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Hastings Direct home insurance review

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Operating since 1997, Hastings Direct is a home insurance broker that offers three levels of cover, regardless of whether you’re after buildings, contents or combined insurance. 

Since it’s a broker, your policy may be underwritten by a provider that isn’t directly associated with Hastings.

But how does its policies compare to the best home insurance providers in the UK? Our Hastings Direct home insurance review covers everything from how much you can claim on your buildings and contents insurance, to what its customers feel about its service.

What home insurance cover is offered by Hastings Direct? 

If you take out Hastings Direct home insurance, you’ll have three levels of cover to choose from: Essentials, Direct and Premier.

All three can be purchased as buildings insurance, contents insurance or combined home insurance

Hastings Essentials home insurance

If you take out Hastings Essentials buildings insurance, your cover will include:

  • Buildings cover: with Hastings Essentials, you can get buildings cover up to £500,000
  • Alternative accommodation and lost rent: you can claim up to £50,000 for alternative accommodation, or lost rent, if your home is deemed uninhabitable due to an insured event
  • Water leaks: you can claim up to the buildings sum insured for damage caused by escape of water, plus £5,000 to trace and access the leak
  • Oil leaks: you can claim up to the buildings sum insured for damage caused by escape of oil, plus £5,000 to trace and access the leak
  • Lock replacement: you can claim up to £500 to replace your locks if your keys are lost or stolen
  • Accidental damage to service pipes and cables: you’re covered up to the buildings sum insured on your policy for any accidental damage to service pipes, drains and cables that you’re legally responsible for
  • Emergency entry: you can claim for loss or damage to your buildings (if there is a forced entry) and garden following damage caused by the emergency services when attending an emergency involving you or your family
  • Selling your home: if you sell your home, it’ll be covered under your policy from the date contracts are exchanged until the sale completion date
  • Fees and other costs: your policy will cover the costs of debris removal, and the fees of architects, surveyors, consulting engineers and legal experts, in the event your home needs to be rebuilt following an insured event
  • Property owner’s liability: you’ll have up to £1 million in cover for claims of injury, death or property damage made against you as the property owner

Meanwhile, if you purchase Hastings Essentials contents insurance, it includes:

  • New for old contents cover: you can get up to £150,000 in contents cover, where items will be replaced new for old where possible
  • Alternative accommodation: you can claim up to £10,000 for alternative accommodation if your home is uninhabitable following an insured event
  • Outbuildings and garages: you can claim up to £2,000 for any items in an outbuilding or garage
  • Water leaks: you can claim up to £1,000 for metered water bills following a leak
  • Oil leaks: you can claim up to £1,000 for metered oil bills following a leak
  • Visitors’ personal belongings: you can claim up to £1,000 for the personal belongings of any visitors to your home, including domestic staff
  • Lock replacement: you can claim up to £500 to replace your locks if your keys are lost or stolen
  • Frozen food: you can claim up to £500 for food in your fridge or freeze that is damaged by a change in temperature, or is contaminated by refrigerant or refrigerant fumes
  • Personal money and credit cards: you can claim up to £500 for lost or damaged money, and up to £500 for credit or debit card fraud
  • House removal: you’ll be covered for the accidental loss of, or damage to, your contents when being moved by professional movers to any new home within in the British Isles
  • Business equipment: you can claim up to £5,000 for any business equipment kept at home
  • Special events increase: your cover limit will increase by £7,500 for the 30 days before and after religious festivals you celebrate, your own wedding or civil partnership (or that of a family member), and the birth or legal adoption of a child into your family
  • Valuable items (not specified on Schedule): you can claim up to £10,000 for any lost or damaged valuables (such as jewellery, antiques, watches, precious metals and works of art) not specified on your Schedule, with a limit of £1,500 per single item
  • Tenant’s liability: you can claim up to £10,000 for any costs that you are legally responsible for as a tenant
  • Unrecoverable court awards: you can claim up to £1 million for damages you or your family have been awarded that hasn’t been paid six months after the award was made
  • Personal liability: you’ll have up to £1 million in cover for claims of injury, death or property damage made against you
  • Employer’s liability: you’ll have up to £10 million in cover for claims of injury or death made against you by domestic staff in your employment

