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Direct Line home insurance review: Policies compared with competitors

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Direct Line home insurance review – buildings, contents and combined policies compared

Founded in 1985, Direct Line began with only one product – car insurance – but today it provides a broad range of products including car, travel, pet, cycling and home insurance. It was the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel for communication, and this is still the best way to contact its team today. 

Direct Line offers three levels of cover: Home Insurance, Home Insurance Plus and Select Premier. For its Plus and Select Premier policies most types of cover are included as standard, and the basic Home Insurance policy can be customised with optional extras.

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90-second read

Direct Line home insurance products include buildings, contents and a combined policy for all three levels of its cover. For its Plus and Select Premier policies, most types of cover are included as standard, and for its basic Home Insurance policy, you can add optional extras, allowing for bespoke cover. 

Our researchers found both the customer service and claims processes to be simple and straightforward. Making a claim via the online forms proved easy to navigate and was dealt with in a timely manner. However, its Virtual Assistant chat service was not all that helpful and could only answer very basic questions, so we found it best to call the company instead. 

Our experts compared the provider with six other leading home insurance companies, analysing customer feedback, products and claims processes. The conclusion is that while Direct Line is more expensive than some of its competitors, its products are good value for money and its customer service was helpful. 

Our product review and research process

9
Policies reviewed
6
Competitors compared
100+
Hours of research
500+
Reviews read
3
Experts consulted

Our researchers and writers are dedicated to bringing you accurate and up-to-date information so you can make an informed decision when it comes to comparing and buying home insurance.

We will only endorse home insurance products after hundreds of hours of research, policy comparisons and mystery shopping, and after taking into account verified customer feedback and reviews, and the opinions of industry experts.

To write our articles, we’ve compared (and continue to compare) hundreds of insurance policies from dozens of the UK’s insurers – big and small. We focus our research on:

  • Cost and value for money
  • The level of coverage offered (and what’s not covered as standard)
  • Customer service and ease of making a claim

All of our articles are verified by industry experts, including regulatory compliance specialists, and the policy data is verified by the insurance providers themselves, so you can be assured that our content is as accurate and up to date as possible.

Even after all that, we would still recommend that you don’t just take our word for it – you should compare quotes to get the best deal for you and your home. To find out more about our methodology, read our article on how we cover home insurance companies.

Direct Line home insurance policy comparison

Direct Line offers three levels of policies – Home Insurance, Home Insurance Plus and Select Premier – with each one including contents, buildings, or combined cover. It also has a comprehensive range of optional extras that can be added to the standard Home Insurance cover. Any added optional extras will increase your premium, but it does allow your quote to be personalised to suit individual requirements.

Policy Policy type Buildings max sum insured Content max sum insured
Home Insurance Contents N/A Up to £50,000
Home Insurance Buildings Up to £1 million N/A
Home Insurance Combined Up to £1 million Up to £50,000
Home Insurance Plus Contents N/A Up to £100,000
Home Insurance Plus Buildings Unlimited N/A
Home Insurance Plus Combined Unlimited Up to £100,000
Select Premier Contents N/A Unlimited
Select Premier Buildings Unlimited N/A
Select Premier Combined Unlimited Unlimited

What does Direct Line home insurance cover as standard?

Direct Line offers a wide range and a good level of cover across its three policy levels as standard – with options to customise each policy level by adding optional extras. Its maximum cover allowance is greater than other providers we’ve reviewed, even for its basic policy, including cover for alternative accommodation, buildings repair and contents insurance. 

Although we did discover that the company’s quotes were considerably higher than other insurers, its three levels of cover also proved to be good value for money.

