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Santander car insurance

Find out all about Santander car insurance policies and see what customers think of their service

How good is Santander car insurance?

Defaqto rating: 3/5 stars (Roadside, Recovery & At Home) and 2/5 stars (Roadside & Recovery)

Independent rating provider Defaqto hands Santander’s Roadside, Recovery & At Home policy a 2020 three-star rating out of a possible five stars. Its Roadside & Recovery policy drew a Defaqto two-star rating (2020). 

Note: Not all Defaqto products with the same star rating have the same covers and terms.

Trustpilot rating: 1.5/5 stars

Trustpilot gives Santander Group an overall score of 1.5 stars out of five based on almost 2,500 reviews.

Santander did recive a 2020 Moneyfact's five-star rating, however.

About Santander car insurance

Santander car insurance is backed by its parent banking group, which originated in the North Spanish port of Santander. Santander’s roots go back to 1857 and it has become the UK’s fifth biggest bank. 

Car and motorbike insurer BISL Limited handles the car insurance arm’s administration while a panel of underwriters provide liability and financial heft.

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Value for money?

Santander car insurance has a reputation for efficient service and fair value premiums. Overall Santander claims it offers value for money with half of its customers paying less than £314 for a policy. 

Santander car insurance policies

Santander car insurance offers three levels of cover: 

  • Fully comprehensive

  • Third party, fire and theft 

  • Third party only

Santander does not offer telematics insurance cover currently. This cover is generally suited to young or inexperienced drivers, or those with motoring convictions. There are specialist providers that cater to these groups so, again, shop around. Some established ‘big name’ insurance companies offer black box insurance, for example Aviva.

Yes, Santander offers multi-car insurance and customers can easily add a second car to an existing policy, the company says. Depending on your policy check if the cover will be synchronised to the one renewal date. 

Alternatively, renewal dates may differ, depending on the vehicle. This might be more bureaucratic to organise and pay for over the course of the year. You will need to think if you want to vary the cover between vehicles and drivers too.

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 

There’s no Santander temporary insurance cover for short periods though this may change in future. There are a number of specialist companies in this field, including temporary car insurance arrangements from established insurance players, so shop around.

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Santander standard car insurance cover

Fully comprehensive cover includes:

  • Courtesy car when your own vehicle is being repaired by an approved repairer

  • Stolen keys cover up to £500

  • Windscreen replacement and 24/7 repair helpline

  • There’s also personal belongings cover up to £100

  • Full cover if your car is stolen or suffers fire or accident damage

  • Up to 60 days of free cover driving in the EU – the cover will automatically be UK-equivalent

  • There’s a three-year guarantee on all approved claims repairs

Overall there’s up to £10,000 worth of cover. Up to £5,000 of cover if offered if you or your partner are killed or injured getting in and out of your car or a private car you don’t own. Any alcohol or drugs issues will likely invalidate cover.

Glass cover comes as standard. If the glass in the front windscreen, side, rear windows, or sunroof of a car is damaged the insurer will pay the cost of repairing or replacing it. They also pay for any repair to your car’s bodywork that’s been damaged by broken glass from the windscreen or windows. If a repair or replacement is carried out by a Santander-approved supplier, cover is unlimited. If you prefer to choose your own supplier then cover’s limited to £150 less any excess. A claim under this section only will not affect your no-claims discount.

You have up to £100 worth of personal belongings cover with the standard fully comprehensive policy following an accident, fire, theft or attempted theft involving the car. Any loss of money, credit or debit cards, stamps, tickets, vouchers, documents plus mobile devices are not covered here, advises Santander.

No child car seat replacement is offered with this Santander comprehensive car insurance policy.

Mis-fuelling is not covered on this policy. Mis-fuelling is usually when petrol is pumped into a diesel-powered vehicle, which may cause serious engine damage if not extracted quickly.

Santander additional car insurance cover options

  • Motor legal protection is available at optional cost

  • Breakdown cover is a cost option also. Full details of cover is given when you apply for an online quote

  • No claims discount protection is also offered at extra cost

  • A guaranteed replacement car is a cost option though a courtesy car is offered with an approved repairer if available – you are paying here for the guarantee

Santander says there is 60 days of free cover for driving in the EU and the protection level mirrors what is specified for your UK cover. There’s no green card currently needed but Santander does need to know of your travel plans in advance, so don’t forget to let them know before getting under way.

This is an extra cost with £100,000 cover for uninsured losses and £20,000 for motor prosecution defence.

Motor legal protection is available as an add-on product for £29.49. It covers up to £100,000 in legal fees to help pursue recovery of uninsured losses such as policy excess or loss of earnings.

What is Santander car insurance best for?

  • If you have one or more cars to cover

  • If you’re willing to apply directly to Santander there's a 10% discount 

  • If you travel up to 60 days a year in Europe, its free cover has useful appeal 

Santander customer services

There’s a 24-hour hotline for claims and Santander says it honours a 10% cashback on car insurance if you go to them directly. Quotations are valid for 30 days. It’s possible to make adjustments online to your policy through Santander’s car insurance portal. 

Santander has a clear Coronavirus policy for any customer impacted. 

Support and advice

Santander is a broker. Support and advice depends on your insurer identified by Santander – so you would need to speak to your insurer directly. There is a 24-hour access to a claims line for motor legal protection, though this is an extra-cost option.  

Santander says all customers have 24-hour access to its online self-service centre where you can access all your policy documents as long as you have an internet connection. 

Santander in the news

Santander has attracted UK media attention for snipping the interest on its evergreen 123 current account. From 3 August 2020 this drops to 0.6% from 1% on balances up to £20,000 across its 123, Select and Private current accounts.

Up to 4m Santander customers will be affected by more cashback changes from late October 2020. Phone, TV and broadband cashback drops from 3% to 1% but water bill cashback increases from 1% to 3%. The changes relate to those with 123 and 123 Lite accounts.

On home turf (Spain) Santander is getting into the car subscription service with WabiCar with up to 930 miles of driving per month available.

Like many other large financial companies Santander has been affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic. In April 2020 credit agency Fitch Ratings downgraded the Santander Group from Stable to Negative. This downgrade should not affect its consumer group operations.

Complaints data

The Financial Ombudsman Service received fewer than 10 complaints about Santander motor insurance in the first half of 2020 (that could be just as a single complaint). But Santander’s provider, BISL, received 76 complaints. 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.

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