Aviva vs Direct Line: Compare Car Insurance

Is Aviva 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.

Aviva and Direct Line are two of the largest car insurance companies in the UK. Both come with many '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: Aviva vs. Direct Line 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. To decide between these two well-known brands, it's best to understand what they offer (and what they don't)—then decide which suits your needs best.

What we like about Aviva

Aviva, rated 3.5 out of 5 stars by our editors, is superior to Direct Line for the following notable reasons:

  • Cheaper cancellation fee: Aviva's cancellation fee is £38 + gov IPT, instead of Direct Line's £48.16 (after cooling off period).
  • Better Trustpilot Rating: Aviva has a Trustpilot rating of 4.7 out of 5.
  • Uninsured driver NCD protection: This feature is included in the Aviva comprehensive policy, DL requires an add-on

What we like about Direct Line

Direct Line, rated 4.5 stars by our editors, provides superior coverage for the following features:

  • Courtesy Car Cover: Aviva requires an add-on to cover this feature, Direct Line has this feature in the case of loss, theft or repairs.
  • Alternative transport & hotel after an accident: Direct Line allows for a higher total coverage when more than one person is in the car.
  • Longer guaranteed repairs period: Direct Line's comprehensive coverage allows for 5 years of coverage; Aviva only provides 3 years.

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

Car Insurance ComparisonAvivaDirect Line

More expensive for our sample driverLess expensive for our sample driver

Superior Features
  • Cheaper cancellation fee
  • Better Trustpilot rating
  • Uninsured driver NCD protection
  • Courtesy car cover
  • Alternative transport & hotel after an accident
  • Longer guaranteed repairs period

Customer Service Access
Webchat and phones lines open 7 days a week, including bank holidaysWebchat and phones lines open 7 days a week, with webchat open significantly later in the evening than Aviva

Customer Ratings
  • Trustpilot 4.7 out of 5
  • FOS Complaint Rate 6.03
  • Defaqto 3 or 5 stars
  • Trustpilot 4.2 out of 5
  • FOS Complaint Rate 2.39
  • Defaqto 5 stars

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Cheap Car Insurance Quotes in Your Area

Quickly compare over 100 UK insurance providers.

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Aviva vs Direct Line Overall Review

Direct Line and Aviva are both solid options for those wanting to insure their car. Both insurance companies have similar customer review ratings and both provide 24-hour helplines.

However, as we can see below, where Aviva fails to deliver, Direct Line picks up the pieces.

Most notably when it comes to policy on courtesy cars. Direct Line's comprehensive cover will provide a courtesy car in the case of loss, theft or repairs. Whereas with Aviva's comprehensive cover, you must buy an add on. This cover is seen as a "should have" (loss or theft) and "must have" (repairs) policies according to Money Advice Service.

Unfortunately, neither Aviva nor Direct Line provide cover for no-fault NCD protection. They also require an add-on to cover motor legal and breakdown cover. This feature is only seen as a "could have" feature.

Direct Line will provide individuals with breakdown cover starting at £25 with their rescue package and going all the way to £100+ with their Euro Plus package. Whereas, Aviva's breakdown coverage starts from £45.62 (according to a quote we gained later during our cost comparison).

How Do Aviva and Direct Line Comprehensive Car Insurance Compare?Does Aviva Deliver?Aviva Comprehensive CoverageDoes Direct Line Deliver?Direct Line Comprehensive Coverage
"Must Have" Features
thumbs up
Included (subject to stricter limits if you don't use an approved repairer)
thumbs up
red x
Up to £150
thumbs up
Included but amount of coverage varies (£250 - £500)
question mark
Cover for replacement locks if keys stolen or lost
thumbs up
Covered for damaged, lost or stolen keys (up to £1000). Stolen keys must be reported to police. Loss of earnings are not covered.
Protected NCD
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
thumbs up add on
If 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 accident
thumbs up
thumbs up
Courtesy car (repairs)
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
thumbs up
Included (up to 14 days)
Repairs guaranteed (if use approved repairer)
thumbs up
3 years
thumbs up
5 years
"Should Have" Features

New car replacement
thumbs up
thumbs up
If damage repair will cost more than 60% of the value of the car at the time
Stereo and satellite nav
thumbs up
If permanently fitted to your vehicle
thumbs up
Unlimited cover for equipment part of original car spec, up to limit on your schedule if removable AND in a glove compartment or locked boot
Alternative transport & Hotel after accident
red x
Up to £150 total
thumbs up
They will book and pay for a taxi to take you and your passengers to one destination; one night in a hotel if necessary up to £150 for driver (£250 for everyone in the car)
24-hour emergency helpline
thumbs up
24 hour claims lines
thumbs up
Courtesy car (total loss or theft)
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
thumbs up
Up to 21 days
Motor legal expenses
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
Breakdown cover
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
"Could Have" Features

Same cover in EU
thumbs up add on
Add on available if you call at least two weeks prior
thumbs up add on
Up to 90 days, if you pay an extra premium
Child car seat replacement after accident, theft, fire
thumbs up
thumbs up
Up to £100 per child seat
Larger/premium courtesy car
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
thumbs up add on
If 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)
No fault NCD protection
red x
Not available
red x
Not available
Uninsured driver NCD protection
thumbs up
thumbs up add on
If you buy the add on
Cancellation fee
thumbs up
£0 cancellation fee during cooling off period if cover has not started; otherwise £38 + IPT
thumbs up
£48.16 after cooling off period; no extra fee during 14-day cooling off period and no fee for mid-term admin changes

What could each company do better on an absolute basis in terms of features? Below we've listed some features that each company could improve upon.

