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Admiral and Hastings Direct are two of the largest car insurance companies in the UK. Both come with most 'must-have' features, but they do not offer equal products. The team at NimbleFins has compared each company's car insurance offering to help readers trying to decide which might be the superior product for their needs.
Quick Overview: Admiral vs. Hastings Direct Car insurance
Each company offers a different set of features, which can make it difficult to decide which is best for you. Below we recap some of the best features of each, as well as what's missing. From our comparison, we looked at the basic Admiral comprehensive car insurance plan (they also have two higher tiers, Gold and Platinum) and the mid-tier for Hastings called Hastings Direct (they have a lower tier, Essentials, and a higher tier, Premier) because they generally seem closest matched in terms of features and price.
What we like about Admiral
Admiral, rated 4 out of 5 stars by our editors, is superior to Hastings Direct for the following notable reasons:
- Child car seat replacement (no limit of cover)
- Stereo and satellite nav (higher level of cover)
What we like about Hastings Direct
Hastings Direct, rated 4.5 by our editors, is superior to Admiral for the following reasons:
- Belongings (cover up to £300)
- Alternative transport & hotel after accident (£50 for each person, up to a maximum of £250)
- Lower cancellation fees
Here's a quick, high level comparison of how Admiral and Hastings Direct compare on cost, features, customer service access and customer ratings.
|Car Insurance Comparison||Admiral||Hastings Direct|
|More expensive for our sample driver||Cheaper for our sample driver|
Customer Service Access
|Webchat and phones lines open 7 days a week, including bank holidays||Webchat and phones lines open 7 days a week, including bank holidays|
|Get Quotes||Get Quotes|
Admiral vs Hastings Direct Overall Review
The most important thing to compare is what each policy offers. In this case, Admiral and Hastings Direct differ in five key areas.
The 'must have' feature comparison slightly favours Hastings Direct, because their belongings cover is £300 (vs. £150 for Admiral). If you have expensive belongings you leave in your car, this is one to bear in mind.
And Hastings Direct offers £50 per person (max £250) for hotel/transport after accident, which is not included in Admiral basic comprehensive cover. Also, cancellation fees are noticeably lower with Hastings (£0 during cooling off period and £45 after), BUT they do charge a £20 arrangement fee for new and renewing policies, which does bring the overall fees you'll pay higher with Hastings Direct.
However, the Admiral stereo and satellite navigation feature has a higher level of cover, protecting 'aftermarket' equipment up to £1,250 compared to Hastings Direct's £300. (Both offer full cover for original, manufacturer-fitted equipment).
The differences other than this are fairly minor. While Admiral will replace your child car seat with no upper limit on the value, Hastings Direct only covers up to £300.
It is always a good idea to take a deeper look at our table below:
|How Do They Compare?||Admiral Comprehensive Coverage||Hastings Direct Comprehensive Coverage|
"Must Have" Features
|Belongings||Up to £150||Up to £300|
|Up to £300, as long as not lost/stolen from your vehicle||Up to £300, as long as not lost/stolen from your vehicle|
|If you buy the add on||If you buy the add on|
Car recovery after accident
|Courtesy car (repairs)||Included if you use approved repairer||Included if you use approved repairer|
Repairs guaranteed (if use approved repairer)
|Repairs guaranteed for as long as you own the vehicle (parts guaranteed under manufacturer's warranty)||5 years|
"Should Have" Features
New car replacement
|Theft or if cost to repair more than 60% of list price; cars up to 12 months old||If damage repair will cost more than 60% of the value of the car at the time|
|Stereo and satellite nav||Equipment fitted by the manufacturer is covered in full. For 'aftermarket' equipment up to £1,250 or market value of your car, whichever is the lower||Equipment fitted by the manufacturer part of spec is covered in full; 'aftermarket' permanently-fitted equipment up to £300|
|Alternative transport & Hotel after accident||Not included||Up to £250 (£50pp)|
|24-hour emergency helpline||Included||Included|
|Courtesy car (total loss or theft)||If you buy the add on||If you buy the add on|
|Motor legal expenses||If you buy the add on||If you buy the add on|
|Breakdown cover||If you buy the add on||If you buy the add on|
"Could Have" Features
Same cover in EU
|Up to 90 days||Up to 90 days|
|Child car seat replacement after accident, theft, fire||Unlimited||Up to £300|
|Larger/premium courtesy car||Not available||Not available|
|Uninsured driver NCD protection||Included||Included|
|£25 cancellation fee during cooling off period if cover has not started; otherwise £55||£0 during cooling off period if cover not started; else £45|
Admiral vs Hastings Direct Cost Comparison
The table below compares the part we all care about the most… the cost of the insurance.
