Hughes Insurance is one of the biggest car insurance brokers in Northern Ireland and sports a number of high street branches for those who like a personal touch. But for those on a budget, does Hughes offer good value for money? Let’s take a look at what Hughes Insurance has to offer.
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In This Review
- Hughes Car Insurance: Overall Review
- Customer Reviews and Ratings
- Cost Comparison and Discounts
- Cancellation Fees, Phone Numbers and Policy Documents
Hughes Car Insurance Overall Review
Is Hughes car insurance any good? Mediocre customer reviews don't inspire a lot of confidence, but keep in mind that the relatively small number of online reviews may not be reflective of the typical customer experience.
In terms of features, Hughes comprehensive car insurance includes windscreen repair or replacement, cover for belongings, new car replacement and child seat replacement up to the same value in the event of a covered claim. They also include an uninsured driver promise, which means (subject to conditions, as with everything) that you don't have to pay the excess and you won't lose your no claims bonus if you make a claim for an accident that wasn't your fault and the responsible driver is not insured.
Also, if your car is written off, they'll pay for any unused road tax that you can't recover from the licensing authorities. You’ll also receive up to 90 days cover at the same level when driving in the EU. One final feature to note is that the personal belongings limit is bumped up from £200 to £400 in December to cover any Christmas shopping in your boot.
However, there are some limitations to point out. For example, as far as we can tell there is no guarantee on work carried out by their approved repairers in the event of a damage claim. While a courtesy car is available, subject to availability, if your car is being repaired after an insured accident—a courtesy car is not covered in the event of theft or write off. And while the policy documents mention cover for a hotel after a car accident if your car is not drivable, there's no mention of cover for alternative transportation.
Customer service is open 6 days a week (closed Sunday), and those living in or near can pop into a local branch near them.
Hughes Insurance car insurance is a broker so their policies are underwritten by a panel of insurers. Here is a high-level summary of features on a standard Hughes comprehensive car insurance policy according to this specimen policy—remember, these features are always subject to conditions, exclusions and endorsements so you should check the policy documents and features yourself before you buy in case they differ from this sample document.
|How Good is Hughes Car Insurance?||A Good Policy Includes||Does Hughes Deliver?||Hughes Comprehensive Coverage|
|"Must Have" Features|
|Windscreen||Full repair or replacement||Included if you use an approved repairer (National Windscreens or Autoglass)|
|Belongings||£200+||Up to £200 (£400 in December!)|
|Keys||£300+||Replacement of keys and locks if your car keys are lost or stolen|
|Protected NCD||2 times in 3 years (standard or optional extra)||If you buy the add on|
|Car recovery after accident||Included||Included|
|Courtesy car (repairs)||Minimum 14 days||Included|
|Repairs guaranteed (if use approved repairer)||12-month guarantee||No guarantee listed|
|"Should Have" Features|
|New car replacement||Theft or damage at least 60% of list price; cars up to 12 months old; first owner||If the cost of repair is valued at more than 50% of the cost of buying an identical new car at the time of the loss or damage|
|Stereo and satellite nav||Market value for manufactur fitted||Unlimited for original manufacturer-fitted equipment, otherwise £750 for permanently-fitted equipment|
|Alternative transport & Hotel after accident||£250+||Up to £300 for the driver (or £500 for everyone in the car) towards hotel if necessary; onward travel not covered|
|24-hour emergency helpline||Standard||24 hour claims lines|
|Courtesy car (total loss or theft)||Standard or add-on extra||Not available|
|Motor legal expenses||Standard or add-on extra||If you buy the add on|
|Breakdown cover||Standard or add-on extra||Included|
|"Could Have" Features|
|Same cover in EU||Standard or add-on extra||Up to 90 days|
|Child car seat replacement after accident, theft, fire||Ideally replaced even if no visible damage||Replaced with a similar model and standard|
|Larger/premium courtesy car||Standard or add-on extra||Not available|
|No fault NCD protection||Standard||Not available|
|Uninsured driver NCD protection||Standard||Not available|
|Cancellation fee||No more than £50||No cancellation "fees" but the pro-rata charge for the period you were covered is subject to a minimum £25 (within the 14-day cooling off period and afterwards)|
Learner Driver Cover
Young drivers across Northern Ireland can get insurance from Hughes Insurance via a HughesDrive policy, which is Telematics-based car insurance. How does it work? Download an app and connect to your car using Bluetooth. You driving is tracked—speed, braking, acceleration, cornering, and usage. Each week that you get a "green" driving score you earn a voucher. These vary from week to week but could be a voucher for Pizza Express or online shopping with Amazon.
