Hastings Direct.

Important - Coronavirus update

In line with advice from the Government and the FCA, we now have a limited number of staff in the office and are working hard to enable more employees to work from home. 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.

  • To help us prioritise urgent calls, please use our online services to manage your policy where you can. Please only call us in exceptional circumstances, as otherwise we may not be able to help you at this time.
  • If you have a car policy, you can change your address or vehicle, add or remove drivers, or make payments in MyAccount or the app.
  • You can also report a new car claim or get an update on your car's repair in MyAccount.
  • If you're worried about financial difficulties or you're using your insured vehicle or home differently because of Coronavirus and you want to update your policy, please read our Coronavirus FAQs about what to do next.
  • Our opening hours have changed to: Monday to Friday 9am - 6pm, Saturday 10am - 2pm and Sunday Closed.
  • If you do 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

Who's responsible for drain repairs?

Many of our homes are connected by a system of drains and sewers. When these pipes get blocked, the issue needs to be sorted as soon as possible to prevent smells, leaks or even flooding.

But if a drain gets blocked, what should you do and who has to pay for it?

Is it a drain or a sewer?

The water that flushes out of your toilet or down your sink goes into a 'private drain,' which is the responsibility of the property owner (whether that's you or your landlord). When the drain leaves your home and passes under a road or pavement, it's called a 'lateral drain.'

When waste from more than one property meet, this pipe is known as a sewer. In most cases these sewers are public – meaning, they're the local water company's responsibility. A change in the law in October 2011 transferred many sewers and lateral drains into public ownership, so if you've dealt with sewer issues in the past it's worth checking whether ownership has changed.

Who pays for drain repairs?

If a blockage is in a drain on your own property, it's your duty to clear it or pay a private contractor to do it for you. Lifting the drain inspection chamber should help you check if there's a blockage on your property.

If you're not sure where the blockage is, contact your local Environmental Health Officer (EHO) who'll be able to inspect the property, help identify the problem and suggest next steps. Ask your neighbours if they've experienced any problems – this will help you get a fuller picture.

If the blockage appears to be in the sewer, you'll need to contact the local water authority, who are responsible for maintaining, cleaning and unblocking sewers. They should be able to resolve the problem.

If your sewer is one of the few remaining shared private sewers, you'll need to share the cost of clearing a blockage with your neighbours. Your EHO will help with any potential disputes but be warned: they might charge a fee for their service.

Preventing blockages

We'd all rather not think about blocked drains and sewers, but around three quarters of blockages are caused by people flushing away things that don't belong in drains or sewers in the first place. This includes nappies, sanitary towels, plastic bags, cooking fat, plaster and cement, condoms, waste food, paint, cleaning wipes, clothing and cat litter.

Think twice before putting these items down a sink or toilet. They can snag on pipes and cause stubborn blockages that need to be dug out to clear them, causing much more disruption than taking a few steps to the bin in the first place.

If you do experience a drain blockage, get it sorted as quickly as possible. Delay is likely to only cause a stink!

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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