SmartMiles FAQs

Green Cards are changing

You no longer need a Green Card to travel in Europe. But we recommend you carry one until 2nd September, just in case you’re still asked to show it at any borders. So, if you’re travelling to the EU before September, just follow the steps below.

The UK's now left the EU and it's important to know which documents you'll need to take with you if you're planning to drive abroad.

You'll need your Certificate of Motor Insurance and your policy document to prove you're insured to be able to drive in the EU. You can find both of these in Manage My Policy.

You also need to take your vehicle registration document (V5) to prove you own the vehicle and you must have a GB sticker on your vehicle and any trailer. In some countries you'll need an international driving permit (IDP). Check if you need an IDP.

Lastly, you'll also need your Green Card. You can find out more about this, and how to get one, in these FAQs.

What’s a Green Card?

A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance that proves you're insured to drive in the EU. They're issued and signed by your vehicle insurer, and include your vehicle and registration details. You'll need to have one with you if you're driving in Europe and you'll need a second one if you're towing a trailer or caravan.

Once you've requested your Green Card, it will be issued to you via email and you’ll need to remember to take it with you when you travel.

Please make sure we've got the right email address for you.

We suggest you request it 14 days before you're due to travel, so it’s sent to you in time.

Do I need a Green Card?

From 1st January 2021, you'll need to show your Green Card document at European borders to prove you're insured. This includes if you're leaving for your trip before this date but returning after 1st January. In some countries you'll need an international driving permit (IDP) Check if you need an IDP.

What countries do I need a Green Card for?

Any member of the European Union, plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Andorra and Serbia. You'll also need a Green Card if you plan to drive between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Find out more details on the countries included.

How do I get one?

If you plan to drive in the EU (or between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) you can request your Green Card by contacting us on 01733 308380.You should give us 14 days’ notice to make sure your Green Card arrives in time.

What happens if my insurance renews whilst I'm driving abroad?

When you renew your insurance you'll need a new Green Card for your new policy, even if you keep your insurance with us. So, if you plan to be driving your vehicle abroad when you're due to renew, make sure you've got with you a Green Card to cover your current policy and one to cover your new policy. Please let us know when requesting your Green Card if this is the case.

If you decide to switch to a new insurer, you'll need to ask them for a new Green Card.

Will I still be insured to drive in the EU?

Yes. We, like all UK motor insurance providers, will continue to provide you the legal minimum motor insurance cover for travel to EEA countries as part of your current policy.

So, if you're a UK motorist, you won't need to purchase additional third-party motor insurance policy cover. Many of our customers will actually have a similar level of cover abroad as they get in the UK. For details of your cover, check your policy booklet.

Will my Green Card cover me to hire or borrow a vehicle while in the EU?

No. If you want to rent or borrow a vehicle, you'll need to arrange insurance separately and your Green Card won't cover this.

Will I need a GB sticker on my vehicle?

You could get fined if you don't display a GB sticker on your vehicle or trailer.

You'll need a GB sticker even if your number plate already has a GB or the EU symbol on it.

They're available from a variety of high street and online retailers, as well as departure points in the UK, and only cost a couple of pounds.

What will happen if I don't have a Green Card when I travel abroad?

You could be breaking the law, be refused entry into the European country, receive a fine and/or have your vehicle seized. Your policy doesn't cover loss or damage caused by the legal confiscation of your vehicle by HM Revenue and Customs, the police, a local authority or any other government authority - check your policy booklet for full terms and conditions.

Will there be any changes to driving licences?

Potentially yes. You may need an international driving permit (IDP) in addition to your UK driving licence to drive in the EU and EEA countries if the current agreement changes. IDPs are issued by the Government. Find out more.

What happens if I'm driving with a trailer or caravan?

You'll need to tell us when you ask for your Green Card as you need a second Green Card for your caravan or trailer. If you plan to take a commercial trailer weighing over 750kg or a non-commercial trailer weighing over 3,500kg, you must also register it with the Government before you can travel to, or through, most EU and EEA countries.

We'll be updating this FAQ page as the situation changes, so make sure to check back here if you're planning on traveling abroad.