What we don't like about Aviva

  • No courtesy car cover included (add-on required)
  • Add-on required for protected NCD
  • Add-on required for motor legal and breakdown cover
  • Lack of no fault NCD protection

What we don't like about Direct Line

  • Customer service doesn't work bank holidays
  • Add-on required for motor legal and breakdown cover
  • Lack of no fault NCD protection

Alternative Plans Aviva and Direct Line Provide

Both Aviva and Direct Line, as most car insurance companies do, offer a Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT) policy. Of course, these policies have a lower level of cover than the comprehensive policy, while being a lower fee.

Aviva and Direct Line also both provide a 'Plus' policy. However, these offer different things.

Aviva's 'Plus Car Insurance' allows the insurer to pay monthly for comprehensive car insurance without interest charges, and cancel at any time without fees.

Whereas, Direct Line's 'Comprehensive Plus' policy provides higher levels of cover than the comprehensive cover. For example, motor legal cover is included with no add-on.

Temporary car, van and business use insurance is also available from both Aviva and Direct Line.

Aviva vs Direct Line Cost Comparison

According to our test case, Direct Line's comprehensive and comprehensive plus policies both charge lower premiums than Aviva's comprehensive policy. Not only that but Direct Line offers the protected NCD feature at a lower fee than Aviva—by quite a way. That seems to imply Direct Line is better value. However, quotes will vary, and Direct Line could be more expensive for other driver and vehicle profiles. Make sure to get your own quotes before making a decision.

What Policy?AnnualMonthly
Aviva Comprehensive£372.00£33.02 (10 payments, £62 deposit)
Aviva Protected NCD£45N/A
Direct Line Comprehensive£302.98£27.77 (10 payments, £50.48 deposit)
Direct Line Comp Plus£352.82£32.34 (10 payments, £58.82 deposit)
Direct Line Protected NCD£19.60£1.81

The quotes above are for a 47-year-old female living in the outskirts of London, driving a 2015 Ford Fiesta 8,000 miles a year that she parks at home. They have no convictions and have 8+ years of no claims.

Aviva vs Direct Line Reviews and Ratings Compared

Review SiteAviva RatingsDirect Line Ratings
Trustpilot4.7 out of 54.2 out of 5
reviews.co.uk customer service rating2.03 out of 52.04 out of 5
FOS Complaint Ratio6.032.39
Defaqto3 star & 5 star policies5 star

Aviva vs Direct Line Cancellation Fees Compared

When Are You CancellingAvivaDirect Line
During cooling off£0 or (if cover has started) £38 + IPT£0
After cooling off period£38 + IPT£48.16
Mid-term admin changes£0 (online), £18 + IPT (over Phone)£0

Important Phone Numbers

As you can see in the table below, Aviva and Direct Line customer service telephone hours are roughly comparable, both being open 7 days a week. However, Direct Line telephone lines are closed on bank holidays.

Webchat hours, however, are noticeably longer for Direct Line. Motorists who might need to contact customer service during regular working hours might prefer Direct Line for this reason.

Opening HoursAvivaDirect Line
Customer Service (Mon-Fri)8am-8pm8am-9pm
Customer Service (Sat)8:30-5pm9am-5pm
Customer Service (Sun)10am-4pm10am-5pm
Customer Service (Bank Holiday)10am-4pmN/A
Webchat (Mon-Fri)Mon-Fri 8am-8pmMon-Fri 8am-11pm
Webchat (Sat)Sat 8:30-5pmSat 9am-9pm
Webchat (Sun)Sun 10am-4pmSun 10am -9pm
Emergency Hotline24-hour24-hour

Aviva Contact Numbers

Car insurance customers can reach Aviva customer service 7 days a week, on Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and Saturdays 8:30am to 5pm and Sundays and bank holidays from 10am to 4pm. Find their numbers aviva numbers.

Direct Line Contact Numbers

Online access to your account and 24-hour availability are key factors for many people these days. While customer service is only open during typical business hours (Weekdays 8am-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 10am-5pm), the emergency helpline is open 24 hours a day if you have an accident and need assistance. Find their numbers directline numbers.

There's also an online webchat feature which is open extended hours, on Mon - Fri 8am - 11pm, Saturday 9am - 9pm and Sunday 10am - 9pm. Finally, customers can access their account and make changes through the customer portal.

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

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

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

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the CEO, Co-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.