Defaqto rating: 5/5 stars
Churchill’s car insurance policies enjoy a five-star rating on Defaqto.
Note: Not all Defaqto products with the same star ratings have the same covers and terms.
Trustpilot rating: 4.3/5 stars
Churchill has a 4.3-star rating, with more than two-thirds of 2,700 reviewers awarding an 'excellent' grade.
Churchill is a highly rated insurance company on many business rating websites. It offers comprehensive and third-party, fire and theft policies, with many quality services provided as standard under its comprehensive cover.
Churchill, famed for its nodding bulldog mascot, was founded by Martin Long in 1989 and was one of the first insurers to provide cover directly to customers without the need of brokers.
Offering the two main levels of motor insurance, Churchill has built a strong reputation and is rated highly on review websites and customer endorsement pages.
Backed, initially, by Credit Suisse subsidiary Winterthur, Churchill launched its first website in 1995, and a year later “Churchie” – the nodding pooch with the "Oh, yes" catchphrase – was adopted as its mascot.
A year after its 1989 launch, Churchill added home insurance to its range of products, and it now also offers cover for vehicle breakdown, travel, pets, young drivers, life insurance and over-50s life insurance, public liability cover and landlord insurance.
In 2002, the company's biggest coup was the acquisition of the insurance business of venerated 172-year-old financial services group Prudential. The following year, however, saw the purchase of Churchill by Royal Bank of Scotland for £1.1bn.
Following its bailout during the financial crisis, RBS was instructed to sell off many of its non-banking assets. The company hived off its insurance business and Churchill became part of the new Direct Line Group, which became fully divested in 2014.
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Churchill offers, as standard, the following services:
a 24-hour emergency helpline
guaranteed repairs for five years if you use one of Churchill's approved repairers
Comprehensive policies also include:
vandalism promise – report your vandalised vehicle to the police and get your crime reference number, and you won't lose your no claims discount when you make a claim for repairs
uninsured driver promise – if a driver without insurance hits your car and it wasn't your fault Churchill will cover the excess and protect your no claims discount
new car cover – if your car is written off, or stolen and not recovered and is less than a year old, Churchill will replace it with a new one of the same make and model
personal accident cover - for the policyholder and their spouse or partner up to the value of £5,000
cover for belongings inside the car
courtesy car provided when you use a Churchill-approved repairer
Discounts are available on up to 10 vehicles in a household, and this option allows policyholders the following benefits:
Keep separate renewal dates on each vehicle so that the policyholder can spread out the expense over the year
Other policyholders, including family and friends living at your address, can be added
If one of the policyholders has an accident in their vehicle, the no claim discount on other vehicles in the household is unaffected
Given the expense of insuring young or newly qualified car drivers, Churchill will offer various discounts under its DriveSure telematics policy.
DriveSure is Churchill's 'black box' insurance scheme and uses GPS technology and motion sensors to determine whether the car is being driven safely, recording metrics such as cornering and steering, braking, speed and mileage.
DriveSure has a five-star rating on Defaqto and Moneyfacts and was named as one of the top three car insurance schemes for young drivers by Bought By Many in February 2020.
The scheme offers:
Up-front discounts during the driver's first year on the road, provided they've passed their test
Discounts at renewal for good driving scores
Instant installation using an app on your smartphone, and instant access to scores on the app's dashboard
No rise in premium mid-term based on bad driving scores
In addition to its standard package of services, Churchill offers a range of optional extras that can be added to your insurance policy for an additional premium.
This service, provided by Churchill’s breakdown cover partner Green Flag, is packaged up into four tiers of service options:
Churchill Breakdown Service – There is no call out charge for this basic package, or any of the other levels of cover. It offers 24/7 roadside assistance, and includes towing to the nearest garage if necessary
Churchill Homecall Service – In addition to the above services, this option offers assistance for car breakdowns that occur at home
Churchill Homecall and Rescue Service – This adds on to all the above services, the option for long-distance recovery. If your vehicle cannot be fixed at the roadside, it can be taken anywhere in the UK
Churchill Advanced Rescue Service – The Advanced services offers all the above, with the addition of cover within Europe
This can be added to your policy for an additional premium to help the policyholder claim compensation from the person responsible for an accident, and will provide up to £100,000 of legal costs, so long as there is a better than 50% chance that the claim will be successful.
This service will help the policyholder claim injury damages, loss of earnings, medical expenses and loss of possessions.
In the event of an accident that wasn’t your fault, Churchill will appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf, evaluating what you can claim and the chances of your claim succeeding. The service will also locate specialists that may be needed for your claim, such as medical experts or legal counsel.
This optional extra can be added to your policy and stands out from the standard provision of a courtesy car by offering, for an additional premium, the guarantee of a hire car similar in size to the one damaged, stolen or written off.
The service also offers cover for up to 21 days in a row, giving you plenty of time to repair or replace your car, and allows for up £500 travel costs for the 21 days should you be unable to drive following an accident.
Churchill marketing manager Emma Cava highlights that the company has been a name to trust for more than 30 years, and with Churchie as mascot, one of the most instantly recognisable brands in the market.
She adds that Churchill has been rewarded with five-star Defaqto and Moneyfacts ratings because its customers enjoy peace of mind knowing that they’re covered by a 24-hour emergency helpline, a vandalism promise to ensure no claims discounts are maintained and a courtesy car to keep drivers on the road.
In May Churchill said it would give a partial refund to customers who have not been using their cars as much during the Covid-19 pandemic. A statement read: “Your insurance premium is partially based on estimated mileage, so if you’re not on the road as much, it’s only fair you get some money back.”
In June 2019, parent company Direct Line announced a partnership with Starling, the challenger bank. Churchill has been added to Starling’s in-app Marketplace and the bank’s customers who choose to select home insurance will be directed to the insurer’s quote page.
The Financial Ombudsman Service received fewer than 10 car insurance complaints about Churchill (that might have been a single complaint) in the first half of 2020. The Ombudsman did receive 471 car insurance complaints about UK Insurance, owner of the Churchill brand, in the first half of 2020. This was the second highest number of complaints but that would be expected of the second biggest car insurer in the UK. Crucially UK insurance had just over 9% of complaints but nearly 14% of the market, so had far fewer complaints than might be expected given its size. To put that 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.