Policy Home Insurance Home Insurance Plus Select Premier
Cover type → Contents Buildings Combined Contents Buildings Combined Contents Buildings Combined
Cover ↓
Buildings insurance (rebuild or repair after a fire, theft or flood) Up to £1 million Up to £1 million Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Contents insurance (covers all possessions in your home) Up to £50,000 Up to £50,000 Up to £100,000 Up to £100,000 Unlimited Unlimited
Trace and access Up to £5,000 Up to £5,000 Up to £10,000 Up to £10,000 Up to £15,000 Up to £15,000
Alternative accommodation for you and your pets Up to £40,000 Up to £40,000 Up to £80,000 Up to £80,000 Unlimited, up to three years Unlimited, up to three years
Sets and suites No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Personal possessions Optional Optional Yes Yes
Accidental damage Optional Optional Optional Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Home emergency Optional Optional Optional Yes Yes Yes Up to £1,500 Up to £1,500 Up to £1,500
Family legal protection Optional Optional Yes Yes Yes Yes
New for old replacement Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Home working cover Up to £5,000 Up to £5,000 Up to £10,000 Up to £10,000 Up to £15,000 Up to £15,000
Money Up to £500 Up to £500 Up to 1,000 Up to £1,000 Up to £2,500 Up to £2,500
Outdoor possessions Up to £1,000 Up to £1,000 Up to £2,500 Up to £2,500 Up to £2,500 Up to £2,500
Lock and key replacement Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Freezer contents Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Away from home cover Up to £5,000 Up to £5,000 Up to £10,000 Up to £10,000 Up to £15,000 Up to £15,000
Event protection Included up to 10% Included up to 10% Included up to 10% Included up to 10% Yes Yes
Damage to plumbing installation caused by freezing/bursting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alternative accommodation following an insured event Up to £25,000 Up to £25,000 Up to £50,000 Up to £50,000 Unlimited Unlimited
Downloaded content Up to £1,000 Up to £3,000 Up to £3,000 Up to £5,000 Up to £5,000
Business equipment Up to £5,000 Up to £10,000 Up to £10,000 Up to £15,000 Up to £15,000
Bicycles (per bicycle) Up to £500 Up to £500 Up to £500 Up to £500 Up to £500 Up to £500

Optional extras

Direct Line offers a broad range of cover across all of its policies and, for the standard Home Insurance policy, there are several types of cover that are available as optional extras. However, if you find yourself adding a large number of optional extras, it’s worth checking if the Home Insurance Plus and Select Premier policies would be more cost effective. 

Optional extra Home Insurance Home Insurance Plus Select Premier
Family legal protection Yes Included as standard Included as standard
Home emergency Yes Included as standard Up to £1,500
Accidental damage Yes Included as standard Included as standard
Personal possessions cover Yes Included as standard Included as standard
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What’s in the small print?

Whenever you take out any type of insurance, it’s sensible to read the small print. The small print is where you’ll find general exclusions, policy limits and other important information. 

Where are you covered?

Direct Line policies cover Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. 

With personal possessions cover – included as standard for Home Insurance Plus and Select Premier policies but also available as an add-on for the standard Home Insurance policy – your items are covered for up to 60 days abroad, providing they are kept with you or in a secure place. 

Policy exclusions

Exclusions are specific types of damages or loss that are not covered by your buildings or contents insurance. Our researchers have analysed Direct Line’s small print, and listed below are some instances that are not covered by its policies: 

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Maintenance and routine decoration
  • Loss or damage as a result of the lack of maintenance or routine decoration
  • Reduction in value
  • Damage caused by rot, fungus, woodworm, beetles, moths, insects, or vermin
  • The cost of repairing or replacing any item following a mechanical or electrical fault or breakdown, or where it has failed or stopped working despite there being no apparent damage (note this does not apply to home emergencies)
  • Damage caused by cleaning, dyeing, renovating, altering, re-styling, repairing, or restoring an item
  • Tearing, scratching, chewing, vomiting, fouling, urinating, or denting by any domestic animal
  • Any damage caused gradually
  • Faulty workmanship, faulty design, or the use of faulty materials
  • Items held or used for business purposes, except those listed as business equipment in the policy definitions
  • Any drop in the market value of your home caused by rebuilding or repairing damage to your buildings
  • Any loss, damage, or legal liability caused, or allowed to be caused, by the deliberate, wilful or malicious act of you or any paying guest or tenant
  • Any loss, damage, or legal liability resulting from the illegal acts of you or any paying guest or tenant

What are the excesses and no claims discounts for Direct Line home insurance?

Home insurance excess is a pre-arranged amount that you must pay when you make a claim. The compulsory excess can be deducted from the claim or settled separately. Home insurance excesses are formed of two parts: compulsory and voluntary. The compulsory amount is set by the insurance provider, and the voluntary is set by you, based on how much you could afford to contribute in the event of a claim. 

Setting a higher voluntary excess should lower your premiums, but remember that you need to be able to afford the voluntary excess should you need to make a claim. 

Compulsory excesses 

  • Standard excess: Direct Line’s standard excess is £100, but you can choose to increase your standard excess – by doing so it will see you paying smaller home insurance premiums
  • Escape of water: £450 compulsory excess that you’ll pay in the event of a burst pipe or water leak if you make a claim
  • Subsidence: £1,000 compulsory excess that you’ll pay as a result of subsidence damage if you make a claim  

No claims discount 

Home insurance providers may offer a no-claims discount if customers have made no claims over the course of a year, and this can accumulate for every consecutive year – with providers offering between five and nine years, according to our research. 

