following Defaqto ratings for its various car insurance policies:

  • Essential: ★★
  • Direct (third party, fire and theft): ★★★★
  • Direct (comprehensive): ★★★★★
  • Premier (third party, fire and theft)
  • Premier (comprehensive): ★★★★★
  • YouDrive (third party, fire and theft): ★★★★ (but ★★★ as a telematics policy)
  • YouDrive (comprehensive): ★★★★★ (but ★★★ as a telematics policy)

How does Hastings Direct compare to its competitors?

Provider name Trustpilot score Defaqto score
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 4.0 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Third party, fire and theft)
Direct Line 3.7 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Third party, fire and theft and Essentials)
AXA 4.3 stars 4 stars (5 stars for Plus)
LV= 4.5 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Third party, fire and theft)
esure 3.3 stars 5 stars (4 stars for Third party, fire and theft)
Ageas 4.1 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Essentials, and Telematics)
NFU Mutual 4.4 stars 5 stars

All scores are correct as of 16 November 2023.

Conclusion

The ability to purchase the Hastings Direct, Premier and YouDrive policies as third party only, third party, fire and theft, or comprehensive means you have a great deal of flexibility when picking the right level of cover for your needs.

A two star Defaqto rating for Hastings Essential means that it might not be the best option when compared to other similarly positioned policies.

However, four star ratings for its third party, fire and theft cover, and five stars for the comprehensive versions of Direct and Premier, should give you confidence when picking one of those policies.

And unlike many other providers, regardless of your age you can benefit from a black box insurance policy.

Hastings Direct car insurance FAQs

Hastings Direct car insurance is underwritten by Advantage Insurance Company Limited.

Hastings Direct car insurance is owned by Hastings Insurance Services Ltd.  Alongside car insurance, Hastings Direct also offers personal loans and home insurance.

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.