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Hastings Direct car insurance

Hastings Direct lets you build your own policy online. This can work well, but with Hastings offering so many options, you need to investigate them carefully to ensure you get the cover you need.

How good is Hastings Direct car insurance?

Defaqto rating: 5/5 stars

Several of Hastings Direct's products are rated as five star by Defaqto, an independent financial research company.

Note: Not all Defaqto five-star rated products have the same covers and terms.

Trustpilot rating 4.4/5 stars

Hastings Direct scores 4.4/5 on trustpilot.com, based on 63,742 reviews, and 67% of reviewers rated the company 'Excellent'. However, 10% rated it as 'Bad'.

Some customers complain that premiums have risen considerably on renewal. Others comment that after expensive renewal quotes they have cancelled their policy and consulted comparison sites, only to end up back with the same Hastings Direct cover for a lower price.

About Hastings Direct car insurance

Hastings Direct is a trading name of Hastings Insurance Services Ltd, and is part of the Hastings Group, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange. Hastings Insurance Services offers policies under several brands:

  • Hastings Direct, which also includes Hastings Premier, Hastings Essential, Hastings Van insurance and Hastings Bike insurance

  • Hastings SmartMiles telematic (black box) insurance

  • People's Choice 

  • InsurePink

Around 90% of its policies are directly underwritten by the group’s own insurer, Gibraltar-based Advantage Insurance Company, but its vehicle policies are also sourced from four other insurance providers. Its optional add-ons come from six further providers.

  • Hastings Direct motor insurance sold its first policy in 1997.

  • It has 2.8 million live customer policies. 

  • It claims to have 7.7% of the total private car market in 2019, up from 7.5% in 2018.

  • Despite being called Hastings it is based in Bexhill-on-Sea.

Hastings likes to boast of its "straightforward approach," offering "great service and straightforward products at competitive prices."

Most customer interaction is digital, and the company offers a mobile app, 'My Account' portal and digital claims notifications.  It also has a 'phone contact centre in Leicester. 

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Should I buy Hastings Direct car insurance?

Hastings Direct lets you build your own policy online. That may suit you, but Hastings offers many options, so investigate them first. 

Hastings car insurance includes car, bike, van and telematics black box policies, mainly online. It's a broker but gives no recommendations or advice, so research what you want before you start choosing products and extras.

Some of Hastings' policies are Defaqto five-star rated, which means they offer some of the widest range of features on the market. 

However, not all of its five-star products offer the same features, the five-star ratings are limited to its comprehensive policies, and some products earn less than five stars or even none. 

Choose carefully to avoid buying the wrong level of cover, which could invalidate your policy.

Hastings Direct car insurance policies

Budget car insurance offer three choices of cover: 

  1. Fully comprehensive

  2. Third party, fire and theft (TPFT)

  3. Third party only (TP)

  4. Telematic (black box)

Comprehensive policies have the most features. Hastings points out that depending on your insurance history, comprehensive may not always work out more expensive.

Hastings offers black box, or telematics, insurance. Its Hastings Direct SmartMiles telematics insurance is Defaqto five-star, and Moneyfacts five-star rated. This kind of insurance can be new to many people so find out more about it.  

Hastings provides multi-car insurance and it can be tailored so each car has a different level of cover, excess and additional products. 

For new customers the second policy will be set upon renewal – so new customers must be insured at least a year before they can apply for multicar cover. 

Taking out a multi-car insurance policy can help reduce your insurance costs: 

  • if you own more than one car

  • if you’re a family with more than one driver

  • if you’re a couple with more than one vehicle 

Hastings does not offer temporary cover.  If this is what you need, compare quotes for short-term or temporary car insurance.

Hastings Direct standard car insurance cover

Hastings Direct is the company's 'standard' policy. Its comprehensive version offers  

  • no claims discount protection

  • a courtesy car

  • EU cover up to 90 days per trip

  • personal accident cover

  • cover for child seats

  • in-car entertainment cover

  • windscreen cover

Its Hastings Premier comprehensive policy also offers breakdown cover and motor legal expenses cover as standard.

Personal accident cover comes as standard in Hastings Direct and Hastings Direct Premier comprehensive car and van insurance policies, but not Hastings Essential, SmartMiles, People's Choice or InsurePink.

Hastings Direct, Hastings Direct Premier and Hastings SmartMiles comprehensive car insurance policies offer windscreen cover. It is not standard on their TP or TPFT versions, or on Hastings Essential policies.

Its van policies (in comprehensive form) offer unlimited windscreen and glass cover. People's Choice and InsurePink offer it as standard on comprehensive policies only.

Hastings Direct and Hastings Premier comprehensive policies offer personal belongings cover as standard. It is not included in Hastings Essential policies. InsurePink comprehensive policies offer up to £300 cover, but this excludes money, jewellery, tools, mobile phones, laptops and certain other belongings.

This is standard on Hastings Direct and Premier comprehensive policies and SmartMiles comprehensive. It can be bought as an add-on.

This is included as standard in comprehensive versions of Hastings Premier car and Hastings Premier van policies but not Hastings Direct policies. It is available as an add-on. It comes from the RAC and offers four levels of cover including roadside assistance.

Driving in Europe

Many Hastings policies include cover for 90 days in the EU and certain other countries. These include:

  • Hastings Direct (all levels of cover)

  • Hastings Premier (all levels of cover)

  • Hastings Direct van: with comprehensive cover only

  • Hastings Premier van (all levels of cover) 

  • SmartMiles (all levels of cover)

  • InsurePink (all levels of cover)

Hastings Essential offers no overseas cover as standard.