Hastings Direct home insurance

Hastings Direct buildings insurance includes everything at the Essentials level, as well as:

  • Buildings cover: the level of buildings cover increases to £1 million
  • Alternative accommodation and lost rent: you can claim up to £100,000 for alternative accommodation and lost rent
  • Property owner’s liability: you’ll have up to £2 million in property owner’s liability insurance

With Hastings Direct contents insurance, your cover includes everything from the Essentials policy, as well as the following additions: 

  • Theft from outbuilding: you can claim up to £3,000 for items in an outbuilding or garage
  • Water leaks: you can claim up to £2,000 for metered water bills following a leak
  • Oil leaks: you can claim up to £2,000 for metered oil bills following a leak
  • Contents in the open: you can claim up to £1,000 for contents in your garden
  • Garden cover: you can claim up to £1,000 for plants in your garden
  • Frozen food: your food cover increases to £1,000 with a Hastings Direct policy
  • Personal money and credit cards: while your money benefit remains at £500, you can claim an increased £1,000 for credit or debit card fraud
  • Contents temporarily removed from the home: you can claim up to £2,500 for loss or damage to any content that has been temporarily removed to a bank or safe deposit, an occupied private residence, or any building where you or your family are working or temporarily living anywhere in the world
  • Contents at university or college: you can claim up to £2,500 for belongings for a student at university or college
  • Business equipment: your cover for business equipment increases to £6,000
  • Valuable items (not specified on Schedule): your total valuables limit increases to £15,000, but the per single item limit remains at £1,500
  • Pedal cycles: you can claim £350 per pedal cycle, up to a maximum of £1,500
  • Digital or downloaded media: you can claim up to £2,500 to replace any downloaded media that is lost or damaged (excluding by computer virus, or electrical or mechanical failure/breakdown)
  • Fatal accident: you can claim up to £5,000 if you or your partner suffers an accident, assault or fire at home; an accident while travelling as a passenger on public transport; or an assault in the street, that leads to death within 12 months of the incident
  • Tenant’s liability: your tenant’s liability cover increases to £15,000 with a Direct policy
  • Documents: you can claim up to £750 for lost or damaged documents
  • Unrecoverable court awards: this cover increases to £2 million
  • Personal liability: this cover increases to £2 million

Hastings Premier home insurance

With Hastings Premier buildings insurance, you’ll have everything in the lower levels of cover, as well as the following changes and additions:

  • Alternative accommodation and lost rent: your alternative accommodation cover increases to £200,000

If you choose Hastings Premier contents insurance, your policy will include everything at the Essentials and Direct level, plus:

  • Alternative accommodation: this cover increases to £15,000
  • Theft from outbuilding: this cover increases to £5,000
  • Valuable items (not specified on Schedule): your total valuables cover increases to £30,000
  • Home legal expenses: you’ll have up to £100,000 in legal expenses cover, to help with costs related to a number of claims, including consumer issues, personal injury, clinical negligence, employment disputes, property issues, tax disputes and motor prosecution defence
  • Home emergency cover: with home emergency cover, Hastings Direct will cover emergency callouts related to plumbing, drainage, failure of internal electrics, security, pests, internal gas pipes, roofing, and your boiler and heating system

What isn’t covered by Hastings Direct home insurance?

