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Darwin car insurance review

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Founded in 2019, and part of the Direct Line Group, Darwin is a provider mainly aimed at people who search for car insurance quotes using price comparison websites. This differentiates it from sister-brand Direct Line, which doesn’t feature on comparison sites.

Although it hasn’t been around for long, Darwin already has more than 250,000 customers. It also has a higher Trustpilot rating than many of its more established competitors. 

Read our Darwin car insurance review below to find out what kind of cover it offers, how you can make a claim, and what its customers think of it as a provider.

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What car insurance cover is offered by Darwin?

Darwin only offers comprehensive car insurance. So if you want third party cover, or third party, fire and theft, you’ll need to look elsewhere. 

There are three levels of comprehensive cover to choose from: Darwin, Darwin Gold and Darwin Platinum.

Darwin

If you take out a Darwin policy, you’ll be covered for the following:

  • Injuries to other people: if you injure or kill someone in a motor accident, you’ll have unlimited cover to deal with the resulting costs
  • Damage to third party property: if you damage someone else’s property, you’ll be covered for up to £20 million per accident (plus £5 million for costs and expenses)
  • Fire damage: if your car is damaged in a fire, you can claim up to the market value of your vehicle at the time of the oss
  • Theft: if your car is stolen, or damaged in an attempted theft, you can claim up to its market value at the time of the loss
  • Accidental damage to your car: if your car is damaged in a motor accident, you’ll be able to claim up to the market value of your car at the time of the loss
  • Manufacturer-fitted in-car entertainment: following an insured event, you can claim an unlimited amount for any in-car entertainment systems fitted when you car was made
  • Aftermarket in-car entertainment: you can claim up to £1,000 for any in-car entertainment systems fitted after your car was made
  • Removable electronic equipment: you can claim up to £1,000 for any other removable electronic equipment found in your car
  • Replacement locks and keys: if your ignition device is lost or stolen, you’ll be able to claim up to £1,000 for the replacement of device and its associated locks
  • Windscreen damage: you’ll be able to claim for repairs to, or the replacement of, your windscreens and windows, as long as you pay the required excess (£40 when using an approved repairer, £125 when not)
  • Medical expenses: you can claim up to £100 per injured person in medical expenses following an accident
  • Personal accident cover: you and your partner will have up to £5,000 in personal accident cover in the event of death, loss of sight in one or both eyes, or the loss of any limb as a result of a motor accident
  • Hotel expenses: if your car is undrivable following an accident, you can claim up to £150 for the driver, or £250 for everyone in the car, if you need to stay overnight in a hotel
  • Personal belongings: you can claim up to £250 for any personal belongings lost or damaged due to an insured event (exclusions apply)
  • Child car seat: if you are involved in an insured event, you can make an unlimited claim for the costs of replacing your child car seats, even if they don’t appear damaged
  • Courtesy car: you’ll receive a courtesy car if your vehicle is damaged in an accident and you take it to an approved repairer
  • New car replacement: if your car is less than one year old, and you are the first and only registered owner, you can get a like-for-like replacement if your vehicle is stolen and unrecoverable, or the cost of repairing the damage is more than 60 per cent of its most recent UK list price
  • Uninsured Driver Promise: if you’re in a non-fault accident with an uninsured driver, you won’t have to pay your excess nor will your no-claims bonus be affected, as long as you get the other driver’s vehicle registration number and their details, if possible
  • Driving other cars: if eligible, you’ll be able to drive other cars under your Darwin policy, but with third party cover only
  • Driving abroad: for 90 days every 12 months you can drive across the EU, and select other European countries, with comprehensive cover

Darwin Gold

Darwin Gold includes everything found at the Darwin level, as well as:

  • Personal belongings: your personal belongings cover increases to £500 with Darwin Gold
  • Motor legal cover: with Darwin Gold, you will have up to £100,000 in motor legal protection to assist with legal costs related to recovering losses following an non-fault claim

Darwin Platinum

On top of everything covered by the Darwin and Darwin Gold policies, Darwin Platinum also includes:

  • Personal belongings: your personal belongings cover rises to £750 with Darwin Platinum
  • Green Flag breakdown cover: you’ll have Green Flag’s ‘Rescue’ level breakdown cover, which includes roadside help (as long as your a quarter of a mile or more from your home), local recovery, next-day collection and pass-a-message 

Darwin car insurance policies at a glance

Darwin Darwin Gold Darwin Platinum
Age range All All All
Level of cover Third party, fire and theft Comprehensive Comprehensive
Injuries to other people Yes Yes Yes
Damage to other people’s property Yes Yes Yes
Theft Yes Yes Yes
Fire damage Yes Yes Yes
Repairs to your own car following accident No Yes Yes
Motor legal protection Optional Yes Yes
Your medical expenses Up to £100 per injured person in medical expenses Up to £5,000 personal accident cover Up to £100 per injured person in medical expenses Up to £5,000 personal accident cover Up to £100 per injured person in medical expenses Up to £5,000 personal accident cover
Driving other cars Yes (if eligible, third party only) Yes (if eligible, third party only) Yes (if eligible, third party only)
Breakdown cover Optional Optional Yes (Rescue only)
Courtesy car cover Yes Yes Yes
Hire car cover Optional Optional Optional
Windscreen replacement Yes Yes Yes
Personal belongings £250 £500 £750
Replacement locks and keys Up to £1,000 Up to £1,000 Up to £1,000
Protected no-claims bonus Optional (if eligible) Optional (if eligible) Optional (if eligible)
Cancellation fee £25 (within 14-day cooling off period) £50 (after 14 days) £25 (within 14-day cooling off period) £50 (after 14 days) £25 (within 14-day cooling off period) £50 (after 14 days)

Darwin car insurance optional extras

You can add the following optional extras to your Darwin car insurance policy:

  • Motor legal protection: if you have standard Darwin insurance, you can add motor legal protection worth up to £100,000, to help with legal costs following a non-fault accident. This is included automatically with Darwin Gold and Platinum
  • Green Flag breakdown cover: all Darwin customers can add Green Flag breakdown cover to their policy. Darwin Platinum policy holders will already cover at the Rescue level, but can upgrade to Recovery Plus
  • Guaranteed Hire Car Plus: with Guaranteed Hire Car Plus you can receive a temporary replacement vehicle of a similar size to you car, rather than a small hatchback, following an insured event
  • Protected no-claims bonus: if you have earned at least four years of no-claims discounts, with no more than one fault claim within the last three years, you can purchase no-claims bonus protection. This allows you to make one claim during your current period of cover, or two claims within the preceding three years of insurance, without affecting your bonus

How to claim with Darwin car insurance

If you need to make a car insurance claim through Darwin, you should:

  1. Check everyone is safe: first, make sure that everyone in your car, and any third parties involved in the incident, are safe and secure
  2. Swap details: if a third party was involved, you’ll need to exchange your personal details, alongside your insurance policy number
  3. Take notes and photos: it’s also a good idea to gather some evidence. This could include taking photos or videos of any damage, speaking to witnesses, and making a note of relevant details, such as the time of day and weather conditions
  4. Contact Darwin: even if you don’t want to make a claim, you need to contact Darwin as soon as possible. You can do so on 0345 246 2089 (8am to 9pm Monday to Friday; 9am to 5pm Saturdays and Bank Holidays; 10am to 5pm Sundays)
  5. Wait for instructions: once you have outlined your claim, Darwin will help you with the next steps. For example, they may point you in the direction of an approved repairer

How to cancel Darwin car insurance

If you want to cancel your Darwin car insurance policy, you can either call 01733 300017 or email contact@darwin-insurance.com

As long as you haven’t made a claim, you’ll be refunded for the time left on your premium, minus the following fees:

Cancellation period Fee
Within 14 days of your policy start date £25
After 14 days, or if Darwin needs to cancel your policy £50

How to contact Darwin car insurance

If you need to contact Darwin about your car insurance, and it isn’t related to a claim, you can:

  • Live chat
  • Email: contact@darwin-insurance.com (Darwin aims to respond within 48 hours)
  • Phone: 01733 300017 (8am to 9pm Monday to Friday; 9am to 5pm Saturdays and Bank Holidays; 10am to 5pm Sundays)

While you can make changes to your policy and account online for free, some may require you to phone Darwin. Any changes made over the phone will incur a £25 administration fee.