Key cover is not standard on any Hastings Group policies but it can be bought as an optional extra. It offers £1,500 to cover replacement of lost or stolen keys and up to £75 a day for car hire up to three days if your car's stranded, and access to emergency assistance.

Hastings Direct additional car insurance cover options

Key cover is not standard on any Hastings Group policies but it can be bought as an optional extra. It offers £1,500 to cover replacement of lost or stolen keys and up to £75 a day for car hire up to three days if your car's stranded, and access to emergency assistance.

Misfuelling cover is not included in any standard policies but is available with the add-on RAC breakdown cover.

What are Hastings' 'promises'?

This means if you have to make a vandalism claim on your insurance policy, you won't lose your no-claims discount provided:

  • You pay the excess 

  • You report the incident to the police and provide Hastings with the crime reference number. 

  • Without the crime reference number your no-claims discount may be affected.

If you're involved in a non-fault accident with an uninsured driver, the Defaqto five-star rated  policies will safeguard you if you can:

  • Provide the make, model and registration of the uninsured driver's car 

  • Where possible, provide the name and address of the uninsured driver. 

You do have the choice of processing a claim through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (which tackles uninsured driving) though Hastings recommends it policyholders call it for advice.

Hastings Direct's policies and brands

This is Hastings' standard motor policy. Its comprehensive level of cover offers no claims discount protection, a courtesy car, EU cover up to 90 days per trip, personal accident cover and cover for child seats, in-car entertainment and windscreens.

This is Hastings' top-level product. Its comprehensive form offers no claims discount protection, a courtesy car, EU cover up to 90 days per trip, personal accident cover and cover for child seats, in-car entertainment and windscreens plus breakdown and motor legal expenses cover.

Is Hastings Direct the same as Hastings Premier?

Hastings Premier offers breakdown and motor legal expenses cover, which is not standard with Hastings Direct. Both are Defaqto five-star and Moneyfacts five-star rated, but these ratings apply only to the comprehensive versions of these policies.

Defaqto two-star rated, Hastings Essential is a budget policy that covers accidental damage to your car, fire and theft. It is TPFT cover as standard, but also available as comprehensive cover. There's no cover for personal belongings in your car, personal accident or medical or legal expenses.

This Defaqto 5-star, Moneyfacts 5-star Black Box telematics insurance offers courtesy car, vandalism and uninsured driver cover, and cover for windscreens, motor legal expenses, contents up to £300, child seat and a theft recovery service. 

It comes in comprehensive and TPFT versions only. SmartMiles has replaced Hastings Direct YouDrive telematics insurance.

Defaqto 5-star rated, People’s Choice offers overseas cover in some countries, courtesy car (with the comprehensive or TPFT cover) windscreen cover (usually with comprehensive policies only), and third party cover to drive someone else's car if you are over 25. It offers no breakdown cover.

The InsurePink brand donates £10 to the Pink Ribbon Foundation breast cancer support organisation for each policy sold. 

The Defaqto five-star policy, offers a courtesy car (on comprehensive policies) during accident repairs, overseas cover for specified countries, and no claim discounts. Add-on options include breakdown cover, motor legal expenses, personal accident and substitute vehicle.

What is Hastings car insurance best for?

  • The ability to tailor your own cover 

  • A choice of optional extras 

Hastings Direct van and motorbike insurance

Hastings also covers other types of vehicles.

Hastings Direct van insurance

Hastings Direct van insurance offers a courtesy vehicle while your van is repaired, personal accident cover, unlimited windscreen and glass cover and cover for personal items up to £300. 

Hastings Premier van insurance offers a courtesy vehicle while your van is repaired, personal accident cover, unlimited windscreen and glass cover and cover for personal items up to £300 plus breakdown and motor legal expenses as standard.

Hastings Direct and Hastings Premier van policies are not Defaqto or Moneyfacts rated. The website only shows details of the comprehensive form of both policies. 

Optional extras include substitute vehicle cover, which provides a substitute van if yours has been stolen and not recovered or damaged beyond repair.

Hastings Direct motorbike insurance

Hastings Direct bike insurance offers 90-day EU cover per trip abroad, multi-bike cover and Hastings Direct's uninsured driver promise as standard. It is not Defaqto five-star rated.

Hastings Premier bike insurance provides 90-day EU cover per trip abroad, multi-bike cover and Hastings Direct's uninsured driver promise plus helmet and leathers and legal expenses cover as standard. Hastings Premier bike insurance is Defaqto five-star rated.

Customer services

Support and advice

Hastings' legal expenses cover includes access to a 24-hour telephone helpline offering advice on any private legal matter.

Once purchased, insurance certificates and details of policies can be downloaded by customers via the MyAccount portal.

Hastings Direct in the news

Harry Hastings is a Battle of Hastings warrior used as the Hastings Direct mascot. He featured in TV adverts as a living statue, accompanied by Stephen Seagull, who in one memorable ad, deposited droppings on Harry's head. 

These ads have now ended, but you can still see them on the Hastings Direct YouTube channel. Harry Hastings, in (non-mobile) statue form, is still the company's mascot.

Hastings Direct also provides regular, changing facts, tips and ideas about motoring issues through its site and social media blog.

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