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

Are you familiar with these new driving rules?

We're settling into 2019 now, so if you're still unclear about the new driving laws coming into effect this year, we're here to make sure you're clued up.

Car driving on a road.

The rules impact drivers young and old, new and experienced. To make sure you don't get caught out, here's a quick recap:

Changes to driving lessons

A new law that came into effect last year means you can now take lessons on a motorway. But you do need to be with an approved instructor in a dual-control car displaying L-plates, as the RAC explains.

Newly-qualified drivers

New drivers who have been behind the wheel for two years or less face stronger penalties for certain driving offences, such as using a mobile phone. If you receive six or more points within the first two years on the road, you'll have your licence revoked and will have to retake both parts of your test.

This year, talks will continue around the introduction of a graduated driving licence for new drivers. This will impose restrictions on new drivers for a set time and, according to the RAC, are likely to include:

  • Curfews – new drivers will be banned from driving during certain times
  • Passengers – there will be limits on how full a new driver's car can be
  • Alcohol – a lower legal threshold for blood readings
  • Speed limits – new drivers will have to travel at slower speeds
  • Engine sizes – the car's power output will be limited
  • P-plates – new drivers will need to display these for two years

A pilot graduated licence scheme is being rolled out in Northern Ireland until 2020. If it's successful, it's more likely it'll be introduced in England.

Overtaking cyclists

Citing the Highway Code, Manchester Evening News explains drivers must leave a decent distance (1.5m) when overtaking a cyclist.

Now, drivers who get too close to cyclists when passing them could be fined £100 and get three penalty points on their licence. Police forces across England are being encouraged to deliver penalties to people driving dangerously close to cyclists.

Smart motorways

As more sections of motorways are upgraded to smart motorways, drivers need to pay attention to the signs overhead – or risk a fine.

If a car's caught in a closed lane, marked by a red 'X' on an automated sign, they could get stung with a £100 penalty. Lanes are usually closed when there's an accident or blockage, to prevent further incidents.

New MOT rules

If you haven't booked an MOT since May 2018, there are some changes you'll need to be aware of. First up, there are new categories for car defects, which are:

  • Dangerous (fail) – direct risk to road safety and/or the environment
  • Major (fail) – could impact safety or environment
  • Minor – not impacting safety, but should be repaired as quickly as possible
  • Advisory – may impact safety in future
  • Pass – meets legal standards

For the first time, MOTs will include under-inflated tyres, contaminated brake fluid, brake pad warning lights, missing brake pads/discs, reversing lights and daytime running lights.

As Gov.UK explains, diesel cars face stricter tests in terms of emissions. This relates to cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), which will fail the test if there's coloured smoke coming from the exhaust or evidence the filter has been tampered with.

Join us...