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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

Hastings Direct standard car insurance cover

Hastings Direct additional car insurance cover options

What are Hastings' 'promises'?

Hastings Direct's policies and brands

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 motorbike insurance

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.

Complaints data

The Financial Ombudsman Service received 170 complaints about Hastings motor insurance in the first half of 2020. This was across all Hastings brands. Hastings had the seventh highest number of complaints. However, most Hastings policies are underwritten by its own insurer Advantage and the FOS received a further 243 complaints about Advantage. That makes a total of 413 complaints in six months, making it the third most complained about car insurer this year.

Hastings (including Advantage) received 8.2% of the 5,029 total complaints about car insurance. Hastings has 7.8% market share when based on gross written premium (GWP), which suggests it gets more complaints than expected for its size. But Hasting sells low-cost insurance to standard drivers in normal cars, and does not insure expensive, high-risk drivers in luxury cars. This means Hastings has more customers for the same GWP as some other insurers.

Realistically Hasting’s complaints levels are in line with other large insurers. 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.

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