Hastings Direct vs Direct Line: Compare Car Insurance

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Is Hastings Direct or Direct Line the better solution 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.

Direct Line and Hastings Direct are two of the largest car insurance companies in the UK, ranking #2 and #4 for market share, respectively. Plus the brands ranked #7 and #10 in the NimbleFins study identifying the best cheap car insurance options 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 best product for their needs.

Quick Overview: Hastings Direct vs. Direct Line Car insurance

Both insurance providers see eye-to-eye on almost every feature. However, there are a few key differences. These differences may be a deal breaker or nothing to worry about. It's all about your priorities.

Like travelling around Europe in your car? Hastings Direct (the mid-tier option) might be better cover for you. Want more extensive courtesy car cover? Direct Line might be better for you. Read on to find out why. Below we primarily discuss the standard Hastings Direct and Direct Line comprehensive policies.

What we like about Hastings Direct

Hastings Direct, rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by our editors, is superior to Direct Line for the following notable reasons:

  • EU cover (included as standard; with Direct Line, it's an add on)
  • Cancellation fee (very slightly cheaper than Direct Line)

What we like about Direct Line

Direct Line, rated 4.5 by our editors, is superior to Hastings Direct for the following reasons:

  • Courtesy car in case of theft or write off included in standard and Plus plans (can add to Essentials)
  • Premium courtesy car (premium add on available; it's not available from Hastings)
  • Higher limit for aftermarket electronic equipment
  • Keys (£1,000 from Direct Line, £500 Hastings Direct)

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

Car Insurance ComparisonHastings DirectDirect Line

Cost
Cheaper for our sample driverMore expensive for our sample driver

Superior Features
  • 90 days EU cover standard
  • Cancellation fee lower
  • Cheaper for our sample driver
  • Premium courtesy car cover available
  • Courtesy car for theft or write off included
  • Higher limit for aftermarket electronic equipment and keys

Customer Service Access
Webchat and phones lines open 7 days a week, including bank holidaysWebchat and phones lines open 7 days a week, excluding bank holidays

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

Hastings Direct vs Direct Line Overall Review

Hastings Direct and Direct Line offer similar policies, but the NimbleFins car insurance experts have whipped out our magnifying glass to find the key differences.

If courtesy cars are important to you, then Direct Line may offer you the cover you're wanting. Both cover a courtesy car if your car is being repaired by an approved repairer after a covered event. Both offer the option of a courtesy car in case of theft or write off, but for an additional cost (with Hastings, this is referred to as optional Substitute Vehicle Cover and with it you can make a claim for the cost of a hire car). But only Direct Line offers the option to add on a premium courtesy car, which essentially means a larger car to better match the one you usually drive. Plus, Direct Line includes as standard a courtesy car if yours is stolen or deemed a "write-off" for their standard comprehensive plan. This isn't offered by Hastings unless you buy an add on.

Another place that Direct Line stands out is with its key coverage, which covers up to £1,000, compared to £500 for Hastings Direct (you can buy an add on to boost the Hastings key cover to £1,500, but you have to pay extra for this).

Also, Direct Line has slightly higher coverage for hotel/onward travel after an accident which leave your car un-drivable and higher coverage for aftermarket/removable electronic equipment.

However, it isn't all in favour of Direct Line. Hastings offers up to 90 days coverage in the EU as standard, whereas Direct Line requires an additional premium to get the same cover abroad. If you're a big traveller, could this be a deal breaker? You'll have to see how much Direct Line quotes you for the added cover.

And Hastings Direct offers slightly higher personal belongings cover.

There are other, smaller, differences that you can see detailed in the table below. Note, for this comparison we analysed Hastings Direct (not "Essential" or "Premier") and the standard Direct Line comprehensive policy (not "Plus").

How Do They Compare?Hastings Direct Comprehensive CoverageDirect Line Comprehensive Coverage
"Must Have" Features

Windscreen
IncludedIncluded
BelongingsUp to £300Up to £250
KeysUp to £500, as long as not lost/stolen from your vehicleCovered for damaged, lost or stolen keys (up to £1,000). Stolen keys must be reported to police. Loss of earnings are not covered.
Protected NCDIf you buy the add onIf you buy the add on and have at least 4 years NCD with no more than one claim in past 3 years for all drivers combined
Car recovery after accidentIncludedIncluded
Courtesy car (repairs)IncludedIncluded
Repairs guaranteed (if use approved repairer)IncludedIncluded
"Should Have" Features

