Thanks to its original red telephone on wheels mascot and memorable TV adverts, Direct Line has become a household name in UK insurance. If you’ve heard the name and want to know if Direct Line Insurance is the right provider for you, you’ve come to the right place. Providing home, car, travel and pet insurance, the company can help you protect all the things you cherish. Read on to learn all about the Direct Line group, insurance policies, reviews and even the Direct Line login process.
Direct Line: the facts and figures
Before talking about the actual insurance policies Direct Line sells, we want to give you a bit of a company profile. From the history of Direct Line and its parent company to its finances and the famous Direct Line adverts, it’s always useful to know a bit about a provider when comparing insurance policies.
History of Direct Line
Direct Line is a fairly new insurance company when compared to other providers operating in the UK market. Founded as recently as 1984, it has made great headways to become one of the UK’s most established and well-known insurance brands.
We can actually thank Direct Line for the ease in which we purchase insurance policies today. Created to cut out the middleman (the insurance broker), it was the first UK provider to use computer technology to underwrite insurance policies and sell them directly to the public. Not only was this the stepping stone that changed the way we bought insurance, it also made policies cheaper by reducing operating costs. So thank you Direct Line!
Originally a car insurer, by 1988 it also offered home insurance, selling 80,000 policies in its first year. Soon it added pet, travel insurance and breakdown cover to its range of products. After just eight years of being in business, it had one million customers.
As of 2019, the insurer sells car, breakdown, home, pet and travel insurance all online or over the phone. Through its subsidiary set up in 2017, Direct Line for Business, it provides a range of business products, such as landlord and van insurance, to commercial customers. It also offers non-general insurance, such as personal loans, mortgages, pensions and life insurance, via Direct Line Financial Services.
Who set up Direct Line Insurance?
Direct Line was created by two friends, Martin Long (the same guy who founded Churchill Insurance) and Peter Wood. In order to finance the company they successfully secured £20 million of initial funding from the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS).
Timeline of Direct Line
- 1984 - Direct Line is founded as a car insurer with funding from RBS.
- 1985 - It sells its first insurance policy directly to the public.
- 1988 - The company starts to sell home insurance.
- 1990 - It launches its now famous logo: the red telephone on wheels.
- 1991 - Its purpose built head office in Croydon is opened. Over the next few years, regional offices open in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds.
- 1996 - Direct Line starts to sell travel insurance.
- 1997 - Pet insurance is added to the company’s insurance products.
- 1998 - It begins to offer breakdown cover.
- 1999 - The insurer goes online with its website directline.com.
- 2001 - It’s the first provider in the UK to develop a claims register and introduce a tracking service for its car insurance customers.
- 2003 - Direct Line launches its Home Response 24 Hour Emergency service and becomes part of RBS Insurance.
- 2012 - Direct Line Insurance Group is created from the insurance arm of RBS and becomes the new parent company of Direct Line.
Direct Line is responsible for a lot of firsts in the UK. As well as being the first company to sell insurance directly to the public, it was also the first to open its offices in the evenings and during the weekends. On top of these, it was the first provider to operate a 24 hour phone service.
Direct Line share price and finances
The owner of Direct Line, Direct Line Insurance Group, has been trading on the London Stock Exchange since 2012. Like all companies, the Direct Line share price fluctuates over time. To see the up-to-date price, as well as graphs representing how it has changed over time (from a few months up to three years) visit the Direct Line Insurance Group’s official website.
Direct Line’s finances are also recorded as part of Direct Line Insurance Group’s annual results. In 2018, the group reported a before tax profit of £582.6 million. You can find all of the group’s financial reports on its website under Investors, Financial Performance, and Results and Reports.
What is the Direct Line Group?
As previously mentioned, Direct Line Insurance Group is the parent company of Direct Line. It is one of the UK’s largest home and motor insurance providers, owning a number of well-known insurance brands:
- Direct Line
- Direct Line for Business
- Churchill Insurance
- Green Flag
- DLG partnerships
- DlG Auto Services
The company was only created in 2012. Following the government bailout of RBS during the 2008 financial crisis, RBS was forced to sell some of its assets. One of these assets was its insurance department, which resulted in the formation of the brand new Direct Line Insurance Group.
