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Hastings Direct.

Coronavirus FAQs

These FAQs will help answer some of the questions or concerns you may have about how the Coronavirus might affect your insurance. We'll keep updating them as the situation develops, so make sure to check here for the latest advice before calling, particularly if you're worried about your ability to pay or you want to make updates to your policy due to Coronavirus.

Choose your category to find out more information

General

Can I still call and, if so, what are your opening hours?

Most of our team are now working from home and are taking calls. However, waiting times are longer than normal and the quality of the call may not be as clear as if they were talking to you from our call centre.

We still need your help to prioritise the most important calls, so please only call us if:

  • Your policy is due to renew and you're concerned it's no longer suitable for you or you're thinking of cancelling your insurance, or
  • You are worried about making future payments, or
  • You're in a vulnerable situation or an NHS or frontline health care worker who can't easily access our online services, or
  • You need to make a claim and your vehicle is un-driveable or if you need urgent roadside assistance.

If you are calling, our opening hours have temporarily changed to Monday to Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday 9am-1pm and Sunday 10am–2pm. We're very sorry if it takes you longer to get through, we'll be with you as soon as we can.

If you need to contact us for any other reason, we're sorry if we can't help you over the phone. However, you can still use our online services to manage your policy or to get in touch.

Do I need to tell you if I get Coronavirus?

No, but you should keep up-to-date with the Government's advice and make sure you're doing everything you can to stay safe.

I need to change my policy. How do I do that?

You may be using your vehicle or home differently because of the Coronavirus. To support you through this time we have made some adjustments:

  • You might not need to tell us. We've temporarily lifted restrictions for some Coronavirus-related policy changes. Have a look at the other Coronavirus FAQs to see if your change is covered.
  • You won't need to pay a fee to make your change. If you want to add or remove drivers, change your occupation, change your mileage, or tell us about a change of use, we've temporarily removed these charges. The cost of your insurance may still change as a result of the change you're making.

If you do need to make a change to your policy you can do this online:

  • If you have a car policy, you can make changes in the app or MyAccount
  • If you have a home, bike or van policy, or you don't have MyAccount, you can use our online form. It may take us a little longer than usual to get back to you so please bear with us, we'll be in touch with next steps as soon as we can.

If we haven't covered your Coronavirus-related change in these FAQs or you can't find help online, please use our online form and select the option 'Something else'. You can then let us know what you want to do using the free text box and we'll come back to you as soon as possible.

Remember to review your policy coverage again once you go back to driving normally as otherwise you may not be fully covered.

How do I renew my policy if I can't get through on the phone?

We're prioritising calls from our renewing customers, but if you're finding it hard to get through, we're very sorry. Please bear with us and we'll get to you as soon as we can.

Most of our policies will renew automatically on their renewal date, so your cover will continue for another year. This will be clearly stated on your policy documents.

If you don't want to renew, you also have a cooling off period to cancel your policy without charge. To give you more time, we've temporarily extended this to 30 days from your renewal date.

If your policy doesn't automatically renew, you can accept your car renewal in MyAccount, or if you have a home, bike or van policy please use our online form to let us know you want to renew.

I'm an NHS or frontline healthcare worker, has my complimentary RAC cover ended?

Yes, your complimentary cover ran from 1st April until 30th June 2020.

Payments & cancellations

I'm worried I might not be able to pay for my insurance, what should I do?

We'll do everything we can to support you if you've been affected by the Coronavirus – either financially or otherwise, so please contact us as soon as possible if you're worried. All conversations are confidential and, if it's easier, we can talk to a relative, friend or debt counselling organisation about your account – we'll just need your authorisation to do this.

Please don't cancel any payments or direct debits without speaking to us first. Missing payments means you run the risk of your policy being cancelled and we don't want you to be left uninsured.