It’s important to know what isn’t covered by your Hastings Direct home insurance policy. Exclusions include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss or damage caused by storm or flood to gates, hedges, fences, solar panels, wind turbines, gas or oil tanks in the open, swimming pools, and aerials; drives, patios, decking, terraces, tennis hard courts and paths unless your home is damaged at the same time
  • Escape of water or oil if your home is unoccupied or unfurnished at the time of the incident, or due to general lack of maintenance
  • Escape of water damage from gutting, rainwater and downpipes, or from overflowing taps that have been left on accidentally
  • Trace and access for oil or water leaks if your home is unoccupied or unfurnished
  • Loss or damage caused by theft, vandalism or a malicious act if it hasn’t been reported to the police, or if your home is unoccupied or unfurnished
  • Loss or damage caused by coastal or river bank erosion
  • The cost of replacing locks and keys to a garage or outbuilding
  • Selling your home cover if your property is unoccupied or unfurnished
  • Accidental damage to cables, underground pipes and drains if your home is unoccupied or unfurnished, or if the damage to the drains caused by inherent defects in the design, materials, construction or installation
  • New for old contents cover excludes linens and clothing
  • House removal cover doesn’t include valuables or money; china, glass, porcelain or electronic equipment unless packed and loaded by professionals; bicycles unless kept securely in a locked vehicle, or to an immovable object; or sea transit
  • Frozen or refrigerated food if the plug was accidentally removed or switched off, or the door is left open; or if the fridge or freezer is more than 10 years old
  • Temporary removal cover excludes business equipment, personal effects, money, camping equipment, pedal cycles and sports equipment; if your contents has been away from your home for more than 45 days in a row (excluding student belongings); if a theft doesn’t involved forcible and violent entry into, or out of, a building; and from caravans, mobile homes and motor homes

Hastings Direct home insurance policies at a glance

Hastings Essential buildings and contents insuranceHastings Direct buildings and contents insuranceHastings Premier buildings and contents insurance
Buildings coverUp to £500,000Up to £1 millionUp to £1 million
Contents coverUp to £150,000Up to £150,000Up to £150,000
Outbuildings coverIncluded in buildings coverUp to £2,000 for content in outbuildingsIncluded in buildings coverUp to £3,000 for content in outbuildingsIncluded in buildings coverUp to £5,000 for content in outbuildings
Alternative accommodationUp to £60,000 (£50,000 buildings, £10,000 contents)Up to £110,000 (£100,000 buildings, £10,000 contents)Up to £215,000 (£200,000 buildings, £15,000 contents)
Loss of rentUp to £50,000 (part of alternative accommodation benefit)Up to £100,000 (part of alternative accommodation benefit)Up to £200,000 (part of alternative accommodation benefit)
Tenants’ liabilityUp to £10,000Up to £15,000Up to £15,000
Water leaksUp to £5,000 for trace and accessUp to £1,000 for loss of metered waterUp to £5,000 for trace and accessUp to £2,000 for loss of metered waterUp to £5,000 for trace and accessUp to £2,000 for loss of metered water
Oil leaksUp to £5,000 for trace and accessUp to £1,000 for loss of metered oilUp to £5,000 for trace and accessUp to £2,000 for loss of metered oilUp to £5,000 for trace and accessUp to £2,000 for loss of metered oil
Theft of keysUp to £500Up to £500Up to £500
Valuables or high risk item limit (if not a specified item)Up to £10,000 (£1,500 per single item)Up to £15,000 (£1,500 per single item)Up to £30,000 (£1,500 per single item)
Visitor or guest belongingsUp to £1,000Up to £1,000Up to £1,000
MoneyUp to £500Up to £500Up to £500
Digital media or downloaded contentNoUp to £2,500Up to £2,500
Business equipmentUp to £5,000Up to £6,000Up to £6,000
Liability coverUp to £1 million (property owner’s liability)Up to £1 million (personal liability)Up to £10 million (employer’s liability)Up to £2 million (property owner’s liability)Up to £2 million (personal liability)Up to £10 million (employer’s liability)Up to £2 million (property owner’s liability)Up to £2 million (personal liability)Up to £10 million (employer’s liability)
Home emergencyOptionalOptionalYes
Family legal protectionOptionalOptionalYes
Personal possessionsOptionalOptionalOptional
Accidental damageOptionalOptionalOptional

