Many or all of the products and brands we review are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and the product we choose in our ‘promotion’. However it doesn’t influence our reviews. Our opinions are our own.
Direct Line business insurance: at a glance
You’re probably familiar with Direct Line offerings for general insurance, such as car and home. But this large UK insurer, established in 1985, provides business insurance too.
Its business protection is built to suit a large range of professions – from photographers to retail – and businesses of all sizes, from contractors to start ups.
There is some flexibility, as you can build the type of cover your business needs and leave out what it doesn’t. Although you’ll find this approach with most providers.
Learn more about how we bring you our review.
Direct Line business insurance pros and cons
- You can save and retrieve quotes and manage your policy online.
- There is phone support for policy management and a virtual assistant.
- You can make a claim by phone.
- You can shop by specific industry, with optional add-ons for typical risks.
- You can pay your premium annually or in monthly instalments.
- You can’t call customer services after 6pm on weekdays or 3pm on Saturdays, or on Sundays.
These pros and cons are based on a survey of UK business owners on what they found important when selecting a range of business products, conducted by NerdWallet in December 2022.
Direct Line business insurance key features
- Extensive range of cover types available
- No admin fees for policy changes
- Online policy management and claims
Direct Line business insurance full review
Direct Line offers an extensive range of business insurance, ranging from core cover, including public liability insurance, to more specialist insurance, such as cyber insurance.
Find out more about Direct Line business insurance – including how it measures up to the key priorities of business owners, according to our NerdWallet survey.
What types of business insurance does Direct Line offer?
Direct Line offers a range of standard business cover as well as more specialist cover:
- Public liability insurance (up to £10 million): This covers legal fees and compensation costs if a member of the public is injured or their property is lost or damaged and your business is at fault.
- Employers’ liability insurance (£10 million): This covers legal and compensation costs if a permanent or temporary employee gets injured or is ill due to their work.You can add cover for death as an optional extra.
- Professional indemnity insurance (£100,000 to £5 million): This is protection for legal and compensation costs if you or your business make a mistake, are negligent, or offer advice that costs your client money or damages their reputation.
- Product liability insurance (up to £10 million): This covers legal fees and compensation costs for claims about a product you’ve sold or supplied that has caused a customer to be ill or injured, or has damaged their property. This includes online sales.
- Commercial van insurance: This is cover for using your van for work, such as carrying stock or tools to other locations. It can pay out if you are involved in an accident or your van is stolen or destroyed, depending on the level of insurance you choose.
- Buildings insurance: If you own your business premises (outright or with a mortgage), this covers the cost of rebuilding it after damage by fire, flood or storm, for example.
- Commercial landlord insurance: This covers the building if you rent out your property for business use, along with other risks, such as the cost of relocating tenants after a fire, for example t.
- Contents and stock insurance: This is cover for your business belongings or stock if they are stolen or damaged.
Direct Line also offers:
- cyber insurance
- landlord insurance
- business interruption insurance
- theft of takings
For trades, you can also get cover for:
- tools and business equipment
- own plant
- hired-in plant
- contract works
You can buy one type of cover or build a package with optional extras, such as no claims discount protection, depending on the protection you need and the premium you can afford.
Direct Line business insurance features
Below, you can find out more about what Direct Line business insurance features. We’ve considered what business owners said was most important to them in our NerdWallet survey.
Professions and trades covered
Direct Line covers a range of business types. Some trades have individual pages on Direct Line’s website, including:
- dog groomers and walkers
- estate agents
- home businesses
- market traders
- offices retailers
If you can’t see your trade or business on the website or in the list, you can check if it is covered over the phone.
Business insurance premiums can be paid annually or in monthly instalments. Having this choice was key for a number of business owners in our survey, with the option to pay monthly the second most important factor and annual payment ranking fourth.
A bonus with Direct Line is that if you choose to pay monthly, you won’t pay interest in your first year, which might be a useful way to budget. Just make sure that you can afford it when interest does kick in, if you don’t plan to switch providers once the year is up.
Online policy management
You can log in to your online account to add, view, amend or renew your business insurance policies, or to save and retrieve quotes.