We have a number of options to help you. We can look at things like:

  1. Your level of cover – changing your mileage, occupation, how you use your vehicle or the level of cover you have for your home can sometimes bring your price down. For car policies, you can make these changes yourself in the app or MyAccount. If you have a home, bike or van policy, or you don't have MyAccount, you can use our online form.
  2. Removing additional products – by removing extra cover you may not currently need, such as breakdown or key cover, you could reduce your price.
  3. Changing payment dates – if it will help, we can change the date your direct debit comes out.
  4. Delaying a monthly payment – you may be eligible to defer one or more of your monthly payments. When you do start paying again, your delayed payment will be spread over your remaining direct debits and you won't be charged any additional fees or interest on this payment.

If you'd like to talk to us about any of these options, please start a webchat or call us on 0333 999 8358, Monday - Friday 9am–5pm, as soon as possible.

To help you further, you won't be charged a fee to make certain changes to your policy, amend your payment dates or if you decide you need to cancel.

You can find lots more impartial advice online with Money Advice Service, National Debtline, StepChange Debt Charity and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

If I have to self-isolate for months can I suspend my cover, or get a refund on my insurance?

Unfortunately, you can't suspend an insurance policy but you can cancel it (see below for how to do this). If you decide you want to cancel outside of your cooling off period, you'll be charged for the length of time you were insured for, plus any applicable fees. If you haven't made a claim during your policy, any money owed to you will then be refunded.

Remember, it's a legal requirement to have insurance (unless you declare your vehicle as SORN). Even if you aren't driving your car it is important to protect against other events such as fire and theft, and some mortgage companies stipulate you must have your home insured. If you keep your policy you'll also be able to earn this year's no claims discount.

You may be able to get a refund by reducing the mileage your policy was based on. Have a look at I'm driving less. Can I get a refund?

How do I cancel my policy if I can't get through on the phone?

Unfortunately you can't cancel your policy online, so you will need to speak to us. Please bear with us if you can't get through, most of our team are now working from home but waiting times are longer than normal. We'll get to you as soon as we can.

Car, Bike & Van insurance

I'm driving less. Can I get a refund?

If you have a car policy and your annual mileage is going to be lower than usual, you can easily reduce it in the app or in MyAccount by selecting 'Manage my vehicle' and then 'Edit my current vehicle'. If you're in the last month of your policy and wish to make a significant change please call us on 0333 321 9801, Monday – Friday 9am–6pm.

If you have a bike or van policy you can use our online form to do this. Select 'Something else' under 'What changes do you want to make' and let us know you want to reduce your mileage and by how much in the free text box.

You won't be charged a fee to change your mileage and it could reduce your premium. The size of any decrease will depend on many factors and will vary from policy to policy.

Don't worry if you're not sure how much to reduce your mileage by. You can change it now and change it again once the situation is clearer.

Make sure you remember to review your mileage once you go back to driving normally, otherwise you may not be fully covered.

Due to Coronavirus, I'm using my vehicle differently. Do I need to let you know?

Thank you for all you're doing at this time. We've temporarily changed our policies for the duration of the outbreak so you don't need to contact us if:

  • You're a key worker and you need to use your vehicle to get to different places for work
  • You now have to drive to work instead of using public transport
  • You're helping as a volunteer delivering goods like shopping and medicine.

If you're using your vehicle for any kind of paid delivery work you'll need to make changes to your policy (see temporary working question).

I'm temporarily working as a delivery driver during the Coronavirus outbreak. Will my existing policy cover me?

No, you won't be covered to use your vehicle to deliver parcels or fast food if you're being paid to do so. If you need to change the use of your vehicle to cover you for either of these reasons, please use our online form to let us know. Simply select the option 'Something else' and tell us what you need to use your vehicle for.

If I have breakdown cover on my policy, will I still be recovered if I break down?

Yes, you'll still be recovered to the best of the RAC's ability. You can check their website for updates, or call them on 0333 321 9818.

If I have Coronavirus can someone else drive my car to get me to hospital?

