1st Central Car Insurance Review

1st Central Car Insurance Review

Strong in communication and support features, 1st Central is one to consider if the price is right.

Good for

  • Good provision for communication with customer service
  • Good accident support
  • Lower claims complaints as % of claims

Bad for

  • A few less niche features than you can get elsewhere

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

Wondering if 1st Central car insurance is a good choice for you? Read our review to find out how 1st Central, one of the best cheap car insurance companies in the UK, would suit your needs and which important features you'll need to add on. Plus learn how existing policyholders review 1st Central customer service.

If you want quotes from a wide section of the market, compare over 100 brands including 1st Central, Admiral and Hastings in under 2 minutes by clicking the blue "Get Quotes" button below.

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In This Review

1st Central Car Insurance Overall Review

1st Central

Overall Score: 6.08

Tested With NimbleFins Scoring System

5
Basics
7.5
Dream
3
Flexibility
7.8
Breakup
9
Communication
8.5
Support
3.8
Popularity
3.8
Financial


Ranking #7 in the NimbleFins Scoring System, 1st Central is a touch less consistent across the categories than the higher-ranked companies, but they show some real strengths. Particularly in the communication and support categories.

In terms of communication, where they scored 9 out of 10, it's pretty easy to get a hold of 1st Central, with long opening hours (24 hours each week, including 4 hours on Sundays) for both phone lines and webchat. Also, their webchat connects you with a human right away (without needing to suffer through a chatbot first). And their opening hours and number are easy to find on their website.

In terms of support, where they scored 8.5 out of 10, policyholders can benefit from a 24/7 claims line and cover for transportation and/or accommodation that is top notch (up to £500). Plus, they have a low 0-5% claims complaint rate.

1st Central scores less impressively in the features categories of basic and dream because their lowest tier of cover doesn't include windscreen cover, personal accident, belongings, after-market audio equipment, an uninsured driver guarantee, and more. But these features are available if you step up in tier. But without features like mis-fueling, higher personal belongings cover and a lifetime repair guarantee, they fall short on the dream score as well.

Surprisingly to us, they were not as competitive with their quote for our sample driver, but the excess was nice and low, so it's always worth checking the quotes for yourself. This contributed to a weaker score in the financial category.

Quick Takeaway: Given the strong communication and support ratings, it's worth checking prices with 1st Central, which you can do with a comparison site like our partner QuoteZone.

Scoring System Details for 1st Central

Here's more detail on how 1st Central scored in each of the 8 Scoring System categories:

Basic features

How well does the cheapest, lowest tier of insurance cover basic features like courtesy cars and windscreens?

Score: 5 out of 10 (vs average of 5.8). 1st Central scored 5 out of 10 points for the basic category, which assessed their 'Value' product tier. This 'budget' line of car insurance offers motorists comprehensive cover at a lower price than higher tiers of cover, but is missing some features such as windscreen cover, personal accident, personal belongings, uninsured driver NCD guarantee, aftermarket audio equipment cover, and more.

Dream features

If you want the highest coverage, can you get a fully loaded policy with many features?

Score: 7.5 out of 10 (vs average of 7.3). Motorists can choose a higher tier of cover with 1st Central to get more features, contributing to a score of 7.5 out of 10 in the dream category. They don't get a full 10 out of 10 here, due to no chance of cover for mis-fueling and a shorter repair guarantee (you get 5 years, but not unlimited, as you get with some other providers.)

Flexibility

Can you customise your insurance policy to accommodate your needs? How costly is it to make a change?

Score: 4 out of 10 (vs average of 4.7). 1st Central offers a few tiers of cover, providing more flexibility to motorists in terms of the cover they receive for their car insurance. However, 1st Central charges the highest admin fees out of the 12 large insurers we compared for their standard accounts (min £25) although online accounts can make a change without an admin fee.

Breakup

What are their cancellation fees, and how easy is it to cancel your policy - do you need to call or can you cancel online?

Score: 7.8 out of 10 (vs average of 4.9). 1st Central scored 4 out of 10 for the breakup score. They charge no cancellation fee during the cooling off period, and £50 afterwards, which are pretty standard—but you won't get back the £50 non-refundable arrangement fee if you cancel, even during the cooling off period. On the plus side, there are multiple ways to cancel, including phone, webchat and online.

Communication

Do they have phone customer service, or is it online only? What are their customer service hours?

Score: 9 out of 10 (vs average of 6.6). 1st Central scored 9 out of 10 for communication. Their results are quite strong, because you can connect with 1st Central customer service over the phone or via webchat. Their phone numbers are pretty easy to find on their website, as are their opening hours. Plus we like that you can chat with a human right away on webchat, without first having to work through a chatbot.

Support

Do they have a 24/7 claims line? What are their claims payout stats?

Score: 8.5 out of 10 (vs average of 7.3). 1st Central scored a solid 8.5 out of 10 for support, primarily due to having a 24/7 claims line and lower claims complaints as a percent of claims. (However, their claims complaints as a proportion of accounts is higher.) Also they have a solid provision for accommodation and/or transport after an accident, offering up to £500 of cover.

Popularity

How do they rank in terms of popularity?

Score: 3.8 out of 10 (vs average of 5.7). In terms of popularity with UK motorists, 1st Central scored a lower 3.8 out of 10 due to having a smaller presence in the market. Last year, First Central Group Limited was the 10th largest motor insurer in the UK, with £596 million of gross written premiums. However, their Trustscore is an impressive 4.4 out of 5, indicating that existing customers do really have a good experience.

Financial

How do premium and set-up costs compare? Is the company financial stable? How many claims complaints do they have?

Score: 3.8 out of 10 (vs average of 6.8). 1st Central returned a higher quote for our sample driver (a 50-year-old with a good driving record and 15 years of no claims, driving a 2024 Ford Puma). However, the standard compulsory excess was lower than most other providers at £150. This contributed to a lower score in the financial category, but as pricing can be quite variable from person to person, it's always worth trying to see what a quote is for you. Also, note there is a £50 arrangement fee that is non-refundable.

Policy Documents and Contact Details

1st Central policy documents effective June 2024 can be found on their website here.

Existing motor insurance policyholders can reach customer service at 0333 043 2085.

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the Founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.

Comments

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

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