With our sample driver, it appears that Hastings Direct's comprehensive policy is significantly cheaper than Admiral's. This is the case when paying both annually and monthly.
However, as we always say, quotes are very case sensitive and you must get your own quotes before making any decisions.
|Admiral Comprehensive||£543.20||£48.60 (11 payments, £48.73 deposit)|
|Admiral Third Party, Fire and Theft||£424.48||£37.98 (11 payments, £38.05 deposit)|
|Hastings Direct Comprehensive||£444.46||£42.56 (11 payments, £42.52 deposit)|
|Hastings Direct Motor Legal||£29.99||N/A|
|Hastings Direct Breakdown||From £34.99||N/A|
These quotes are based on 22-year-old Essex-based male driving a 2008 Ford Fiesta, 8,000 miles a year. He parks at home. He has been driving for 4 years and has 3 years of no claims. This quote is for a young driver, hence why they are so high. Drivers with more experience can pay up to 45-50% less than the premiums listed here.
Admiral vs Hastings Direct Reviews and Ratings Compared
In this section, Hastings beats out Admiral for customer ratings on Trustpilot and reviews.co.uk. With an impressively high rating on both platforms—4.21 on reviews.co.uk is particularly great. This could be a reflection of Hastings Direct having great customer service.
|Review Site||Admiral Ratings||Hastings Direct Ratings|
|Trustpilot||3.6 out of 5||4.3 out of 5|
|reviews.co.uk customer service rating||2.8 out of 5||4.2 out of 5|
Admiral vs Hastings Direct Cancellation Fees Compared
No one expects to cancel their car insurance—it could mean you've had to sell your car—but you may have to. If that is the case, knowing your cancellation fees is important.
Looking at the table below, you'll see that Hastings Direct applies no fee when canceling during the cooling-off period but £45 after that period. Admiral will charge a £25 fee during the cooling-off period then £55 after that period. In both cases, the insurance provider will refund based on the amount of days you have been insured. It's important to note there is an extra £5 fee, when cancelling, if you bought any policy changes with Admiral.
Mid-term changes are adjustments such as an address or registration plate change. This is more common than you think. Admiral will change between £9.50 to £100. While Hastings Direct will charge £0 to £30.
|When Are You Cancelling||Admiral||Hastings Direct|
|During cooling off||£25||£0|
|After cooling off period||£55||£45|
|Mid-term admin changes||£9.50 to £100||£0 to £30|
Important Phone Numbers
Admiral and Hastings Direct have similar opening times, although Hastings is open later every day, compared to Admiral.
Admiral's webchat opens earlier and closes later than Hastings Direct's webchat, every single day of the week. Some days offering over 12 hours of service and others slightly under. This is great, especially compared to Hasting Direct's maximum of 10 hours.
|Opening Hours||Admiral||Hastings Direct|
|Customer Service (Mon-Fri)||8am-7pm||8am - 9pm|
|Customer Service (Sat)||9am-5pm||9am-5:30pm|
|Customer Service (Sun)||9:30am-4pm||10am-5pm|
|Customer Service (Bank Holiday)||9:30am-4pm||9am-5pm|
Admiral Contact Numbers
|Admiral Contact Numbers|
|Customer Service (UK)||0333 220 2000|
|Renewals||0333 222 6715|
|Claims (in UK)||0333 220 2033|
|24 Hour Helplines|
|Windscreen Claims||0333 220 2025|
|Accident recovery||0800 600 840|
More information about Admiral car insurance policies can be found by reading their policy documents.
More information about Hastings Direct car insurance policies can be found by reading their policy documents.