Hughes Car Insurance Customer Service Reviews and Ratings
Hughes gets mediocre reviews from existing customers and the Defaqto star rating (which focuses on features) is just 3 stars out of 5. But what's behind the ratings? We scoured through online reviews to learn a bit more about the good and bad experiences of Hughes Insurance customers.
|Hughes Ratings & Customer Reviews|
|Defaqto||3 out of 5 star ratings|
|Trustpilot||2.3 out of 5 stars|
|Reviews.co.uk||2 out of 5 stars|
Hughes Insurance Trustpilot
Only 11% of policyholders rated Hughes on Trustpilot with a 5-star "Excellent" rating, while 67% gave the company the lowest score of just 1 star—however this reflects a mere 9 reviews left by customers. We hardly think this is a statistically representative number of policyholders, so we are wary of making a judgment base on so few responses. With that in mind, let's take a look at the best and worst reviews left by Hughes car insurance customers on Trustpilot:
"Went down to Coleraine office to sort out my mum's renewal. Good deal offered saving her £100 on last year and for the same price she is able to add me on as a named driver for the first time."
"Never answer the phone."
"Very uncompetitive pricing, unfriendly phone experience, when I raised issues I got a really patronising response. When the sky high renewal came it it was a no-brainer."
Hughes Car Insurance Reviews.co.uk
Looking for more information, we also read through the reviews at Reviews.co.uk, where Hughes was rated 2 out of 5 stars by 38 customers. Here are some highlights:
"... Got me a better rate than my 9 years with my previous insurer and was so professional about the whole thing. An absolute pleasure to work with..."
"... They miss-sell you a policy and then when you cancel bill you £160 for less that 10 days insurance."
"... If you breakdown you do all the work yourself phoning different companies, if you have courtesy car you dont get it if garage dont [sic] offer service, if you cancel your policy they lose documents and send constant texts, emails, letters chasing you for bank details ignoring your requests to cancel policy even after you send the certificate of motor insurance back with a cancellation letter..."
Hughes Car Insurance Quote Comparison
We did a quick check of customer comments on various review sites to see what policyholders say about Hughes prices. Overall, we noticed a significant amount of variability in customer opinions on how much value for money Hughes offers. Prices for car insurance can really be all over the map, depending on the factors of your application such as your age, how long you’ve been driving, your postcode, your car and even when you buy your policy. If you want to compare Hughes Insurance to other brands, try our car insurance partner QuoteZone.
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Hughes Car Insurance Deals
It’s well worth paying annually instead of monthly if you can, in order to avoid paying the interest charges that car insurance companies charge on monthly instalments.
If you're able to park your car in a safer location, such as a garage or even a private driveway, you are likely to save money on your car insurance versus leaving it on the street overnight. For other tips, see our research on how to get a car insurance discount.
It's always a good idea to compare the market also, especially when it comes time for renewal, to make sure you'll getting a good deal. You can get a quote from Hughes Insurance from our car insurance partner QuoteZone, a comparison engine that works with over 100 brands in the UK car insurance market.
Hughes Cancellation Fees
According to the policy wording, Hughes insurance has a slightly different cancellation policy and charges from other insurance companies. Hughes doesn't mention a cancellation "fee" that we can find (as most brands do), but instead says they'll charge a minimum premium of £25 (plus insurance premium tax) when they calculate the pro-rata charge for the period you were covered. It's normal to charge a pro-rata amount of the premium for time you were covdered, but not usual to impose a minimum. The industry standard is to charge a cancellation fee instead of imposing a minimum to the pro-rata premium charged for the time you were covered before cancellation. For reference, the average car insurance cancellation fee is approximately £24 during the cooling off period and £55 afterwards.
Of course, if you've made a claim—in that case you'll need to pay the entire premium/full outstanding balance. And please keep in mind that the underwriter may charge a cancellation fee—the cost of cancellation referred to above is what you pay to Hughes, the broker.
Hughes Car Insurance Contact Numbers
|Hughes Car Insurance Contact Numbers|
|Customer Services and sales||028 91 042042|
|Claims helpline (MIS)||028 9041 0220|
|Motor legal helpline||028 9041 0222|
|Glass repair||0800 028 0002|
If you want to get in touch with your local Hughes Insurance branch, the opening times are Monday to Friday 09:00-17:00, Wednesday 09:30-17:00, Saturday CLOSED, Sunday CLOSED. Here are the relevant contact numbers:
|Hughes Insurance Branch Contact Information||Telephone Numbers|
|Belfast||028 9062 6677|
|Coleraine||028 7034 3777|
|Derry/Londonderry||028 9182 9250|
|Glengormley||028 9182 9270|
|Newtonards (headquarters)||028 9181 7375|
|Portadown||028 9182 9290|
To learn more, check out the Hughes car insurance policy wording—from their website.
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