For more information on Green Cards and the latest on driving abroad you can visit:

Can I still call and if so, what are your opening hours?

Most of our team are now working from home and are taking calls however we still need your help to prioritise the most important calls, so if you need to make a change to your policy or view your documents you can do this via your Manage My Policy. You can also get in touch at contact@hastingsdirectsmartmiles.com.

Where possible, please only call us if:

Your policy is due to renew and you're concerned it's no longer suitable for you or you're thinking of cancelling your insurance, or

You're in a vulnerable situation or an NHS or frontline health care worker who can't easily access our online services, or

You need to make a claim and your vehicle is un-driveable or if you need urgent roadside assistance.

If you're having difficulty paying for your insurance - annually or by Direct Debit - please get in touch with us on 0333 321 8566 and we can discuss the right options for you. If you pay by Direct Debit and just want to enquire about your payments please visit www.closebrothersbanking.com.

If you are calling, our opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-5pm.

We're very sorry if it takes you longer to get through, we'll be with you as soon as we can.

Do I need to tell you if I get Coronavirus?

No, but you should keep up-to-date with the Government's advice and make sure you're doing everything you can to stay safe.

I need to change my policy, how do I do that?

If you need to make a change to your policy you can do this online as normal via your Manage My Policy or you can give us a call on 01733 308380.

How do I renew my policy if I can't get through on the phone?

We're prioritising calls from our renewing customers, but if you're finding it hard to get through, we're very sorry. Please bear with us and we'll get to you as soon as we can.

Most of our policies will renew automatically on their renewal date, so your cover will continue for another year. This will be clearly stated on your policy documents.

If you don't want to renew, you also have a 14 day cooling off period to cancel your policy without charge.

If your policy doesn't automatically renew, you can accept your car renewal in your Manage My Policy.

I'm worried I won't be able to pay for my insurance - what should I do?

We'll do everything we can to support you if you've been affected by the Coronavirus – either financially or otherwise, so please contact us as soon as possible if you're worried. All conversations are confidential and, if it's easier, we can talk to a relative, friend or debt counselling organisation about your account – we'll just need your authorisation to do this.

Please don't cancel any payments or direct debits without speaking to us first. Missing payments means you run the risk of your policy being cancelled and we don't want you to be left uninsured.

If you're having difficulty paying for your insurance - annually or by Direct Debit - please get in touch with us on 0333 321 8566 and we can discuss the right options for you. If you pay by Direct Debit and just want to enquire about your payments please visit www.closebrothersbanking.com.

You can also find lots more impartial advice online with Money Advice Service, National Debtline, StepChange Debt Charity and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

If I have to self-isolate for months, can I suspend my cover or get a refund on my insurance?

Unfortunately, you can't suspend an insurance policy but you can cancel it by giving us a call on 01733 308380. If you decide you want to cancel outside of your cooling off period, you'll be charged for the length of time you were insured for, plus any applicable fees. If you haven't made a claim during your policy, any money owed to you will then be refunded.

Remember, it's a legal requirement to have insurance (unless you declare your vehicle as SORN). Even if you aren't driving your car it is important to protect against other events such as fire and theft. If you keep your policy you'll also be able to earn this year's no claims discount.

You may be able to get a refund by reducing the mileage your policy was based on. Have a look at ‘I'm driving less. Can I get a refund?

How do I cancel my policy if I can't get through on the phone?

If you're having trouble getting through to us by phone, you can email us at contact@hastingsdirectsmartmiles.com to cancel your policy. Please make sure you contact us from the email address on your policy to do this.

I'm driving less - can I get a refund?

If you have a car policy and your annual mileage is going to be lower than usual, you can easily reduce it in your Manage My Policy.

You won't be charged a fee to change your mileage and it could reduce your premium. The size of any decrease will depend on many factors and will vary from policy to policy. If your price goes up when you make this change, or you have any questions or problems while reducing your mileage online, please get in touch so we can help.

Don't worry if you're not sure how much to reduce your mileage by. You can change it now and change it again once the situation is clearer.

