Direct Line vs Churchill: Compare Car Insurance

Is Churchill or Direct Line the better car insurance for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you select the best car insurance for you and your wallet.

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.

Churchill and Direct Line are insurance brands of Direct Line Group, who are the third largest car insurance company in the UK. Run by the same motor insurance company, let's see how they stack up against each other.

The team at NimbleFins has compared what Churchill and Direct Line car insurance offer to help readers trying to decide which might be the best car insurance brand for their needs.

Quick Overview: Churchill vs. Direct Line Car insurance

Both insurance providers see eye-to-eye on all nearly all features, with a few minor differences. That being said, how would you choose between the two?

It is all about your priorities, what is more important to you? Better help if you're stranded after an accident? Or lower cancellation fees? We've rounded up all the information you need to make your decision below.

What we like about Churchill

Churchill, rated 4.0 out of 5 stars by our editors, is superior to Direct Line for really only one notable reason:

  • Cheaper for our sample driver
  • Better customer ratings

What we like about Direct Line

Direct Line, rated 4.0 by our editors, is superior to Churchill for the following reasons:

  • Better onward travel coverage if you're stranded after an accident
  • Better courtesy car car (depending on the policy)
  • Vandalism promise on all policies (in contrast, not included in Churchill Essentials)
  • Misfuelling cover on all policies (in contrast, not included in Churchill Essentials)
  • Cancellation and admin fees (very slightly cheaper)
  • Fair Claim Commitment (on "Comprehensive" and "Comprehensive Plus"}

Here's a quick, high level comparison of how Churchill and Direct Line compare on cost, features, customer service access and customer ratings.

Car Insurance ComparisonChurchillDirect Line

Cheaper for our sample driverMore expensive for our sample driver

Superior Features
  • None
  • Better cover if stranded after accident
  • Cheaper cancellation fees
  • Better courtesy car cover
  • Fair Claim Commitment
  • Better vandalism promise and misfuelling cover for Essentials tier

Customer Service Access
Phones lines open 7 days a week, including bank holidaysWebchat and phones lines open 7 days a week

Customer Ratings
Trustpilot 4.2 out of 5Trustpilot 3.8 out of 5

Get QuotesGet Quotes

Churchill vs Direct Line Overall Review

Surprise, surprise! They're owned by the same insurance company and they offer almost identical products. Who would have guessed!

Honestly, there are only a few areas where they differ at all. Note, they both offer three different tiers of comprehensive car insurance: "Essentials", "Comprehensive" and "Comprehensive PLus" policies. We'll cover their standard levels here in this comparison piece. If you want us to cover how the Essentials or Plus plans differ, please let us know in the comments section below.

Starting with what we'd consider one of the most major differences, is the cover for if you're stranded after an accident. If you have a crash and your car cannot be safely driven, what then? Well, both have the same cover for a hotel if you cannot drive your car after an accident or covered loss. But onward travel? Here's where they differ.

Direct Line offers onward travel (e.g. a taxi to take you and your passengers to one destination) up to £250 (Comprehensive) or £300 (Comprehensive Plus), but Churchill doesn't offer this cover unless you pay for the Guaranteed Hire Car Plus optional add on (then you get up to £50 per day/£500 per claim).

The second big difference is with their courtesy car cover. Both include a courtesy car if your car is in the shop for repairs after an accident. But, they differ in cover if your car is stolen or written off. Direct Line bumps you up to the Guaranteed Hire Car Plus option (which includes a courtesy car for theft/written off) for the Comprehensive and Comprehensive Plus plans; but Churchill only bumps you up on the Comprehensive Plus plan. You can add this as an option, though, if your tier doesn't include it.

Another difference is in their vandalism cover. With all of Direct Line's policies, a vandalism claim will not affect your No Claims Discount; but with Churchill, you get this protection with Comp and Comp+ but not Essentials.

The same holds for misfuelling cover (included in all but Churchill Essentials).

Finally, the Direct Line Comp and Comp+ plans includes their "Fair Claim Commitment" (the Churchill plans do not). What is the Fair Claim Commitment? Well essentially, it means that if you make an accidental damage or fire and theft claim your No Claim Discount (NCD) won't be affected, so long as your car was:

  • Damaged by fire, flood, a storm, potholes or poor road maintenance, or
  • Stolen (or something was stolen from it), or
  • Hit while parked, or
  • Hit by an animal (or hit an animal), or
  • Hit by an object or debris.

Other than that, the policies are almost identical.

What we don't like about Churchill

Churchill lacks coverage or is worse for the following reasons:

  • Courtesy car cover for total loss or theft not included, unless you buy the add on
  • Higher cancellation fees
  • No onward travel (unless you buy the add on) after accident that leaves car un-drivable
  • Need to pay extra to get same cover for EU travel except on Plus plans (often included as standard in the UK)
  • Essentials plan doesn't cover misfuelling or the vandalism NCD protection

What we don't like about Direct Line

Direct Line provides worse coverage for the following features:

  • Need to pay extra to get same cover for EU travel except on Plus plans (often included as standard in the UK)

Churchill vs Direct Line Cost Comparison

Okay, this time there's more of a difference to talk about!

