Hughes Car Insurance Review: Is It Any Good?

Hughes Car Insurance Review: Is It Any Good?

A local Northern Ireland insurance broker with branches in Belfast, Coleraine, Derry/Londonderry, Glengormley, Newtonards and Portadown.

Good for

  • Easier-to-read policy booklet
  • Child car seat cover to same standard
  • Branches for in-person help
  • Uninsured driver NCD protection

Bad for

  • No courtesy car for theft or write off
  • Customer service closed Sunday
  • No repair guarantee
  • No onward travel after accident

Editor's Rating

3.0/5.0

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.

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

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.

The Hughes cancellation costs are structured a bit differently to what you might find elsewhere but in the end are roughly in line with average cancellation fees in the UK.

Customer service is open 6 days a week (closed Sunday), and those living in or near can pop into a local branch near them.

Features

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 IncludesDoes Hughes Deliver?Hughes Comprehensive Coverage
"Must Have" Features
WindscreenFull repair or replacement
thumbs up
Included if you use an approved repairer (National Windscreens or Autoglass)
Belongings£200+
thumbs up
Up to £200 (£400 in December!)
Keys£300+
thumbs up
Replacement of keys and locks if your car keys are lost or stolen
Protected NCD2 times in 3 years (standard or optional extra)
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
Car recovery after accidentIncluded
thumbs up
Included
Courtesy car (repairs)Minimum 14 days
thumbs up
Included
Repairs guaranteed (if use approved repairer)12-month guarantee
red x
No guarantee listed
"Should Have" Features
New car replacementTheft or damage at least 60% of list price; cars up to 12 months old; first owner
thumbs up
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 navMarket value for manufactur fitted
thumbs up
Unlimited for original manufacturer-fitted equipment, otherwise £750 for permanently-fitted equipment
Alternative transport & Hotel after accident£250+
question mark
Up to £300 for the driver (or £500 for everyone in the car) towards hotel if necessary; onward travel not covered
24-hour emergency helplineStandard
thumbs up
24 hour claims lines
Courtesy car (total loss or theft)Standard or add-on extra
red x
Not available
Motor legal expensesStandard or add-on extra
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
Breakdown coverStandard or add-on extra
thumbs up
Included
"Could Have" Features
Same cover in EUStandard or add-on extra
thumbs up
Up to 90 days
Child car seat replacement after accident, theft, fireIdeally replaced even if no visible damage
thumbs up
Replaced with a similar model and standard
Larger/premium courtesy carStandard or add-on extra
red x
Not available
No fault NCD protectionStandard
red x
Not available
Uninsured driver NCD protectionStandard
thumbs up
Not available
Cancellation feeNo more than £50
thumbs up
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
Defaqto3 out of 5 star ratings
Trustpilot2.3 out of 5 stars
Reviews.co.uk2 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.

Cheap Car Insurance in Your Area

Quickly compare over 100 UK insurance brands, including Hughes.

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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 website 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 sales028 91 042042
Claims helpline (MIS)028 9041 0220
Motor legal helpline028 9041 0222
Glass repair0800 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 InformationTelephone Numbers
Belfast028 9062 6677
Coleraine028 7034 3777
Derry/Londonderry028 9182 9250
Glengormley028 9182 9270
Newtonards (headquarters)028 9181 7375
Portadown028 9182 9290

FAQs

Hughes Insurance is a broker, which means they work with a number of different insurers to find the best car insurance for your needs.
Driving other cars is generally allowed on a temporary, one off basis, subject to usual conditions including having the owner's permission. However you should check your Certificate of Motor Insurance to be sure.
Customers can upload no claims proof or other documents on the Hughes Insurance website.
To get a quote from Hughes Insurance, you can either get a quick quote from Hughes and dozens of other brands in minutes from our car insurance comparison partner QuoteZone, use the Hughes Insurance website or call their sales line or branches (contact numbers can be found here.)
Hughes Insurance customer service and sales lines are open Monday to Friday 08:00-20:00 and Saturday 09:00-13:00; they're closed Sunday. The branches have different opening times: Monday to Friday 09:00-17:00, except that on Wednesday they start a half hour later and are open 09:30-17:00; branches are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Find out how to reach Hughes Insurance here.
In addition to fully comprehensive car insurance and young driver cover as discussed in the Hughes review section, Hughes insurance sells the following insurance products: home, business, van, travel, gap and third party, fire and theft and third party only for cars.

Policy Documents

To learn more, check out the Hughes car insurance policy wording—from their website.

Other Car Insurance Reviews

If you'd like to compare Hughes to other car insurance companies, see some of our list of car insurance reviews. Some popular car insurance company reviews are listed below:

Comments and Questions