Hastings Direct Car Insurance Review
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Who is Hastings Direct Car Insurance?
Established in 1997, Hastings Direct has established itself as one of the bigger players in the car insurance market. With over 1.5 million customers, the online broker operates UK call centres from several locations – including Bexhill-on-Sea, Leicester and Suffolk. As well as car insurance, Hastings Direct offers home, van and motorbike insurance – which could be handy if you’d like to insure various vehicle types with one brand. Hasting Direct has a well-stocked trophy cabinet, with industry awards including Car Insurance Provider of the Year – 2013 – 2015. Though, it seems it may have had to stow away glitzy ball gowns in recent years, with 2016 and 2017 failing to score the brand any accolades.
Despite the slow down on awards, Hastings continues to flourish, financially. The company hit the headlines in July 2017 with the announcement that it had invested £2 million opening its new Leicester office.
What does Hastings Direct charge?
Hastings Direct is one of the most common to feature on price comparison sites. When we added in some details of an average UK car profile (a 5-door Ford Fiesta), Hastings came in at 40th out of over 75 insurers – over £130 more expensive than the cheapest quote. Of course, individual quotes will vary depending on the make and model of the car and your driving history, named drivers etc – but based on this test run, Hastings certainly wasn’t the cheapest. With no bold claims on its website when it comes to saving you money on you car insurance, you may not see Hastings among the cheapest quotes.
How is the Hastings Direct customer service?
At first glance, Hastings Direct seems to be performing well on the customer service front. Trustpilot’s 16,000+ reviews gives it a respectable average of 4 stars. Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll note that the more recent Hastings reviews are less than stellar. Frustration is the through theme. Inflated admin fees, long call waiting times and automatic renewals all frequently appear amongst the complaints. Elsewhere, Which? magazine placed the brand 20th out of 31 car insurance companies in its May 2017 survey. It’s worth noting that it was Hastings’ policy score that elevated it to 20th place. The brand’s customer score of just 58% was amongst the very lowest.
On TrustPilot, the brand has an average score of 4/5, with customer quotes including:
‘Although the premiums are reasonable the fees behind them are far from. Last time I changed my address with Admiral it cost half the amount it did with Hastings. I appreciate that there is a little work involved but £43+ for pushing a few buttons….’
‘It was the cheapest option so it’s all good, plus the customer service is great. Never had any problems with Hastings.’
‘Appalling customer service, makes me want to rip out my hair. Online chat NEVER works, impossible to contact other than calling them and waiting times on the phone averaging at 30 minutes!?’
What policies does Hastings Direct offer?
Hastings Direct offers the three main policy types – third party, third party fire and theft, and comprehensive. The brand breaks down its policy offering into a few different categories. Essential, Direct and Premier policies offer varying levels of cover, ranging from the stripped back ‘essentials’ to the fully loaded Premier package. Hastings also offers a SmartMiles policy. Its name for Telematics cover, this tech helps young drivers monitor their driving, become safer behind the wheel, and crucially, save money on their car insurance.
Hasting’s policies come with some good extras not included as standard by some other insurers. In-car entertainment and child car seat cover were the standout items. Hastings also offers the chance to sure up your policy with some added extras – for a fee. It’ll want to ramp up your premium if you want to add key cover, breakdown cover or personal accident cover. If these are on your essentials list, be sure to check others insurers who may include these as standard.
Hastings Direct Car Insurance in summary?
Hastings was once flying high. Industry awards winners up until 2015, something seems to have gone awry since. The awards, high online review averages and a 5 star Defaqto rating put Hastings up there with the best. But is it all a case of smoke and mirrors? After digging amongst the online comments, crunching the crucial numbers and checking out the standard policy, we weren’t wowed. The hefty admin fees, auto renewal policy and the alarming number of recent poor reviews – coupled with the poor performance in Which? magazine’s survey all added up to one verdict for us. Think about giving Hasting’s a wide berth until it returns to its award winning ways.