Direct Line car insurance review

8 min Read Published: 17 Apr 2023

Direct line car insuranceCar insurance is a legal requirement if you wish to drive on UK roads, so you need to ensure you have suitable insurance otherwise you risk prosecution. Direct Line is a car insurance provider that doesn't appear on comparison sites and so if you wish to compare its car insurance to others on the market, you will need to visit the provider directly.

In this independent review, we take a look at the different policy types that Direct Line offers, what they do and don't cover, how they compare to other insurers, and how you can make a claim. We recommend that you read the review in full, however, you can jump to specific sections of the article using the following links:

What is Direct Line?

Direct Line launched in 1985 with a sole product, car insurance, which could be bought over the phone. Since its launch, Direct Line says it has been committed to prioritising customers and it has subsequently expanded its insurance offering to include home, pet, travel and life insurance. Despite its extensive insurance product offering, Direct Line does not appear on insurance comparison sites as it says 'getting a car insurance quote can be complicated, so we like to keep things simple'.

Direct Line car insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited.

Direct Line car insurance key features

  • Choose between comprehensive or third party, fire & theft car insurance
  • Multi-car insurance discount
  • Specialist insurance for drivers aged 25 and under
  • 12-month free Zoom EV bundle when you insure your electric car
  • Guaranteed hire car when your car is being fixed
  • Optional add-ons including No Claim Discount Protection, Breakdown cover and Motor Legal Protection
  • Online claims process

What does Direct Line car insurance cover?

You can choose between fully comprehensive or third party, fire & theft car insurance with Direct Line. Fully comprehensive car insurance is the most extensive with cover for damage to both your vehicle and a third party's vehicle, as well as property. Third party, fire & theft car insurance is less comprehensive as it only covers damage to third party vehicles or claims for your vehicle related to fire and theft. You can also get third party only car insurance but this is not currently offered by Direct Line. More information on the different car insurance types can be found in our article, 'What are the different types of car insurance?'

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Direct Line offers a range of car insurance policy cover levels. You can choose between two comprehensive car insurance policies; Comprehensive and Comprehensive Plus, and a third party, fire & theft policy. In addition, you can also insure more than one vehicle on a multi-car insurance policy or choose a telematics DrivePlus policy for drivers aged 25 and under. More information on Direct Line's DrivePlus Insurance can be found below.

Direct Line car insurance policy summary

  Comprehensive Plus Comprehensive/DrivePlus Third party, fire & theft
Accidental damage to your car tick tick
Third party liability  tick tick tick
Fire and theft  tick tick tick
Lost or stolen car keys  tick tick
Guaranteed hire car  tick tick
Child car seat replacement  tick tick
Misfuelling cover  tick tick
Windscreen cover  tick tick
New car replacement  tick tick
Personal accident  £10,000 £5,000
Uninsured driver promise tick tick
Onward travel  tick tick
Motor Legal Cover  tick Optional Optional
Guaranteed Hire Car Plus  tick Optional
Protected No Claims Discount  Optional Optional Optional

DrivePlus Insurance

Direct Line's DrivePlus Insurance is for drivers below 26 years of age. It offers the same level of cover as a Direct Line Comprehensive Policy with the following additional features:

  • Telematics insurance that tracks your driving using your phone
  • DrivePlus app
  • Discount on the first year as long as you have passed your driving test
  • Can potentially get a discount at renewal if telematics shows you are driving safely

Direct Line car insurance extra benefits

You can choose to cater your car insurance policy with additional benefits such as Motor Legal Cover or No Claims Discount protection. We list the extra benefits below and how they work.

No Claim Discount Protection

If you have a minimum of 4 years No Claims Discount you can choose to protect it with your Direct Line car insurance policy. Choosing this optional add-on will ensure that your No Claims Discount will not be affected if you make one claim during your cover period or have two claims in the three preceding years of insurance.

You must not have had more than one at-fault claim within the past three years in order to be eligible for the No Claims Discount Protection add-on and this will come at an additional cost.

Breakdown Cover

You can add breakdown cover to your car insurance policy with Direct Line from an additional £25 a month. The breakdown cover is in partnership with Green Flag and there are four cover options to choose from. It is worth shopping around, however, to ensure that the price you are quoted by the car insurance for breakdown cover is the best option for you.

Motor Legal Protection

If you are involved in an accident where you were not to blame, motor legal protection cover will provide up to £100,000 of legal cost to help you to claim. Your claim must have a better than 50% chance of succeeding and not be covered under any other policy. Adding this to your policy will come at an additional cost. Find out more about how Motor Legal Protection works and if you need it in our article, 'Motor Legal Cover - do you need it?'

