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 but three features (and only two of those have big differences). That being said, how would you choose between the two?

It is all about your priorities, what is more important to you? A courtesy car for repairs? Or for total loss/theft? What about uninsured driver NCD protection? Or 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 the following notable reasons:

  • Uninsured driver NCD protection (included as standard)
  • Courtesy car for repairs (included as standard)
  • Cheaper for our sample driver

What we like about Direct Line

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

  • Courtesy car (total loss or theft cover included as standard)
  • Cancellation and admin fees (slightly cheaper)

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

Cost
Cheaper for our sample driverMore expensive for our sample driver

Superior Features
  • Uninsured driver NCD protection standard
  • Better courtesy car (repairs) cover
  • Courtesy car (total loss or theft) standard
  • Cheaper cancellation fees

Customer Service Access
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
  • Defaqto 5 stars
  • Trustpilot 4.2 out of 5
  • Defaqto 5 stars

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, this section feels fairly irrelevant for this comparison as there are only two areas where they significantly differ (plus one minor difference).

Starting with what we'd consider the most major difference, the courtesy car (total loss or theft) feature. Direct Line offers this as part of their standard comprehensive coverage, which is great! Unfortunately, Churchill does not offer this as standard. However, you can purchase their 'guaranteed hire car plus' add on to get this feature.

The second (and final) big difference is with their uninsured driver NCD protection features. Similar situation to the last feature but the roles are reversed here. Churchill offers this as standard, whereas, Direct Line does not.

We normally wouldn't mention differences such as this but due to the real lack of differences in the policies it feels right. Direct will provide you a courtesy car if your vehicle is being repaired for up to 14 days, Churchill will offer the courtesy car for the length of repair. We really had to get nit picky on this one.

Other than that, the policies are almost identical. Take a deeper look at the table below:

How Do They Compare?Churchill Comprehensive CoverageDirect Line Comprehensive Coverage

"Must Have" Features

Windscreen

IncludedIncluded
BelongingsIncluded but amount of coverage varies (£250-500)Included but the amount of coverage varies (£250 - £500)

Keys

Included (up to £1,000), if reasonable steps were taken to protect your keysCovered for damaged, lost or stolen keys (up to £1,000). Stolen keys must be reported to police. Loss of earnings are not covered.

Protected NCD

If you buy the add on and have at least 4 years NCDIf 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

IncludedIncluded
Courtesy car (repairs)Included (length of repair)Included (up to 14 days)

Repairs guaranteed (if use approved repairer)

IncludedIncluded

"Should Have" Features

New car replacement

If damage repair will cost more than 60% of the value of the car at the timeIf damage repair will cost more than 60% of the value of the car at the time
Stereo and satellite navUnlimited cover for equipment part of original car spec, up to limit on your schedule if removable AND in a glove compartment or locked bootUnlimited 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 accidentUp to £250 for everyone in your car for hotel costs if necessary; transport home, to destination or safe placeThey 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 helplineIncludedIncluded
Courtesy car (total loss or theft)If you buy the "Guaranteed Hire Car Plus" add on (up to 21 days)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 days, if you pay an additional premiumUp to 90 days, if you pay an additional premium
Child car seat replacement after accident, theft, fireIncludedIncluded
Larger/premium courtesy carIf you buy the "Guaranteed Hire Car Plus" add on (up to 21 days)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

Not availableNot available
Uninsured driver NCD protectionIncludedIf you buy the add on

Cancellation fee

£0 during cooling off period. After cooling off, charge for the time you’ve had cover, plus £53.76 and refund any remaining premium paid. £26.88 for changes to policy£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 Churchill

Churchill lacks coverage or is worse for the following reasonsfearetures:

  • No fault NCD protection not available
  • Courtesy car cover for (total loss or theft not included (unless you buy the add on)
  • High cancellation fees

What we don't like about Direct Line

Direct Line provides worse coverage for the following features:

  • No fault NCD protection not available
  • Uninsured driver NCD protection not included (unless you buy the add on)

Churchill vs Direct Line Cost Comparison

Okay, this time there's actually some 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.

Churchill vs Direct Line Reviews and Ratings Compared

Back to normality with Churchill and Direct Line being literally identical in their Trustpilot and Defaqto scores.

Reviews.co.uk has a slight gap between the two insurance providers, however. Churchill is just shy of 2 stars higher than Direct Line. Churchill has also received a thousand more reviews on the platform than Direct Line.

Review SiteChurchill RatingsDirect Line Ratings
Trustpilot4.2 out of 54.2 out of 5
reviews.co.uk customer service rating3.88 out of 52.04 out of 5
Defaqto5 star policies5 star policies

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.

That being said, Direct Line are not open on bank holidays while Churchill are.

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.

Ryan S. Gladwin

Ryan S. Gladwin is an Essex-based writer with a passion for teaching others what he has learnt. While studying for his Multimedia Journalism degree he realised that writing about the things he loved (music, culture and finance) was what he wanted to do as a career.

Since graduating he has written for publications such as Insider, Dummy, Leverage.com and more. Now he also writes for NimbleFins, where he aims to help people financially empower themselves. Find more about him on his website here or on LinkedIn.

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