Direct Line Car Insurance Review
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Who is Direct Line?
Direct Line, an insurance provider in the UK, has been providing car insurance products since its formation in 1985. With more than 10,000 employees, and ten million customers, it is the largest direct car insurer in the UK.
Direct Line began life selling only car insurance products, focusing on the fact that policies were sold directly to customers, via telephone. Over the years, the product range has expanded, although the brand has maintained a strong stance on direct sales, and do not appear on any comparison website. As the company has grown, so the reputation for service has fluctuated, reflected in a wide range of ratings from online customer reviews. Despite this, Direct Line did win a Customer Experience Award at the 2016 UK Financial Services Experience Awards.
It’s always maintained a high profile in TV advertising, from the ‘phone on wheels’ logo, to the current campaign featuring the Winston Wolfe character from the film Pulp Fiction. Direct Line is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The brand’s mission?
“To make insurance easier and better value for our customers”
What does Direct Line charge?
Direct Line has made a strategic decision to not appear on any price comparison websites, instead opting to deal directly with the customer. It’s a policy which, they say, allows them to pass savings onto their customers through not paying commissions to these comparison sites. To see how much other insurance providers charge, you can get a quote with us.
However, like all car insurance providers, the price of each policy is dependent on specific criteria personal to the customer. This might include the age of the driver, type of car, driving convictions, or location. This makes assessing the costs of its insurance products difficult, although Direct Line is generally competitive, versus the main competitors.
DrivePlus is Direct Line’s telematics-based ‘Black Box’ scheme for drivers under the age of 25. This uses a plug-in box in the car to analyse driver behaviour, allowing it to offer better price terms to safer, lower-risk young drivers. Compare young driver insurance quotes here.
How is their Direct Line customer service?
Customer feedback for Direct Line seems to be very much a mixed bag of good and bad, with online reviews covering the full spectrum of 1 to 5 star ratings.
The brand was rated 9th overall by Which? in July 2017, while the customer score of 66% was the 7th best out of the 31 companies reviewed.
However, Insurance Age reported that Direct Line received the most customer complaints (1,447) of any UK insurance provider in the first half of 2017, over 400 more than any other company.
On TrustPilot, the company receives a poor 1/5 rating from the 365 reviews on the site, with a range of customer quotes from very bad to very good, such as:
“They say you only know how good your Insurance company is until you need them and I can vouch that direct line are awful.”
“Awful customer services. Wiggle out of every claim at our expense”
“I bought direct line product because they were cheap but I learnt pay £10 extra but never buy direct line products.”
“I can honestly say that everyone I have spoken to has been lovely and they have really guided us out of a devastating experience. I have had some bad experiences with insurers in the past but this has been perfect. I would recommend them wholeheartedly.”
What policies does Direct Line offer?
Direct Line offers three main policies when it comes to car cover:
- Car Insurance
A choice of comprehensive or 3rd party fire and theft, offering features such as: used car replacement, medical expenses, personal belongings, windscreen damage, uninsured driver no claims protection, and £0 excess on accidental damage.
- Multi-Car Insurance
Providing cover for more than one car, while keeping details separate so that any claim on one car does not impact the driver on another car.
- Drive Plus Black Box
Telematics technology to monitor driving behaviour via a plug-into-car box. For drivers under 25, with discounts offered to safe drivers.
Direct Line in Summary
Direct Line is a leading name in the UK car insurance market, and offers a competitively-priced range of products, which generally stand up well to those of their rivals. Not appearing on comparison sites means that you speak directly with the company, rather than via a 3rd party.
However, while the products and policies are generally well-received, in particular their car insurance for young drivers, online customer feedback suggests that there is room for improvement from the company when it comes to handling customer queries and claims.