New car replacement
Theft or if cost to repair more than 60% of list price; cars up to 12 months oldIf damage repair will cost more than 60% of the value of the car at the time
Stereo and satellite navEquipment fitted by the manufacturer is covered in full. For 'aftermarket' equipment up to £300Unlimited cover for equipment fitted when your car was made, up to £1,000 if fitted later or removable
Alternative transport & Hotel after accidentUp to £50 pp, max £250Up to £250 for hotel expenses, and onward travel/taxi
24-hour emergency helplineIncludedIncluded
Courtesy car (total loss or theft)If you buy the add onIncluded up to 21 days
Motor legal expensesIf you buy the add onIf you buy the add on
Breakdown coverIf you buy the add onIf you buy the add on
"Could Have" Features

Same cover in EU
Up to 90 daysUp to 90 days, if you pay an extra premium
Child car seat replacement after accident, theft, fireUp to £300Included (no limit)
Larger/premium courtesy carNot availableIf you buy the "Guaranteed Hire Car Plus" add on (while car being repaired if use their Approved Repairer; up to 21 days if you use your own repairer)
Uninsured driver NCD protectionIncludedIncluded
Cancellation fee£0 during cooling off period. £45 after cooling off period£48.16 after cooling off period; no extra fee during 14-day cooling off period and no fee for mid-term admin changes

What we don't like about Hastings Direct

Hastings Direct lacks coverage for the following features:

  • Premium courtesy car cover not available
  • Lower limits for aftermarket electronic equipment
  • You have to buy an add on to get a courtesy car in case of theft or write off

What we don't like about Direct Line

Direct Line provides worse coverage for the following features:

  • EU cover not standard

Hastings Direct vs Direct Line Cost Comparison

You've seen what the providers have to offer but how much do you have to pay?

Hasting Direct's comprehensive policy is almost exactly half the price of Direct Line's comprehensive policy — when paying annually. It's important to note that Hastings requires 11 monthly payments compared to Direct Line's 10 payments.

Comparing their motor legal add-ons, there is only £1.99 in it. Nothing to cry about, especially considering that Hastings have the more expensive option.

What Policy?AnnualMonthly
Hastings Direct Comprehensive£444.46£42.56 (11 payments, £42.52 deposit)
Hastings Direct Motor Legal£29.99N/A
Hastings Direct BreakdownFrom £34.99N/A
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 they are so high. Drivers with more experience can pay up to 45-50% less than the premiums listed here.

Hastings Direct vs Direct Line Reviews and Ratings Compared

It is always good to observe customer reviews as it shows how their clients are enjoying (or hating) their service.

In this case, the insurance providers have very similar Trustpilot ratings (although they've both dropped in the past year).

Review SiteHastings Direct RatingsDirect Line Ratings
Trustpilot4.2 out of 53.8 out of 5

Hastings Direct vs Direct Line Cancellation Fees Compared

No one anticipates needing to cancel their car insurance—it can mean something bad has happened or perhaps you've sold your car—but, unfortunately, you may have to. If that is the case, keeping cancellation fees in mind is important.

The cancellation fees are very similar between the two insurance providers. Direct Line has a very slightly higher cooling off period cancellation fee but Hastings Direct may charge up to £30 for mid-term changes.

When Are You CancellingHastings DirectDirect Line
During cooling off£0£0
After cooling off period£45£48.16
Mid-term admin changes£0 to £30£0

Important Phone Numbers

Hastings Direct and Direct Line have nearly identical opening times. Hastings Direct used to be open for shorter hours, but in November 2021 they extended their hours to practically match those of Direct Line. That said, Direct Line's customer service line is not open on bank holidays—while Hastings is open 9 till 5.

Direct Line has superior opening times on webchat. Five hours longer Monday to Friday and eight hours longer Saturday and Sunday. Despite its higher customer reviews, Hastings Direct falls short when it comes to customer service opening hours.

Opening HoursHastings DirectDirect Line
Customer Service (Mon-Fri)8am-9pm8am-9pm
Customer Service (Sat)9am-5:30pm9am-5pm
Customer Service (Sun)10am-5pm10am-5pm
Customer Service (Bank Holiday)9am-5pmClosed
Webchat (Mon-Fri)8am-6pm8am-11pm
Webchat (Sat)9am-1pm9am-9pm
Webchat (Sun)9am-1pm10am-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

Policy Documents

More information about Hastings Direct car insurance policies can be found by reading their policy documents.

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.

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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