New car insurance companies

Hastings soldier sitting in an armchair with a cup of tea

Remember back in January, Jane and I were experiencing problems with our [name of national car insurance firm]. Well, last month we finally moved insurance companies and it feels like an enormous relief.

I don’t like moving companies because of poor customer service, I’d much rather that the service improved because of customer feedback. But to be honest, in our experience things went from bad to worse the longer we were with them that we had to move, for the sake of our mental health, regardless of anything else.

Good service

We’d been with [name of national car insurance firm] since we bought the sleek, red Rover (as featured in the best-selling book Join Me by Danny Wallace, and now seen on tour with Solo Bass Steve) in 1999.

Back in the day they were great: helpful, courteous and understanding. We were easily recommending them to our family and friends.

In Inverness a cyclists hit our car, scratching the passenger-side body, completely removing the wing mirror in the process. We called our insurance company, they had it all sorted in a couple of weeks. In Edinburgh we managed to avoid mowing down cyclists but any time we called them — mostly to add a growing number of named-drivers to the certificate — we came away on the whole as happy customers. And then things started to deteriorate

Less than good service

Then we moved to Cellardyke, which in every other way was a wonderful experience. Jane bought a new car, and we moved to a new policy of theirs for owners of more than one car, which promised to save us money. But then there was a mix-up with Jane’s insurance application and despite Jane’s request to be phoned about it they instead e-mailed her.

At an e-mail address that she no longer had.

Which she’d already told them about.

That cost her a very anxious few days as they claimed that Jane had no insurance at all, even though she did. It was wonderfully complicated, but in the end all was resolved (by an understanding Customer Services Manager who recognized their part in that fiasco).

Or so we thought.

Then there was a three month fight about a payment that they claimed we’d not paid them, which we had; The Royal Bank of Scotland were absolute stars in helping us prove it.

The real low-point of that experience was Jane’s conversation with someone at Customer Services who said, “But of course you owe us money, Mrs Saunders!” At that moment we knew that we absolutely had to move companies.

It’s not that we think that [name of national car insurance firm] are a terrible company, we have absolutely nothing against them. We have experienced some great customer service from them, but over the last year or two our satisfaction with their service deteriorated to the point that it was causing us quite considerable anxiety.


When we received our renewal notice in June that was the final straw. We both got letters saying (apparently) we were adding a new car to the policy. No we weren’t!

In my letter of 15 June it claimed that this addition “has reduced your payment by £47.30”. In Jane’s letter of 15 June it said “there is an additional premium due of £323.10”.

Which was it?! There only was one policy: one policy with two cars on it, the same two cars that we had on our one policy on 14 June!


Jane phoned around that day and got us a couple of new policies with different insurance companies:

Having phoned Hastings a couple of times with various queries I have to report that I’m very impressed with them. I felt valued as a customer (and as a human being!). I got through straight away, spoke each time with knowledgeable customer service advisors, and was off the phone in 5 minutes, each matter having been completely resolved.

Let’s hope I’m with them for a while.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

6 thoughts on “New car insurance companies”

  1. Having just come through a nightmare with Norwich Union, I ended up blogging about my awful experience. (Customer Service from Delhi, which didn’t help). After posting, a little angel called Becca all but sorted things out. Becca has a wonderful job, sitting at a computer terminal and scouring Blogland for negative comments about her company then replying to them. Worked for me anyway, but I felt for those who didn’t blog and who relied on the Customer Service team in India.

  2. Unfortunately, I’ve found it a real lottery not only with picking the right policy and insurer, but who you speak to when making a claim. I’ve changed my insurer as a result but you can’t really be sure you’ve made the right choice until you claim. I think the only accurate guage is feedback from existing customers which is partly what I based my recent move on. Although, I have read conflicting reviews about most insurers from existing customers, including Hastings Direct here Hope you have better luck.

  3. Driving safely is your concern, and keeping you and your car secure against mishaps is ours. Our motto is to get you the insurance policy that you need at a price that you can afford. For this purpose, we arrange a car insurance quote so that you can select an appropriate insurer. Visit –

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