i

Coronavirus update Last updated 9th July 16:00

Show more

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

Home improvements that can add value to your property

From new kitchens to extensions and loft conversions, home improvements help create a more comfortable and enjoyable space for you and your family. Undertaking certain projects can also help to boost the value of your home, which is ideal if you're thinking of putting it on the market.

Certain modifications can add significant value to your home; but before throwing your money at large-scale projects, you need to be sure you'll see a good return on your investment. You don't want to waste money or time carrying out unnecessary work.

So, what additions to your home are most likely to boost your its value and make you a profit? Let's take a look:

Loft conversion

Converting your loft's one of the simplest ways to add a bedroom and bathroom to your home, and can significantly increase its market value. It requires a substantial investment, though: according to Home Building, the average cost of a loft conversion starts at £20,000 but The Guardian reports a loft conversion can increase the value of a property by around 22%. This may also require planning permission or be subject to building regulations.

Did you know?

  • 59% of homeowners would rather do up their current home rather than move
  • 31% would rather stay where they are because of rising house prices
  • 31% would be more likely to consider moving if stamp duty was cut.

Source: www.comparethemarket.com

Conservatory

In a Telegraph article, property expert Phil Spencer writes extending living space is always a good idea, even if it means you lose some of your garden. The cost of a conservatory can range anywhere from £5,000 to £30,000, but could add around 7% to the value of your home. Phil says "Make sure the conservatory matches the style of the rest of the house, [and don't] make it seem as if it's in any way separate."

A new kitchen

If you focus on updating one room in your home, make it the kitchen (if it needs modernising). According to data from Which?, a new kitchen costs an average of £8,000, but could end up adding around 6% to the value of your home. Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, told the Telegraph: "When searching for a new home to buy, house-hunters are usually looking for a useable space, an open plan kitchen and dining room is becoming a must."

An extension

It may be a big investment, but adding an extension onto your home is almost guaranteed to boost its value. Some extensions require planning permission, so you need to familiarise yourself with the rules surrounding this first. A This is Money article explains extensions cost an average of £19,750, but can generate £14,000 profit.

Second bathroom

If you've got the space, creating an extra bathroom can increase your home's value by around 5%, explains the Telegraph. En-suites, which can cost anywhere from £2,500 to over £6,000, are in-demand as homeowners seek simplicity and comfort. You needn't fit a high-spec suite to see favourable returns; the article recommends opting for affordable quality as opposed to all-out luxury.

Get rid of the garage

Around 90% of garages in Britain don't contain a car, making them a "wasted asset," writes Phil Spencer. Transforming your garage into additional living space costs an estimated £10,000. To calculate the value added, multiply square footage by local price per square foot.

Pave over the front garden

This one's only suitable for homes located in areas where parking is at a premium — i.e. if you live out in the countryside, it's probably best to keep your front garden. But if you live in a city, you could add a staggering £50,000 to the value of your home for an initial investment of £10,000-£20,000. Again, you may need planning permission to convert your front garden, so do your research first.

Last-minute touches

Don't have the time carry out major home improvements? Simply making small changes to your home can help it to achieve the maximum value when it goes on the market. These tweaks include:

  • Applying a fresh lick of neutral paint on the walls
  • De-cluttering and depersonalising ahead of viewings
  • Making sure the front garden's tidy — weeding flower beds and trimming back bushes
  • Bringing the outdoors in by placing potted plants and flowers around the house.

Insurance implications

If you're thinking of carrying out any major home improvements, certain changes can have an effect on your home insurance premium, so make sure you notify your provider first.

Speaking of home insurance, why not see if you can get a better deal by switching to a Hastings Direct combined buildings and contents policy? Choose us, and you'll get to enjoy a whole host of benefits, such as:

  • New for old cover on contents (excluding linens and clothing)
  • £1,000,000 of buildings insurance
  • £75,000 of contents insurance (can be increased up to £150,000)
  • 24-hour UK claims helpline.

If you want to find out more, give us a call today on 0333 321 9829. Or, get an online quote now!

All information is correct at time of publication. Hastings Direct cannot be held responsible for any misinformation displayed.

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...