Hastings Direct home insurance optional extras 

Depending on the level of cover you choose, you can add the following optional extras to your Hastings Direct home insurance policy:

  • Home emergency cover: if you purchase an Essentials or Direct policy, you can add home emergency cover as an optional extra (included with Premier as standard)
  • Home legal expenses cover: if you have an Essentials or Direct policy, you can add £100,000 in legal expenses cover (included with Premier as standard)
  • Accidental damage: you can add accidental damage cover to both your buildings and contents insurance policies 
  • Personal possessions: with the personal possessions add-on, you’ll be covered for loss or damage to your personal belongings (including mobile phones, valuables, money and credit cards) anywhere in the British Isles, and for up to 60 days anywhere in the world

How to claim with Hastings Direct home insurance 

If you need to make a claim with Hastings Direct home insurance, you’ll need to:

  1. Check your policy: first, it’s a good idea to check your policy and make sure you are covered for the incident you want make a claim on
  2. Collect any evidence: your insurer may want to see evidence of any damage, or receipts from emergency work you’ve had done
  3. Contact your insurer: you should then contact your insurer as soon as possible. Since Hastings Direct is a home insurance broker, it instructs you to call the insurer listed on your policy. The various contact numbers can be found here
  4. Wait for the next steps: your insurer will then inform you of the next steps, whether that’s arranging for repairs, sending your a replacement item, or another course of action

How to contact Hastings Direct home insurance 

If you need to contact Hastings Direct about your home insurance, and it isn’t related to a claim, you can call 0333 321 9675. The line is open 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and Bank Holidays, and 9am to 1pm on Sundays. 

How to cancel Hastings Direct home insurance

If you need to cancel your Hastings Direct home insurance, you can do so by calling 0333 321 9675. You may incur a fee when cancelling:

  • If you cancel within the 14-day cooling off period, you won’t have to pay a fee
  • If you cancel after 14 days, you’ll be charged a £35 cancellation fee

Hastings Direct home insurance customer reviews 

Hastings Direct has a ‘Great’ Trustpilot rating of 4.2 stars out of five, based on more than 138,100 reviews. 

It is important to note that Hastings Direct offers multiple products aside from home insurance, including car insurance and personal loans. This means its Trustpilot rating is for the brand as a whole, not just its services as a home insurance provider.

Of its five-star reviews that explicitly mention home insurance, there is praise for its competitive quotes for new customers, and the ease of its application and set-up process. There are also a number of positive reviews discussing Hastings Direct’s home emergency service. 

There are complaints, however, about price hikes at the point of renewal – a frequent issue across the industry – and the quality of its customer service, especially when it comes to cancellations.

“My whole experience with Hastings Direct was just lovely from start to finish. My home emergency was dealt with quickly, I was kept informed from start to finish and I’m extremely happy.”

“Did everything online, and Hastings covered all my home insurance requirements. Also very competitive, as my previous insurance company was going to charge me £295 more for the same cover! No brainer really!”

“A fair quote for home insurance, and we stayed with them for two years. Cancellation, however, was painful, and still not even a resolved issue. They insist on telephone calls, yet don’t have sufficient staff to answer within any reasonable time (15 minutes plus on hold is ridiculous). It simply isn’t reasonable to not be able to cancel automatic renewals via the online system. This is simply a method to cause auto-renewal by inertia and placing deliberate obstacles in customers’ paths.”Italianophile, via Trustpilot

What industry ratings does Hastings Direct home insurance have?