Yes, if they're a named driver on your policy or they're covered for driving other cars by their insurance policy. They'll need to check their insurance certificate to see if they have this and they may only be covered on a third party basis.

If you'd like to add someone as a named driver, you can do this online. We've temporarily removed the amendment fee to add a driver, but the price of your policy may change.

  • If you have a car policy, you can add a driver in MyAccount or the app
  • If you have a bike or van policy, go to the online form and select 'add a driver'

Should I declare my vehicle SORN if I am unable to drive for a period of time?

You should only declare your vehicle SORN if you cancel your policy and your vehicle's left uninsured. Please be aware that, if you do SORN your vehicle, you won't be able to leave it parked on the road.

It is important to protect your car against other events such as fire and theft even if you aren't driving it.

You can check Gov.uk for more information about this.

Am I covered if I'm abroad and can't get home, taking me over 90 days away?

The Foreign Office are advising against all non-essential travel overseas, so if you need to go abroad you must check their advice page before leaving. You'll also find the latest guidance on what to do if you're already abroad during this pandemic.

If you're overseas with your vehicle for longer than 90 days, your insurance will be reduced to third party cover only. Please get in touch if this happens, so we can make sure you've got the cover or help you need.

If I can't get my vehicle MOT'd because garages are closed, is my insurance still valid?

The government announced that any vehicle due to have an MOT from Monday 30th March to the 1st August won't need to be tested for a further six months, so your insurance will continue to be valid and if you need to make a claim your vehicle will be treated as if it has a valid MOT.

However, it's your responsibility to keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition. For example, tyres need to be above minimum tread depth and brakes and lights should be working. If you know your vehicle's likely to have failed its MOT, you shouldn't be driving it.

Any vehicle due an MOT from the 1st August should have a valid MOT as normal.

You can find more information at Coronavirus: MOTs due from 30 March 2020.

I've been asked to send you my proof of no claims discount. I can't get this to you right now, what will happen?

If you're struggling to send this into us, please email us at policyinfo@hastingsdirect.com with your policy number and the best number for us to contact you on, so we can help.

Home insurance

Will my home insurance be affected if I haven't told you I'm working from home?

Not in most cases, as long as you're an employee.

But if there's an increase of visitors or business stock to your home, or you own your own company and are now having to run your own business from home, please contact us using our online form to let us know. We can then make sure you have the right cover in place.

Will my home insurance cover the cost of a deep clean to my property if I get Coronavirus?

No, we're sorry but this won't be covered by your home insurance.

My property has suffered fire/flood damage and is uninhabitable. I am self-isolating – will you help me find alternative accommodation?

Yes, you'll need to speak to your insurer's claims department. You can find their details in your policy documents.

If my home's unoccupied during the Coronavirus, will my cover continue?

Normally your home can be left unoccupied for up to 30 days with full cover. However, if the Coronavirus means you're self-isolating away from home, you're stuck abroad or you're in hospital, we'll make sure your cover continues for up to 12 weeks. If it's likely you'll be away for longer than 12 weeks, please let us know using our online form. Simply select 'Something Else' from the options listed and use the free text box to tell us how long you think you'll be away for and the reason for this.

If at all possible, there are some actions that may help to protect your home if you know it's going to be left unoccupied:

  • Ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on the property
  • Make sure windows and doors are locked (with keys removed) and the alarm set
  • Switch off and unplug electrical items
  • Turn off the gas at the mains, unless it's required for an automatically controlled heating system
  • Turn off the water at the mains and drain the system (unless water's required for an automatically controlled heating system)

Is my work equipment covered by my home insurance?

If your employer has provided you with equipment for work purposes (for example a laptop), this will usually be covered by their business insurance so you won't need to add it your policy.

Because of Coronavirus I'm home a lot more than usual. Should I tell you?

No, your home insurance policy will still cover you as before, regardless of how long you're in your home for.