Our researchers found any information regarding Direct Line’s no-claims discount was not available on its website or through its Virtual Assistant chat service. Upon calling the customer service team, we discovered the company does offer a no-claims discount, but this would be assessed on a case-by-case basis and the company accepts no-claims discount documents from previous insurers – at the time of the call, this could accumulate over five years.

How to make a claim on your Direct Line home insurance policy

A claim with Direct Line can be done by filling out an online form or by calling 0345 246 8412. If you have an emergency and have home emergency cover, there’s a different online notification form.

Online claims process

For new claims, customers can complete an online claims form. If you are in contact about an existing claim, then Direct Line recommends calling its claims phone line. 

Step 1: To make a claim, you’ll need to log in to your online account. You will need your policy number and other personal information to hand. 

Step 2: You’ll be asked if your property is secure and if you have access to essential facilities – if the answer is no, you’re advised to call the claims phone line. 

Step 3: Provide details relating to your claim, as well as the date the event happened. 

Step 4: Once your claim has been submitted, you should receive a text message within one hour. 

Step 5: Your claim will be deployed to the relevant personnel, who will then contact you to arrange a suitable appointment time. 

Phone claims process 

Step 1: For non-emergencies, call 0345 246 8412. For emergencies, fill out the emergency notification form.

Step 2: The recorded message will ask a series of questions, so it’s best to have any information for your policy to hand.

Step 3: A recorded voice will ask why you are calling and you’ll need to best describe this in just a few words. 

Step 4: Once through to the next step, you’ll be asked a series of questions, including if the policy is in your name, policy number, and what type of home emergency claim you are making. 

Step 5: You’ll then be informed that you have joined a queue to speak to a member of the customer service team. Our researchers’ call was answered after a few minutes of waiting in the queue.  

Online emergency notification form

Step 1: Fill out your personal information, as well as your policy number.

Step 2: Select what type of emergency claim you are making.

Step 3: Wait for Direct Line to contact you about the next steps for your emergency claim.

Direct Line phone numbers

Claim number: 0345 246 8412

Customer service number: 0345 246 3564

Lines open:

  • Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm 
  • Saturday: 9am to 5pm
  • Sunday: Closed

Outside of office hours number: 0345 878 5081

Direct Line’s customer service

Direct Line has a UK-based call centre, which is contactable during office hours; there’s a separate phone line for customers to contact outside of those hours. Both phone lines have automated services that are interactive voice response enabled. Our researchers found this to be very helpful and preferred the option of being able to voice what their call was regarding as opposed to selecting pre-recorded options.

The help lines are also accessible for people with communication difficulties. It offers a Typetalk service – to use the service, prefix the number 18001 before the number you wish to dial. There is also a sign language service that is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Customers can locate the service on the insurer’s homepage. 

Our researchers found the phone service was quick and easy, and in just a few minutes they were able to speak to friendly and knowledgeable customer personnel. 

Unfortunately, Direct Line does not have a downloadable app for its home insurance, unlike some other providers we have reviewed. However, logging in to your account is quick, easy and simple through the website, and you will find all of the information you need available. 

Customers can also contact the company via its Virtual Assistant chat. Our researchers put this to the test and found it was quick to respond and could answer some of our queries. However, it could not answer all of our questions and had no information regarding the no-claims discount (which also isn’t listed on the website).  

How do customers rate Direct Line?

Direct Line receives a Trustpilot score of 3.9 out of five, with over 11,800 reviews. Five-star reviews make up 63 per cent of the total, while 21 per cent are one-star reviews. It should, however, be noted that its Trustpilot score also includes its other insurance products.  

Many reviews mention how quick the customer service team were to respond to requests and that Direct Line’s personnel were friendly and helpful. However, several customers express dissatisfaction with the claim service. 

“The fact that I could talk to someone [is great]. At 70+, the internet isn’t easy, but it is fine if you are using computers every day. I’m not. Having said that, the three times I logged on and entered our details, it was the Banks verification process that got in the way, which is why I had to go down the telephone [route] anyway. [It’s] brilliant; a smooth and stress-free [process]. The member of staff was very good, effective and efficient.”

“I found it simple to complete the forms to swap to Direct Line for my household insurance using my mobile. It was not the same with my existing insurers when trying to cancel. I felt like strangling the voice that kept saying they did not understand what I was [asking for]. You had to use particular words. When on the third attempt, I got through to a lovely gentleman, no problem.”