From Defaqto, Hastings Direct has the following scores for its home insurance:

  • Hastings Essentials buildings insurance: ★★★
  • Hastings Essentials contents insurance: ★★★
  • Hastings Direct buildings insurance: ★★★★★
  • Hastings Direct contents insurance: ★★★★
  • Hastings Premier buildings insurance: ★★★★★
  • Hastings Premier contents insurance: ★★★★

From Fairer Finance, meanwhile, Hastings Direct home insurance has been rated:

  • Hastings Essentials buildings insurance: ★
  • Hastings Essentials contents insurance: ★
  • Hastings Essentials combined home insurance: ★
  • Hastings Direct buildings insurance: ★★★
  • Hastings Direct contents insurance: ★★★
  • Hastings Direct combined home insurance: ★★★
  • Hastings Premier buildings insurance: ★★★
  • Hastings Premier contents insurance: ★★★
  • Hastings Premier combined home insurance: ★★★

How does Hastings Direct compare to its competitors?

Provider nameTrustpilot scoreDefaqto scoreFairer Finance score
Hastings Direct4.2 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★★ (Contents)
★★★ (Combined) 
AA4.3 out of five★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★★ (Contents)
★★ (Combined) 
Admiral4.5 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★ (Contents) 
★★★ (Combined) 
Aviva4 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★★★ (Contents) 
★★★ (Combined) 
Axa4.3 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★★★ (Contents) 
★★★★ (Combined) 
Direct Line3.8 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★★★ (Contents) 
★★★★ (Combined) 
Esure3.4 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★★★ (Contents) 
★★ (Combined) 
Homeprotect4.3 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★ (Contents) 
★★ (Combined) 
LV4.4 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★★★ (Contents) 
★★★ (Combined) 
More Than3.8 out of five★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★★★ (Contents) 
★★★ (Combined) 
Policy Expert4.6 out of five★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★ (Contents) 
★★ (Combined) 
Privilege4.1 out of five★★★ (Buildings)★★★ (Contents)★ (Combined)
Rias4.1 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★★★ (Contents) 
★★★ (Combined) 
Saga4.2 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)
★★★★★ (Contents)
★★★ (Combined) 
Tesco Bank4.3 out of five★★★★★ (Buildings)★★★★★ (Contents)★★★★ (Combined)
All scores are correct as of 22 March 2024. Based on standard or mid-tier home insurance policies.

Conclusion

Although it has three levels of cover to choose from, the differences are relatively limited, especially between Direct and Premier.

The Essentials level is very poorly reviewed, with three stars from Defaqto and just one star from Fairer Finance. However, Direct and Premier both offer decent, well-reviewed cover. 

In terms of its policy benefits, the stand outs are the maximum amount of contents cover available, and its alternative accommodation, downloaded media, and tenant’s liability claim limits.

Customer reviews speak positively of Hastings Direct’s home emergency cover, and the ease of its application process. However, among the usual complaints about renewal prices, are gripes about the availability of its customer service team over the phone.

Frequently asked questions about Hastings Direct home insurance

Since Hastings Direct is a broker, your home insurance policy will be underwritten by one of a panel of insurers, including Advantage Insurance, Axa, RSA Insurance, Integra Insurance Solutions, Lloyds, and Prestige Underwriting Services. 

 

You can check your policy documents to find out your underwriter, and who you need to contact in the event of a claim.

Axa and Hastings Direct are not part of the same company. However, Axa is one of the insurance brands on Hastings Direct’s panel of home insurance providers.

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.

Molly Dyson

Editor

After growing up with a passion for writing, Molly studied journalism and creative writing at university in her home country of the United States.

She has written for a variety of print and online publications, from small town newspapers to international magazines. Most of her 10-year career since relocating to the UK has been spent in business journalism, writing and editing for admin professionals at PA Life magazine and business travel managers at Business Travel News Europe and representing those titles at conferences around the world.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Molly is an expert in a broad range of consumer topics, that include solar panels and renewables, home improvements and home insurance, and consumer technology such as home security and VPNs.

In her free time, Molly can usually be found exploring the outdoors with her husband and their young son or gardening.