Claims

We're very sorry if you're finding it hard to get through to us. We'll be with you as soon as we can or, if you don't want to wait, you can talk to us online.

How do I make a claim if I can't get through?

Sorry you've been involved in an accident and you're struggling to get through.

If you have a car policy, you can report your claim online in a few simple steps. Just log in to MyAccount or go to the claims section of our website.

For all other policies or if you need to speak to someone, please bear with us if there's a delay in getting through. We're doing all we can to answer calls as quickly as possible.

How can I check progress with my claim if I can't get through?

If you have a car policy, you can track the progress of your repair in MyAccount. You can also contact your repairer for the very latest information.

If you've been told your claim's being handled as a total loss or you're waiting to find out how your claim's being closed, we'll be in touch with an update or to discuss the valuation as soon as we're able to do so. We'll also be in touch as soon as we can if you've had an accident with one of our customers and we're dealing with your claim directly.

Will I still get a courtesy car?

Yes, you'll get a courtesy car while your vehicle's being repaired using one of our nominated repairers. However, it may take slightly longer than normal for your car to be delivered as it will be prepared and cleaned before we give it to you.

Will I have to give the courtesy car back if my repair takes longer than planned?

No, you're entitled to a courtesy car for the duration of the repair.

However, if your vehicle's found to be uneconomical to repair, you claim will be settled as a total loss and we'll be in touch to discuss the valuation as soon as we're able to do so. In this instance, you'll need to return the courtesy car as stated in the terms of your policy.

Will my claim take longer to be settled and will it take longer to get a pay out?

We've taken measures to make sure this doesn't happen and are working with our suppliers to keep any disruption to a minimum. Our repairers will keep you updated if there's anything relating to your individual repair, such as a delay to sourcing parts if they are coming from overseas.

If you've been told your claim's being handled as a total loss, your claim will continue to be actioned and we'll be in touch to discuss the valuation as soon as we're able to do so.

I've been sent court documents in relation to my claim, what should I do?

Please don't worry, it's not unusual for court documents to be sent to you.

All you need to do is scan or photograph each page of the document and email it to us at litigation@hastingsdirect.com, making sure you put your claim reference number in the subject line. We'll review it as soon as we get it and be in touch to explain the next steps.

I'm not insured with Hastings Direct, but you're repairing my car. Will this continue?

Yes, we'll continue to repair your car and provide you with a hire car if you need one.

Hastings Direct & Coronavirus

What are you doing to prevent the spread of Coronavirus?

We're committed to minimising any impact for you and keeping our employees safe. Having valid motor insurance is a legal requirement and we have a duty of care to keep you on the road. It's really important we keep working so we're here for you when you need us and can support you as quickly as possible during this time. However, you could experience longer call waiting times or delays to your claim or repairs - we're very sorry about this.

During these times, please use our online services to help us prioritise urgent calls.

Are all your employees working from home?

The safety of our employees is a top priority and we're taking it very seriously. Almost all of our employees are now working from home with the technical capabilities put in place to ensure they have all the equipment they need to carry out their role.

Additionally we have put a £100,000 colleague hardship fund in place to support colleagues whose households have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

We're extremely proud of our whole team for the incredible work they're doing to support our customers at this difficult time.

What are you doing to support the local community?

We've stepped up our efforts in supporting vulnerable people in our community and have launched a £200,000 Covid-19 community grant scheme in our Bexhill and Leicester office areas.

We've donated £10,000 to support two local charities, Dom's Food Mission in the Hastings and Bexhill area and Open Hands, Leicester. They're providing essential food services in our local communities and urgently need help.

We've also made a further £190,000 available for any other local charities helping to support our communities with Coronavirus-related projects and schemes. To date we have supported foodbanks, refuges and NHS services as well as many community groups working hard to support our local areas at this time.

If you're a local charity (within a 20 mile radius of our sites) you can apply for a grant by emailing community@hastingsdirect.com.

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