While its self-service portal lets you do a number of things, bear in mind that, depending on the cover type, you may need to ask for some changes over the phone. Web-based policy management was the third most important factor in our survey, so this ticks that box. It’s also worth knowing that you won’t pay admin fees for making changes to your policy.
You can call Direct Line customer service about your cover or to get a quote. Lines are open 9am to 6pm on weekdays (not including bank holidays).
In our survey, being able to call customer services to make policy changes was ranked eighth in importance, with the majority seeing the self-service, online route as a higher priority. But it’s perhaps about having options, as some also wanted to be able to speak to a person about their cover.
Making a claim
You can make a claim online, through your account, or over the phone, though you may need to call for certain types of claims. Opening hours and numbers vary depending on the cover type, and lines are open on weekdays, except bank holidays, or 24/7 where it’s emergency cover. A dedicated claims handler will be assigned to your case.
In our survey, being able to make a claim online was important for nearly half of business owners and was the top ranking factor.
Direct Line has a Trustpilot rating of 3.9 out of 5, based on over 11,600 reviews, as of 7 March 2023.
Keep in mind that these reviews aren’t exclusively about business insurance.
Can you shop by profession with Direct Line?
Direct Line details a number of professions, as well as the type of cover that might be suitable, on its website.
You don’t have to take this route, though, and consider that not all types of cover mentioned will be relevant to your individual business – if you don’t have employees, for example.
However, you might find it useful to see the types of risks your profession typically faces in one place – such as tools and van cover for a carpenter – and find a straightforward route to building cover and getting a quote to match.
Shopping by your trade can also help highlight relevant optional add-ons for the job you do (at an additional cost). For example, treatment liability insurance for businesses that provide beauty treatments, or tech essentials that sorts a replacement item within 24 hours of a successful claim.
In our NerdWallet survey, being able to shop by industry was only ranked seventh out of 10 in importance, but speed and ease and potential industry expertise were certainly factors for some.
How to choose the right business insurance
The business insurance policies or package you choose needs to address the risks your business faces. There’s a wide choice available, but some businesses might need the following cover to be able to operate:
- You need employers’ liability insurance by law if you employ anyone in the UK who isn’t close family. Though if you employ family and your business is a limited company, you will need it.
- Professional indemnity insurance is required by their governing body or regulator for some professions, such as solicitors and accountants.
- You may be asked to have a specific level of public liability insurance to carry out some work, including government contracts.
- If you use a vehicle for work (other than commuting), you must have motor insurance and should consider business car or van insurance, or commercial vehicle insurance.
If you’re not sure which types of cover you need, an independent business insurance broker can help. Membership and trade bodies may also help you work out the minimum level of cover you need.
How to get Direct Line business insurance
You can get a quote for Direct Line business insurance online or by phone.
You can add the cover you need as you go through the quote process. You will need to supply information about your business, including when it started trading, estimated annual turnover, the nature of your business and where you operate, along with how many employees you have.
You will also need to state the type and level of cover you want your policy to include. Once you have a quote, you can apply online or over the phone if you’re happy with the price and cover features, or compare the quote details with other providers.
How to save money on Direct Line business insurance
Direct Line offers a price guarantee where it promises to beat any quote for the same level of cover from another insurer, provided it’s a quote for a new policy rather than a renewal. This might help you get a competitive rate, especially if you’ve found the lowest quote from a number of other insurers for the same level of cover. Though there are some exclusions, such as van insurance.
Other benefits it offers that might save you money are that:
- You won’t pay any admin fees if you need to make changes to your policy, no matter how many changes you make.
- If you pay monthly by direct debit, you pay no interest on your premiums in your first year.
At NerdWallet Ltd UK we base our reviews on the results of surveys we conduct to understand what key product features are important to those who use them, and align them to the product we review.
Product details reflect the information that was available at that time but may have changed since. We strive to give you a review on as many products as possible but it is likely there are others available that we have not reviewed. The review is our opinion, but it does not constitute advice, recommendation or suitability of your financial circumstances.
You can view our review methodology here.