Hastings Essential car insurance review

Get the facts about no-frills car insurance available through Hastings Essential to see if it's right for you, and compare quotes.

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Hastings Essential

If you don’t want to pay for extras you won’t use, it’s worth looking at the basic cover offered through Hastings Essential. The broker promises to keep costs to a minimum by offering a no frills policy (although you do get cover on trips to EU countries).

Who is Hastings Essential?

Launched in 2008, Hastings Essential is an insurance broker that works with a panel of insurance companies to offer no frills car insurance.

The parent company of Hastings Essential is the Hastings Insurance Group, which also operates Hastings Premier, Hastings Direct, Insure Pink and People’s Choice.

What are Hastings Essential’s levels of cover?

Hastings Essential only offers one level of cover and that is the Hastings Essential comprehensive cover. If you are responsible for causing an accident, you’ll be covered for damage to third party vehicles or property and will have protection against accidental or fire damage to your own car, or loss of it through theft.

What is covered under my Hastings Essential policy?

Optional extras

The Hastings Essential car insurance policy is designed to cover the essentials but it does offer some optional extras. These include:

What is not covered under my Hastings Essential policy?

  • No cover for any damage to your windscreen or windows
  • No cover for you to drive any other vehicles
  • No cover for medical expenses except for emergency treatment
  • No cover for personal belongings
  • No cover for damage or loss to audio visual equipment
  • No cover for damage or loss to other accessories fitted to your car

Check your policy for further details to confirm your cover is valid.

How to save on your car insurance policy through Hastings Essential

  • Check comprehensive. Contrary to what you might expect, comprehensive cover can be cheaper than third party (TP) or third party, fire and theft so it’s always worth checking. This is because of the risk profile of many people who get TP.
  • Park securely. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Reduce mileage. If you start working part-time or your long commute becomes much shorter, letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance.
  • Increase the excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
  • Pick a smaller car. Choosing to drive a small and safe car is likely to lower your premium.

What is my excess?

Your insurance excess is the amount of money you have to pay towards a claim. Your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than this amount. A compulsory excess amount might vary depending on the age of your car and your driving experience.

A voluntary excess is normally an amount set by you when taking out a policy. You’ll have the option of adding or increasing a voluntary excess, which could in turn reduce your premium.

You’ll find details about any compulsory or voluntary excesses in your policy document.

What is the claims process for Hastings Essential?

You should call the Hastings Essential Choice claims line on 0333 321 9800 to register a claim. This is a 24-hour claim line open seven days a week. You’ll need to provide the following when making a claim:

  • Date, time and location of incident
  • Vehicle registration numbers of all vehicles involved
  • Names and contact details of all parties involved
  • Details of loss such as fire, theft or accident
  • Photographic evidence, if available, can be emailed to motorclaims@hastingsdirect.com

It’s vital that you let your insurer know about an incident within 48 hours, even if it’s not your fault. Failure to do this could result in a rejected claim later on.

Pros and cons of Hastings Essential


  • Comprehensive cover as standard
  • 90 day comprehensive cover in Europe as standard
  • Guaranteed courtesy car
  • Optional extras are available to enhance policy
  • 24/7 claims line


  • No windscreen cover
  • No medical expenses cover except for emergency treatment
  • No personal belongings cover
  • Only one policy available

Our verdict

If you want a cheap and cheerful comprehensive car insurance policy, then Hastings Essential can help.

Just keep in mind that the policy is definitely a basic one so you won’t get all the bells and whistles that other comprehensive policies tend to offer. The only other perks are 90 days of comprehensive cover in Europe and a courtesy car if your car is being repaired.

While you will save money by not having to pay for a whole range of benefits that you don’t need, a no frills policy may not be for everyone. If you’re after a little more protection and peace of mind, it’s worth doing some research to find the policies that match your needs. You’ll then be able to compare these to find the best one for you.

Frequently asked questions

The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations), aren't product ratings, although we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it; this is subject to our terms of use. When making a big financial decision, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice, and always consider your own financial circumstances when comparing products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.
*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, www.consumerintelligence.com (Mar ’24). 51% of car insurance customers could save £539.54

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