Direct Line advert
One of the reasons Direct Line has been so lucrative is thanks to its successful marketing and advertising campaigns. Alongside its famous red telephone on wheels logo, the Direct Line advert is known by all Brits.
The new adverts were launched in 2014 when Direct Line started working with Hollywood company Saatchi and Saatchi. Featuring actor Henry Keitel as mafia-style fixer Winston Wolfe, the principal message is that Direct Line gets things fixed quickly, allowing its customers to quickly get on with their lives when things go wrong.
Direct Line jobs
Direct Line jobs are offered through Direct Line Insurance Group. As a big company, there is the option to work in a number of areas, including administration, marketing, IT and underwriting, or in one of its many contact centres. The company also offers a graduate scheme for recent university graduates and apprenticeships to school leavers.
If you are interested in a Direct Line job, keep an eye on the current vacancies advertised on the Direct Line Insurance Group website.
Direct Line Insurance: home, car, travel & pet
As we’ve already mentioned, Direct Line offers a wide range of insurance products to customers. Here we are going to give an overview of its general insurance policies: home, car, travel and pet insurance.
Direct Line offers three different levels of cover when it comes to home insurance:
- Home Insurance
- Home Insurance Plus
- Select Premier
The Home Insurance policy is the most basic type of cover the provider sells. Home Insurance Plus has higher claim limits and offers extensive cover, such as accidental damage and home emergency cover, as standard.
The Select Premier policy works slightly differently. As well as providing the highest level of home insurance protection out of the three options, it also lets you put all of your Direct Line insurance products on one policy. For example, if you purchase Direct Line home, car and travel insurance, with the Select Premier policy you can pay for all policies with one payment and have one single renewal date for all three as well!
Landlord insurance is also available through Direct Line for Business. This includes a multi-property discount for those who rent more than one property.
For a more in depth look at Direct Line’s home insurance policies, give the Selectra Direct Line home insurance guide (coming soon) a read.
Confused by some of the home insurance terms featured on companies’ website? We’ve got you covered with our handy home insurance jargon busting guide.
Like most providers, Direct Line sells both Third Party Fire and Theft and Comprehensive car insurance. Its comprehensive policy includes an uninsured driver promise, a courtesy car guarantee, cover for in-car equipment and a guarantee for repair work for five years.
As well as these two policies, the insurer sells both multicar insurance and cover for young drivers:
- Multicar insurance - Direct Line’s multicar cover allows you to insure up to ten cars on one policy, offering a discount for every car that is added.
- Black box insurance - this is the provider’s young driver’s insurance. Suitable for drivers under the age of 25, a black box is installed in your car to keep track of your driving. Good driving is then rewarded with a discount on your renewal quote.
Direct Line for Business also sells Comprehensive and Third Party Fire and Theft van insurance.
Direct Line’s breakdown cover is provided by its sister company Green Flag. With five different levels of cover to choose from (Rescue, Rescue Plus, Recovery, Recovery Plus, Euro Plus), you can be insured for as little as roadside assistance, to complete cover for the UK and EU.
If you are interested in any of the car insurance policies or breakdown cover offered by Direct Line, head to our guide on Direct Line car insurance (coming soon) for more policy information and a detailed price comparison.
When it comes to travel insurance, Direct Line has three options for you:
- Annual multi-trip cover - valid for one year, this covers you for multiple holidays (lasting a maximum of 42 days each) anywhere in the world.
- Single trip cover - again sold as worldwide travel insurance, this is designed to protect you for just one holiday that does not exceed 90 days.
- Backpackers insurance - if you are planning a holiday that’s longer than three months (lucky you!), Direct Line’s backpackers insurance will cover you for up to 18 months abroad.
All three options include cover for medical expenses up to £10 million, up to £5,000 for cancellations and access to a 24/7 emergency helpline. Discover more about all the policies in our Direct Line travel insurance guide (coming soon).