“Making a simple small claim for storm damage causing two or three roof tiles to come off is a nightmare. The company deliberately makes delays to process the claim. [It’s been] almost a month now and I still have no idea how long it will take. Roof tiles are not classed as an emergency.”

How do others rate Direct Line?

Defaqto is designed to help consumers, financial advisors and institutions make informed decisions on products and services. Its researchers conduct consumer research and meet with industry experts to provide in-depth ratings and unbiased information. 

Defaqto awards Direct Line home insurance policies: 

★★★★★   Direct Line Home Insurance

★★★★★  Direct Line Home Insurance Plus

★★★★   Direct Line Select Premier

How does Direct Line compare?

Direct Line offers three levels of cover: Home Insurance, Home Insurance Plus and Select Premier, all of which offer contents, buildings and combined home insurance packages. The company’s Home Insurance policy has a good level of cover, and with its Plus and Select Premier policies, a lot of the add-ons are already included as standard. 

Our experts compared six other companies to Direct Line. We found there were several other home insurance providers that also offer three levels of cover, including Admiral and LV, which provide contents, buildings and combined packages for each level, just like Direct Line. 

Comparing all three providers’ Defaqto scores, Direct Line scores notably higher, with five stars for its Home Insurance and Plus policies and four stars for its Select Premier policy. Admiral and LV score three stars for one policy each and five stars for two policies. 

The company’s 3.9 Trustpilot rating is one of the lowest among the six providers compared. Policy Expert’s 4.7 rating is the highest (though it does not offer a combined package), but customers have rated it highly for its customer service and policy cover. Aviva’s 4.5 rating is also one of the highest, and it scores five stars from Defaqto for both of its home insurance policies. 

Our researchers also found Direct Line was one of the more expensive home insurance providers. We found quotes were higher than some other providers, and customers also pointed this out in their Trustpilot reviews. With that being said, the company offers a lot of cover as standard in its Plus and Select Premier policies, so we do think it is worth the price.

Policy name Buildings Contents Buildings and contents combined Defaqto score Trustpilot score
Direct Line ★★★★★ (Home Insurance and Plus policies) ★★★★ (Select Premier policies) 3.9
Admiral ★★★ (Cover policies) ★★★★★ (Platinum and Gold policies) 3.3
Policy Expert ★★★★ (Silver and Bronze policies) ★★★★★ (Gold policies) 4.7
LV ★★★ (Essentials policies) ★★★★★ (Home and Home Plus policies) 4.6
More Than ★★★ (Primary and Upgraded policies) 3.8
Aviva ★★★★★ (Online and Premium policies) 4.5
Esure ★★★★★ (Buildings, contents and combined policies) 4.1

Independent Advisor’s verdict

Direct Line’s home insurance has three levels of cover, with all of them providing contents, buildings and a combined policy. When we compared this to other insurers, it was clear the company offers a broad range of cover. In addition, the level of cover offered as standard is more than some of its competitors.

For the most part, our researchers found the company’s website was user-friendly and clearly displayed policy documents and any available optional add-ons. However, there were a few important pieces of information missing, which we were able to clarify when calling the customer service team to enquire.

Its phone line customer service can’t be faulted, whether it’s for making a claim or a general enquiry.

Although the insurer only receives a 3.9 out of five rating on Trustpilot, it should be noted that most of its customer reviews are five stars. This rating also includes all of its other insurance products. When analysed by Defaqto’s experts, Direct Line received four- and five-star ratings for its home insurance policies. 

Our verdict is that Direct Line offers a wide range of home insurance policies with an above-average level of cover. It is one of the more expensive options on the market, but its policies are good value for money. 

rachel

Rachel Sadler

Home Tech Writer

Rachel is a seasoned writer who has been producing online and print content for seven years. 

As a home tech expert for Independent Advisor, Rachel researches and writes buying guides and reviews, helping consumers navigate the realms of broadband and home security gadgets. She also covers home tech for The Federation of Master Builders, where she reviews and tests home security devices. 

She started as a news and lifestyle journalist in Hong Kong reporting on island-wide news stories, food and drink and the city’s events. She’s written for editorial platforms Sassy Hong Kong, Localiiz and Bay Media. While in Hong Kong she attended PR events, interviewed local talent and project-managed photoshoots. 

Rachel holds a BA in English Language and Creative Writing and is committed to simplifying tech jargon and producing unbiased reviews.