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Direct Line car insurance review

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Sep 13, 2017

Direct Line insurance's current sell is “Don’t let a little accident stop you”. 

If you can’t drive your car, they’ll get a taxi for you at no cost to take you anywhere in the UK.

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This is the company’s Onward Travel Service. 

They also make a big play of the fact that they’ll offer you a ‘guaranteed hire car’, a small hatchback, with a comprehensive policy, hired for 21 consecutive days if your car is stolen or written off.

With comprehensive cover, Direct Line promises: 

* Onward travel if you have an accident and can’t drive your car.
* Guaranteed hire car.
* Seven-day repair.
* Medical expenses.
* Cover for windscreen damage.

And, something we like: There are no Direct Line admin fees.

 

What type of Direct Line car insurance policies are on offer?

The company offers the two basic polices of comprehensive and third party, fire and theft.

They don’t offer the most basic type of insurance, which is third party, without the fire and theft.

Of course, whatever policy you take out can be tailored to your needs with a range of optional add ons.

 

Direct Line car insurance extras

Adding extras will cost you more money, of course, but Direct Line, like most insurers, is happy to offer add-ons.

These allow you to tailor your policy, should you wish. Before you buy and of them, read our guide on car insurance extras to make sure they're worth it. 

The comprehensive policy does come with an impressive number of features as standard, however.

Like most comprehensive policies, you are covered for legal representation if you or your partner are accidentally injured while travelling in or getting into or out of any car. 

This is subject to limits, so check T&Cs.

Other benefits include:

* If you're hit by an uninsured driver, Direct Line will cover your excess and your no claims discount won't be affected
* 24/7 Accident recovery helpline for all insured cars
* Vandalism cover comes as standard and preserves your No Claims Discount for all cars on your insurance policy.
* Exclusive access to their windscreen repair service.
* Repairs guaranteed for 5 years. Parts guaranteed for 3 years. This applies when you use one of Direct Line’s approved repairers.

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Direct Line multi-car insurance

If you have more than one car at the same address and you insure them all through Direct Line  you’ll get an extra discount.

This is up to 10 cars per household and each car keeps its own renewal date.

 

Drive Plus

This is Direct Line’s version of black box or telematics insurance. 

It allows drivers who are safer than average in their category to pay less. You’re judged by your driving and not by the performance of your peers.

So, it’s especially helpful to good drivers who are either very young, or perhaps older drivers who don’t do many miles, which are always penalised by insurance companies as high risk.

You get a small device that’s fitted to your car and feeds back information about your driving, which is used to work out your premium.

If your driving is deemed to be safer than average, you’ll possibly get a discount at renewal (remember, here's why you should never auto-renew). 

And you get a discount in your first year, as long as you’ve already passed your test, just for opting for the black box to be fitted.

You get regular emails to update you on your performance and you can also monitor this on a smart phone app.

Premiums are updated on a monthly basis to reflect your driving, so it offers a real incentive to drive carefully.

By adjusting how you drive you can have a real impact on your premium.

If you're a young driver struggling to afford the high premiums, the black box is a useful option.

There's more tips in our guide: How to slash the price of teens' car insurance - do's and dont's.

  

What do Direct Line customers think?

Direct Line do pretty well in the rankings of car insurance customer satisfaction.

The Which? survey of best and worst car insurers, the most comprehensive on the market, places them in 6th position out of 31.

Direct Line scores four out of five stars for Customer service, value for money and its handling of queries and complaints. It scores three out of five stars for its transparency when it comes to charges.

Overall, its policies score a respectable 73%, its customers score it 70% and overall it receives a ranking of 72%, compared to the average of 68%.

When it comes to handling claims the company does less well, placing 15th out of 23 companies surveyed.

It does well in all categories but is dragged down by the customers’ overall claims satisfaction, scoring just 65%.

For customer service, it scores 79%, speed of dealing with claims, 79%, communication while dealing with claims, 71% and settlement value, 76%. 

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We like 

There's plenty to like with Direct Line. We like: 

* Unlimited cover for windscreens, windows and sunroofs.
* No adjustment or set up fees
* Covers costs of replacing child seats

 

Need to know

Remember, Direct Line doesn’t show up on comparison sites, so to get a quote you’ll need to approach it direct.

But, just because the quote sounds good, doesn’t mean you can’t then see what else is on the market.

Get a quote AND use a comparison service.

 

In the news

By the end of this year, all of Direct Line’s 7,500 client-facing staff will be taught how to work out which of four basic personality types fit the people they are dealing with, so that they can bend their behaviour accordingly, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The idea was first tried out in the insurer’s call centres just over a year ago and it aims to form “real, genuine and emotional” connections with claimants who contact them often after traumatic experiences.

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