Darwin car insurance customer reviews

Darwin Insurance has an ‘Excellent’ Trustpilot score of 4.6 out of five stars, based on more than 23,600 reviews. This makes it one of the best reviewed car insurance providers in the UK.

Darwin’s five-star reviews – which make up 80 per cent of its total scores – praise its simple application process, the ease with which you can talk to someone over the phone, and the quality of the customer service in general. 

Of the limited number of negative reviews Darwin has received, customers complain about high renewal costs – an issue that is unfortunately industry-wide.

“I’ve been with a lot of different insurance companies over the years, and haven’t found a better and more human service than that at Darwin. Every time I’ve had to speak to their customer service they have been super helpful and polite. I have had to make over 10 phone calls with them this year and every time they have been so lovely and have always had the time to explain and provide superb service.”

“This was the most competitive quote and it was so easy to sign up. I immediately received my documentation and all necessary information. [I was] so impressed with the service. Would definitely recommend.”

“Darwin as a company is great for new users. Their service is impeccable, their prices for new users are competitive and the people there are extremely friendly. My policy renewal came up recently, and they attempted to raise the insurance premium by 36 per cent this year. Given the fact that I had made no claims on this policy I would have expected a rise in line with inflation at worst. When I questioned this, it was claimed that the underwriters have changed their criteria. All a little ridiculous. This left me extremely disappointed overall. Thankfully this spurred me to check elsewhere and I have found a policy at around half of what Darwin is charging, including all optional extras (something that I did not have on my current policy). Strongly suggest shopping around.”

What Defaqto rating does Darwin car insurance have?

On top of its ‘Excellent’ Trustpilot rating, Darwin’s policies have the following reviews on Defaqto:

  • Darwin: ★★★★★
  • Darwin Gold: ★★★★★
  • Darwin Platinum: ★★★★★

How does Darwin compare to its competitors?

Provider name Trustpilot score Defaqto score
Darwin 4.6 stars 5 stars
esure 3.1 stars 5 stars (4 stars for Third party, fire and theft, 3 stars for Flex)
Ageas 4.1 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Essentials)
Axa 4.3 stars 5 stars (3 stars for standard third party, fire and theft and comprehensive car insurance)
Direct Line 3.7 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Third party, fire and theft and Essentials)
People’s Choice 1.4 stars 5 stars (4 stars for third party, fire and theft)
Hastings Direct 4.1 stars 5 stars (4 stars for Third party, fire and theft, 3 stars for Telematics, 2 stars for Essential)
Admiral Insurance 4.4 stars 5 stars (4 stars for Telematics, 3 stars for Essential)
Aviva 3.9 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Third party, fire and theft)
LV 4.5 stars 5 stars (3 stars for Third party, fire and theft)
NFU Mutual 4.4 stars 5 stars

Conclusion

There’s a lot to recommend with Darwin car insurance. All three of its policies have five-stars with Defaqto and four-stars with Fairer Finance (which normally scores providers lower than Defaqto). It also has one of the best Trustpilot ratings of the UK’s car insurance providers. Which is a good sign in case you need to make a claim. 

Each policy has healthy claim limits for most features, although at £5,000 its personal accident cover is on the low side. Customers, meanwhile, speak highly of its over the phone service, and its easy sign-up process. 

There are a couple of things to watch out for, however. Darwin makes you pay a cancellation fee even if you end your policy during the cooling-off period. And none of its policies include onward travel costs, only hotel expenses. 

Frequently asked questions about Darwin car insurance

Darwin Insurance is part of Direct Line Group PLC. One of the big differences between Darwin and Direct Line is that the former is available through price comparison websites, while the latter is not.

Darwin car insurance is underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, and is arranged and administered by iOG4 Limited.

Connor Campbell

Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.

Amy Reeves

Editor

Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.