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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

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  • 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

A guide to home fire safety

When it comes to your home, it's important to take every step to protect you and your loved ones from a fire breaking out.

According to the latest Fire and rescue incident statistics, published by the Home Office, fire and rescue services attended to around 555,759 incidents in the year ending December 2019 – a 4% decrease on the previous year.

The report revealed primary fires to be the most common type of fire, accounting for 44% of all fires attended.

Here's a guide on how you can plan for fires and what to do if one starts in your home. We've also included some tips on preventing fires from starting in the first place.

Your fire escape plan

To help you prepare for a fire, make an escape plan for you and your family. Identify the most practical escape route (usually via the front or back door) and think of a second route as back-up. Try to keep these routes clear at all times.

Run through the plan a couple of times with your family, this is particularly important if you have younger children, as it will help familiarise them with the process. Make sure everyone in the house knows where the keys to all doors and windows are kept, and identify a 'safe spot' outside your house where you can all gather in the event of a fire.

What to do if there's a fire

If a fire breaks out in your home, the main priority's getting everyone out safely. Do not waste time attempting to rescue your possessions.

  • Stay calm, gather your family, and don't attempt to put out the fire yourself.
  • If smoke's filling the room, keep as low as possible where the air will be clearer.
  • If you need to open a door, feel it first. If it's hot, there could be fire on the other side so try another route.
  • Wait until you're safely out of your house before calling 999.

If you're unable to escape from your planned route:

  • Attempt to gather everyone in the same room and phone 999.
  • Line cushions or blankets along the bottom of the door to prevent smoke from pouring in.
  • Open a window and shout for help.
  • If you're on the ground floor you may be able to escape from one of the windows. Always lower yourself down carefully and don't jump.
  • If you're unable to open the window, use a heavy object to smash the glass at the bottom corner, covering any sharp edges with a towel or blanket.
  • If your clothes catch fire, remember the golden rule: stop, drop and roll.
  • If you're escaping from a first-floor room, throw a mattress or some bedding onto the floor to cushion the landing. Again, don't jump, lower yourself from the window ledge instead.

Tips on preventing a fire

Smoke alarms

According to the Government's Fire Safety in the Home report, you're four times more likely to die in a fire if you don't have a smoke alarm that works. An approved smoke alarm should be installed on every level of your home, ideally on the ceiling and in the centre of the room.

Test each alarm at least once a month, pushing the button until the alarm sounds. Batteries should be replaced at least one a year.

In the kitchen

Half of all home fires are a result of cooking accidents, states the fire report. Here are some ways you can prevent a kitchen fire:

  • Don't leave children unattended in the kitchen when using the hob, and make sure matches are stored out of reach.
  • Never cook under the influence of alcohol.
  • Keep tea towels away from the cooker and hob, as they could catch alight.
  • Don't leave the kitchen unattended when cooking on the hob — if you have to, turn the hobs off or down.
  • Be wary of wearing loose clothing while cooking.
  • Keep electrical appliances and their leads away from the sink.
  • Be extra careful when cooking with a deep-fat fryer. Hot oil catches alight easily, if it starts to smoke then it's too hot and must be turned down.

Electricals

Faulty electricals (including appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) are the cause of around 6,000 fires across the country every year. Ways you can avoid electric fires include:

  • Making sure any appliance you buy features a British or European safety mark.
  • Using one plug per socket, wherever possible.
  • Making sure large, high-powered appliances — such as your dishwasher or fridge — have a single plug.
  • Not overloading extension leads, which have amp limits.
  • Unplugging items when not in use.
  • Making sure your furniture contains a fire-resistant label.
  • Keeping portable heaters clear from furniture or curtains, and propping them against a wall to prevent them from tipping over.

Smoking

Someone dies every six days from a fire started by a cigarette, explains the report. Obviously, the key piece of advice here is to not smoke inside of the home. If you do smoke inside of your home, you must:

  • Never smoke in bed, as you could fall asleep with the cigarette still lit.
  • Use a proper ashtray and make sure all cigarettes are completely stubbed out.
  • Store matches and lighters out of reach of children, and/or make sure they're child-resistant.
  • Be particularly careful of smoking in the house if you've been drinking alcohol, or are taking any prescription drugs that make you feel drowsy.

Living in rented accommodation?

If you rent your home, your landlord has a number of fire safety responsibilities. They must:

  • Make sure gas equipment is safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Have an engineer carry out an annual gas safety check on all appliances, and provide you with a copy of the record before you move in, or within 28 days of the inspection.
  • Make sure all electrical systems and appliances are safe.
  • Provide a smoke alarm on each level of your home, along with a carbon monoxide detector in rooms with a useable fireplace or woodburner.
  • Check you can access escape routes at all times.
  • Provide fire alarms and extinguishers if you're living in a large house of multiple occupation (HMO).

Home insurance with Hastings Direct

In the unfortunate event of a house fire, having quality home insurance can help you to recover as quickly as possible.

With a combined buildings and contents policy, the bricks-and-mortar of your home and all your possessions are covered. So in the event of a fire, you're likely to receive financial compensation to replace or repair damage to your home and any belongings. Take a look at our guide to buildings and contents insurance for more information.

If you're after a good deal on your home insurance, get a quote with Hastings Direct today.

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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