Hastings Direct.

Important - Coronavirus update

In line with guidance from the Government and to help look after our colleagues, we now have a limited number of staff in the office. During this time, we're committed to supporting you in the best way we can. We'll be here throughout to keep you updated so make sure to check back regularly.

  • At this time, please help us to prioritise essential calls by using our online services.
    • If you're a car customer you can use MyAccount or the app to make policy changes or payments, including changing your payment date, checking your documents or to report or track a claim (MyAccount only).
    • If you're a home, bike or van customer, or for any customers wishing to cancel their insurance, please use our online forms.
  • If you do phone, we will only be able to deal with your query if:
    • You're in a vulnerable situation or an NHS or frontline health┬ácare worker who can't easily access our online services, or
    • You are worried about making future payments, or
    • Your policy is due to renew in less than a week and you're concerned the policy is no longer suitable for you, or
    • You need to make a claim and your vehicle is un-driveable or if you need urgent roadside assistance.
  • For all other queries, including buying a new policy, please first read our Coronavirus FAQs for the latest advice and how to use our online services.
  • Our opening hours have changed to: Monday to Friday 9am - 6pm, Saturday 10am - 2pm and Sunday Closed. If do you need to call us, please bear with us as it may take us longer to answer your call. We're sorry for any inconvenience this causes you.

Read our Coronavirus FAQs

A first time buyer's guide to spotting damp

For many people, house hunting is an exciting experience. With each property you view, as well as deciding whether or not you can picture yourself living there, you need to be on the lookout for signs that may point to underlying issues that could end up costing a lot of money to put right.

Damp happens when there's an unwanted build-up of moisture or water in the floors, walls or ceilings. It can be off-putting to see, especially if you're a first-time buyer but it's actually quite a common problem, particularly in older buildings. Damp can be caused by:

  • Leaking pipes
  • Porous bricks
  • Damaged or missing roof tiles
  • Moisture from surrounding soil

Not only is damp unsightly in a home, but if left untreated it could impact your health, especially if you suffer from respiratory problems like asthma. The cost of treating damp can run into thousands of pounds, so knowing the tell-tale signs when viewing potential homes is a must. Some things to watch out for include:

  • Mould and mildew on floors, walls and ceilings
  • A damp, musty odour in the rooms
  • Walls and floors that feel very cold or damp to the touch
  • Peeling or lifting wallpaper
  • An excessive build up of condensation on windows
  • Dark or off-colour patches on walls or plaster.

Indicators of rising damp in particular include:

  • Damp and off-colour patches appearing to rise up the wall
  • Damp or rotting skirting boards
  • Flooring (including vinyl, tiles and carpet) that's lifting
  • Staining on the walls
  • A white, salt-like residue on walls.

When viewing a property, don't be afraid to feel the walls and ask to lift up carpets and vinyl, and peer behind big furniture which could be disguising a damp problem. If you spot any signs of damp, it's worth asking if it's an old issue as it could have already been treated.

Getting a survey

When you put an offer down on a property, it's a good idea to get a thorough survey done, as this should flag any damp issues whether you've spotted them or not. It will also let you know about any other issues and rate them by their severity.

It will likely be a condition of your mortgage that a basic survey is carried out, but you can pay for a more in-depth inspection if you have any particular concerns.

Damp is not the be all and end all, and depending on the nature of the issue, it won't always cost lots to put right. That said if you've fallen in love with a property that has damp, you might want to get a couple of experts in to offer advice and quote for treating the issue. Depending on how much it will cost, you could use it as a bargaining tool to negotiate a lower offer.

Home insurance with Hastings Direct

Once you've had an offer accepted on your first home, one of the things you'll need to do is arrange buildings and contents insurance. You can save money by combining the two types of cover into one home insurance policy.

Hastings Direct home insurance features a range of benefits as standard, plus optional extras such as home emergency cover, home key cover and family legal protection. Getting a quote takes just a few minutes.

Home insurance

At Hastings Direct, we know how important your home and its contents are to you. That's why we offer home insurance that covers you for the unexpected expense that theft, loss and damage can bring. Plus you can choose from a great range of optional extras.

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