Direct Line can also cover your pet with its two pet insurance policies. The Essential policy covers the cost of vet bills up to £4,000 (limited to 12 months per condition), while the Advanced policy doubles this, covering the cost of vet fees up to £8,000 (for an unlimited amount of time).
Both policies come with a range of optional extras, such as overseas cover and third party liability for dogs.
Direct Line login
There is good and bad news when it comes to the Direct Line online account system. The good news: there is an online account service for all insurance customers. The bad news: depending on the insurance policy, you might only be able to retrieve a quote through your account.
To log in to your account, click the button below to be taken to the Direct Line login page.
What can you do on your Direct Line account?
In terms of access, you can either retrieve a quote, view your policy and/or renew your policy via your Direct Line My Account. In the table below we have listed the options depending on your insurance policy.
|Direct Line insurance policy||Retrieve a quote||View policy||Renew policy|
|Select Premier policy||
For car and home insurance, you can renew your policies online without logging in to your account. For car insurance, you can also make a lot of changes to your policy (such as change your car or add a driver) all online without needing to log in. Find out how to do this in our Direct Line home insurance and car insurance guides.
To make changes to most Direct Line insurance policies, you need to give Direct Line a call. You can find a list of all of the numbers you need in Selectra’s Direct Line contact page (coming soon).
Direct Line reviews and verdict
Thanks to the internet and online reviews, it’s now really easy to see what previous and current customers think of a company. These reviews can come in handy when deciding if an insurance provider is a good choice, so let’s take a look at some Direct Line reviews.
On Trustpilot, Direct Line is rated as ‘great’ with 3.9/5 stars. Out of 1,997 reviews, 45% rate the provider as excellent and 11% rate it as good, praising the insurer’s customer service and quick and simple policy purchasing process. Many also noted its competitive pricing.
Cheap price, great cover and first class service. David
Despite these good reviews, 39% of comments left on Trustpilot rate Direct Line as ‘bad’. These primarily focus on the provider having a poor and slow claims handling process. Out of 1,997 reviews, 39% is more than a handful suggesting this complaint is something to take seriously.
Worst claims service I have ever dealt with! We are currently trying to get out bathroom repaired and so fair it’s been 5 weeks. Anonymous customer
On Reevo, 99% of 1,332 reviewers state that they would buy a Direct Line insurance policy again. Praise on this site echoes that on Trustpilot, with customers being pleased with the straightforward buying process.
While there are not many reviews on Reevo that share the poor claims handling recorded on Trustpilot, it must be noted that Direct Line work with Reevo, encouraging customers to leave reviews here. As such, there is a general trend for customers to leave reviews here when they first take the policy out, and therefore before they have needed to deal with the claims process.
Like customer reviews, a provider’s complaints data is another tool we can use to see if it will offer you a decent level of customer service.
Unfortunately for Direct Line, individual complaints data does not exist as its parent company Direct Line Insurance Group publishes all of its subsidiaries' complaints data as one. However, while we can’t see Direct Line specific data, we can draw a few general conclusions from the group’s.
From January to June 2019, Direct Line Insurance Group received 3.13 complaints for every 1,000 policies in force. Not bad considering how many companies it has, this is middle-of-the-road when compared to other providers, implying Direct Line receives a fairly average amount of complaints.
Out of these complaints, the group as a whole resolved 65% of complaints within three working days, which is one of the top figures we’ve seen compared to other providers’ data for a six month window. This suggests that Direct Line (along with the other subsidiaries) is fairly efficient when it comes to solving complaints.
Selectra’s verdict: pros and cons
|Easy to get a quote and buy a policy.||Reports of poor claims handling.|
|Wide range of policies with optional extras to choose from.||Online account system is limited.|
Data and information correct as of October 2019.
All material on this page and the selectra.co.uk website is for information purposes only and does not constitute any form of financial advice. Selectra.co.uk is not responsible for any consequences that might arise from your use of the information provided.