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Coronavirus update Last updated 9th July 16:00

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In line with guidance from the Government and to help look after our colleagues, 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 we were talking to you from our call centre. We're committed to supporting you in the best way we can and will 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, you can make policy changes or requests using our online forms.

If you do phone, we may only be able to deal with your query 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.

For all other queries, including buying a new policy, please first read our Coronavirus FAQs for the latest advice and help to use our online services.

Our opening hours have changed to: Monday to Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.

Read our Coronavirus FAQs

Hastings Direct.
i

Coronavirus update Last updated 9th July 16:00

Show more

  • We hope you and those close to you are keeping safe. Our teams are now working from home so we're very sorry if you notice the sound quality isn't as good as usual or you experience periods of silence. We're working hard on improving this so please bear with us.
  • Please help us prioritise urgent calls by only phoning us if you want to discuss your renewal or you're thinking of cancelling your insurance, or you're in financial difficulties and you're worried about payments, or you're an NHS or frontline healthcare worker.
  • For anything else, you can now manage your policy online. For latest advice and help to use our online tools, read our Coronavirus FAQs.

In line with guidance from the Government and to help look after our colleagues, 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 we were talking to you from our call centre. We're committed to supporting you in the best way we can and will 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, you can make policy changes or requests using our online forms.

If you do phone, we may only be able to deal with your query 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.

For all other queries, including buying a new policy, please first read our Coronavirus FAQs for the latest advice and help to use our online services.

Our opening hours have changed to: Monday to Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.

Read our Coronavirus FAQs

Can you afford your first home? Beware of the hidden costs

Buying your first home is hugely exciting and it's probably the biggest financial decision you'll ever make. Before you start viewing potential buys, you need to get your head around the costs you'll have to cover once you've had an offer accepted. That way, you can be sure you don't end up buying a house you can't afford.

Stamp duty

Great news: from November 2017, first-time buyers of residential property pay less stamp duty land tax (SDLT), which could otherwise cost thousands, depending on the property's value. As a first-time buyer, you now pay nothing on the first £300,000. And for those lucky people whose first house costs more than that, you'll pay 5% on the amount above £300,000, capped at £500,000.

Mortgage fees

At the risk of stating the obvious, you need a deposit to get a mortgage, usually at least 5% of the property's value. There are other fees too, like a booking fee (around £99-£250), arrangement fee (up to £2,000) and valuation fee (around £150). When shopping around, check the fees that apply for each mortgage, especially early repayment charges, which can be steep.

Legal fees

Your solicitor will do the hard graft and deal with most of the paperwork whilst taking a fee of around £850-£1,500. The sale involves a lot more than just moving money from the buyer to the seller. They can run environmental searches and check if the property is affected by problems like old mining works, or even if there's a duty to pay money to a local church.

Survey

It's likely your mortgage provider will carry out a basic survey on the property and confirm its value. You might want to pay around £600 for a surveyor to conduct a more thorough one. If they flag any issues, you could use this as a bargaining tool and negotiate on the purchase price. If anything, paying for a more in-depth survey gives you the chance to find out about problems that could cost you more further down the line.

Renovations

As well as finding the cash to decorate your new home, you might need money for less glamorous reasons like new plumbing or wiring. Costs vary widely and will depend on the issue and type of property, so get an estimate before buying to help you budget. You should also check if your home is a listed building as this can affect the type of renovations or changes you're allowed to make.

Insurance

Mortgage providers insist you take out insurance on the property to protect their investment, and you're going to want to insure your contents, too. This will protect your belongings in the event of theft or damage by an incident such as a fire or flood.

Furnishings

Finally, don't forget to put some cash aside to buy furniture and items such as a bed, sofa, table and chairs. Even if you don't have expensive taste, furnishing a home isn't cheap – even small things like towels and bedding can soon add up.

These costs shouldn't put you off buying your first home, but it's a good idea to have them in mind before hitting the viewings circuit. Good luck in finding a home that's just right for you!

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.

Join us...