Guaranteed Car Hire Plus

A guaranteed hire car is included with Direct Line's comprehensive car insurance policies but for an additional premium, a hire car that is similar in size to your own is provided with the Guaranteed Hire Plus add-on. You can also benefit from the following:

  • Keep the hire car until your car is fixed with one of Direct Line's approved repairers
  • Keep the hire car for 21 consecutive days if you choose to get your car repaired at your preferred garage or if your car is written off or stolen
  • Up to £500 of travel costs (max of £50 a day) for 21 days following your claim if you have an accident or your car is stolen when abroad (so long as you have extended your cover to that country)

How much does Direct Line car insurance cost?

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) the average cost of car insurance in the last quarter of 2022 was £470 but as with all motor insurance policies, the premium paid will depend on a number of factors, such as your age and driving record as well as the make, model and age of the car to be insured.

Our article, 'How much does car insurance cost?' has more information on what affects the cost of car insurance and how much you can expect to pay for car insurance.

Are there any Direct Line car insurance admin fees?

There are no administration charges if you want to make a change to your Direct Line car insurance policy. You can make changes to your policy via the online portal, over the virtual chat or by telephoning Direct Line.

If you wish to cancel your policy you may need to pay an admin fee of £48.16 but exact details can be found in your policy documents.

What is the excess on a Direct Line car insurance policy?

The excess is the amount you need to pay when making a claim on your car insurance policy. There are two types of excess that you will need to pay; compulsory excess and voluntary excess. The compulsory excess is the amount set by the insurer and the voluntary excess is the amount chosen by you when getting a quote. For example, a voluntary excess could be £250 and the compulsory excess could be £100 which means that £350 will be payable when making a claim. Usually, increasing the voluntary excess can reduce the cost of your insurance premium, however it does increase the amount payable when claiming.

If you need to make a claim for windscreen repair or damage the excess payable is £10 for repairs and £75 for replacement.

How to make a claim with Direct Line

If you need to make a claim on your Direct Line car insurance policy you can do so online or by calling 0345 303 1714. You will need to have your policy number, car registration and details of your claim to hand to help the claim process as efficiently as possible.

If you are making a claim for damage to your windscreen you can do so directly with Autoglass and they will process the claim on your behalf.

Direct Line car insurance customer reviews

Direct Line is rated as 'Excellent' on independent customer review site Trustpilot, with a score of 3.9 out of 5 stars across over 12,000 reviews. 63% rated Direct Line as 5 stars citing good customer service and a simple claims process. 21% rated it as only 1 star, citing high renewal prices and problems with some claims. It is worth noting, however, that not all reviews are based on Direct Line car insurance policies but Direct Line insurance as a whole.

Pros and cons of Direct Line car insurance

Pros

  • Multi-car insurance discount
  • Specialist telematics insurance for drivers aged 25 and under
  • Guaranteed hire car when your car is being fixed (comprehensive policies only)
  • Online claims process

Cons

  • £48.16 cancellation fee
  • Does not appear on comparison sites

Alternatives to Direct Line car insurance

One of the quickest and easiest ways to compare car insurance is via a comparison site. Comparison sites allow you to compare multiple policies at once to find the best deal. We have partnered with Quotezone* so that you can search and compare quotes from over 110 UK car insurance providers. Do consider, however, that not all comparison sites are whole of market so you may miss out on some of the best deals.

In the below comparison table, we compare Direct Line to two other car insurance providers; Aviva and Churchill (who are also part of the Direct Line Group and underwritten by U K Insurance).

Direct Line  Churchill Aviva 
Underwriters  U K Insurance U K Insurance Aviva Insurance Limited
Policy types  
  • Fully comprehensive
  • Third party, fire & theft
  • Fully comprehensive
  • Third party, fire & theft
  • Fully comprehensive
  • Third party, fire & theft
Uninsured driver protection  tick tick tick
Multi-car insurance discount  tick tick tick
Temporary car insurance policy*  tick
Optional breakdown cover  tick tick tick
Defaqto rating  5 stars 5 & 3 stars 4 & 5 stars

*No separate temporary car insurance policy but you may be able to temporarily insure someone to your existing policy

Summary

Direct Line is one of the biggest car insurers in the UK and offers a wide range of policies with additional optional extras. Direct Line caters for younger drivers with its DrivePlus 'black box' insurance policy, as well as offering a multi-car discount for households with more than one car. Direct Line, however, does not appear on comparison sites which means if you want to compare the cost of a policy you would need to visit the website directly.

 

 

 

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