Our sample driver had a much lower quote for Churchill's Comprehensive policy than Direct Line's Comprehensive policy — almost 15% cheaper.

That's where the interesting stuff stops, however, the motor legal and guaranteed hire car plus features have almost identical premiums attached to them. It may be of note that Churchill seems to offer worse monthly interest rates than Direct Line. This means that Churchill's pricing advantage would be diminished if you plan to pay monthly.

As always, it is crucial you get your own quotes before making a decision. Car insurance quotes are extremely case sensitive and the numbers we have below could be flipped for another driver.

What Policy?AnnualMonthly
Churchill Comprehensive£776.33£72.45 (10 payments, £129.43 deposit)
Churchill Motor Legal£28.00£2.63
Churchill UK Breakdown£115.85£10.82
Churchill Guaranteed Hire Car Plus£20.16£1.90
Direct Line Comprehensive£891.74£81.74 (10 payments, £148.64 deposit)
Direct Line Comp Plus£703.92£64.52 (10 payments, £117.32 deposit)
Direct Line Motor Legal£28.00£2.58
Direct Line Guaranteed Hire Car Plus£20.16£1.86

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 no claims. This quote is for a young driver, hence why the figures are so high. Drivers with more experience can pay up to 45-50% less than the premiums listed here. Your pricing will most certainly vary.

Churchill vs Direct Line Reviews and Ratings Compared

Review SiteChurchill RatingsDirect Line Ratings
Trustpilot4.2 out of 53.8 out of 5

Last year, Churchill and Direct Line were literally identical in their Trustpilot scores—but recently, Direct Line has slipped. It seems to us this is driven by an increase of 1-star reviews recently. We had a look into them and found the most common reason for a poor rating recently: higher prices at renewal. Here are a few recent 1-star comments to give you a flavour:

"Shop around - there are cheaper alternatives from reputable providers Long-time customer, who is now shopping around for new car insurance after the renewal cost has shot up from £300, to £400 - no real reason given other than 'rising costs. Same car, just a year older, and I've never been involved in an incident or made a claim. Looks like you'll be losing a lot of customers this year, DL! Which is a huge shame."

"Price Hike…slow resolution Our insurance went up from just over £400 to over £1000. We had one accident that was not our fault and was resolved quickly with the other driver accepting responsibility. Really slow service and took nearly three weeks to look at our car. Still waiting for money more than 6 weeks later. Constant chasing and little information. Poor."

"Like most people stupidly high renewal… Like most people stupidly high renewal quote with no change in circumstances. No explanation why it had gone up v lazy to not bother explaining as they must have known people would be wondering why. what do they expect is the reaction from customers. Awful when u try and call them they have hard nosed abrasive reaction which they have obviously been told to adopt. Awful management of a business and customer relations. Shop around and don't go back. Direct line should understand that once you lose customers they are unlikely to return. Typical British customer service as they know there is so many customers in this overpopulated island they will just get business from elsewhere. Press articles now also saying the same particularly about direct line."

We won't go into reviews from because with only a hundred or so customer opinions, we don't feel the overall rating is as reliable.

Churchill vs Direct Line Cancellation Fees Compared

Unfortunately, we don't always make the right decision and need to cancel our car insurance. Or you might need to cancel car insurance if you sell your car. In that case, cancellation fees are important.

Both Churchill and Direct Line offer free of charge cancellations during the 14 day cooling off period. But bump up the fee to £48.16 (Direct Line) and £53.76 (+/- refunds/fees) after the cooling off period.

Mid-term changes is where the two differ the most. Churchill will charge £26.88 for any mid-term admin changes such as change of address. Whereas, Direct Line will do this without a fee. This is definitely something to note if you are moving house or decide to swap for a new car.

When Are You CancellingChurchillDirect Line
During cooling off£0£0
After cooling off period£53.76£48.16
Mid-term admin changes£26.88£0

Important Phone Numbers

Get ready to pull your shocked face! Their customer service phone lines are open for the exact same hours Monday through till Sunday. I know, shock.

Opening HoursChurchillDirect Line
Customer Service (Mon-Fri)8am-9pm8am - 9pm
Customer Service (Sat)9am-5pm9am-5pm
Customer Service (Sun)10am-5pm10am-5pm
Customer Service (Bank Holiday)9am-5pmClosed
Webchat (Mon-Fri)8am-11pm
Webchat (Sat)9am-9pm
Webchat (Sun)10am-9pm
Emergency Hotline24-hour24-hour

Contact Numbers for Direct Line

Direct Line Insurance Contact Numbers
New quotes or general enquiries0345 246 3761
Claims0345 303 1714246 8471
Help completing online quotes0345 835 3500
24 Hour Helplines
Accident recovery0800 269 015

Contact Numbers for Churchill

Churchill Insurance Contact Numbers
Customer services0345 603 3551
New quotes0800 032 4829
Claims0345 603 3590
24 Hour Helplines
Accident recovery0800 269 015
Claims emergencies0345 603 3599

Policy Documents

To read about the full details of a Churchill policy, including what's covered and exclusions, read through the Churchill car insurance policy documents here.

To read about the full details of a Direct Line policy, including what's covered and exclusions, read through the Direct Line car insurance policy documents here.

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.


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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