Make sure you remember to review your mileage once you go back to driving normally, otherwise you may not be fully covered.

Due to Coronavirus, I'm using my vehicle differently. Do I need to let you know?

Yes, please let us know, as we will need to note the policy.

I'm temporarily working as a delivery driver during the Coronavirus outbreak. Will my existing policy cover me?

No, you won't be covered to use your vehicle to deliver parcels or fast food if you're being paid to do so.

If I have Breakdown cover on my policy, will I still be recovered if I break down?

Yes, you'll still be recovered to the best of the RAC's ability. You can check their website for updates, or call them on 0333 202 1867.

If I have Coronavirus can someone else drive my car to get me to hospital?

Yes, if they're a named driver on your policy or they're covered for driving other cars by their insurance policy. They'll need to check their insurance certificate to see if they have this and they may only be covered on a third party basis.

If you'd like to add someone as a named driver, you can do this online: If you have a car policy, you can add a driver in your Manage My Policy.

You'll be given a quote for the change, which will include any difference to the price of your policy and any applicable fees.

Should I declare my vehicle SORN if I am unable to drive for a period of time?

You should only declare your vehicle SORN if you cancel your policy and your vehicle's left uninsured. Please be aware that, if you do SORN your vehicle, you won't be able to leave it parked on the road. It is important to protect your car against other events such as fire and theft even if you aren't driving it. You can check Gov.uk for more information about this.

Am I covered if I'm abroad and can't get home, taking me over 90 days away?

The Foreign Office have all the latest advice on overseas travel. You can check their advice page before leaving. You'll also find the latest guidance on what to do if you're caught abroad.

If you're overseas with your vehicle for longer than 90 days, your insurance will be reduced to third party cover only. Please get in touch if this happens, so we can make sure you've got the cover or help you need.

How do I make a claim if I can't get through?

Sorry you've been involved in an accident and you're struggling to get through. Please bear with us as we're doing all we can to answer calls as quickly as possible.

Will I still get a courtesy car?

Yes, you'll get a courtesy car where available while your vehicle's being repaired, using one of our nominated repairers. However, it may take slightly longer than normal for your car to be delivered as it will be prepared and cleaned before we give it to you. Please note the standard terms and conditions around courtesy car will apply.

Will I have to give back the courtesy car if my repairs take longer than planned?

No, you're entitled to a courtesy car for the duration of the repair. However, if your vehicle's found to be uneconomical to repair, your claim will be settled as a total loss and we'll be in touch to discuss the valuation as soon as we're able to do so. In this instance, you'll need to return the courtesy car as stated in the terms of your policy.

Will my claim take longer to be settled and will it take longer to get a payout?

We've taken measures to make sure this doesn't happen and are working with our suppliers to keep any disruption to a minimum. Our repairers will keep you updated if there's anything relating to your individual repair, such as a delay to sourcing parts if they are coming from overseas.

If you've been told your claim's being handled as a total loss, your claim will continue to be actioned and we'll be in touch to discuss the valuation as soon as we're able to do so.

I've been sent court documents in relation to a claim, what should I do?

Please don't worry, it's not unusual for court documents to be sent to you.

All you need to do is scan or photograph each page of the document and email it to us at litigation@hastingsdirect.com, making sure you put your claim reference number in the subject line. We'll review it as soon as we get it and be in touch to explain the next steps.

I'm not insured with SmartMiles but you're repairing my car. Will it continue?

Yes, we'll continue to repair your car and provide you with a hire car if you need one.

What are you doing to prevent the spread of Coronavirus?

We're committed to minimising any impact for you and keeping our employees safe. Having valid motor insurance is a legal requirement and we have a duty of care to keep you on the road. It's really important we keep working so we're here for you when you need us and can support you as quickly as possible during this time. However, you could experience longer call waiting times or delays to your claim or repairs - we're very sorry about this.

During these times, please use our online services to help us prioritise urgent calls.

What's the main reason for getting a SmartMiles policy?

With SmartMiles, your future car insurance premiums will be based on the way you drive. Most insurance policies just use generalisations about people in an age group and with a certain level of experience. If you're a safe but inexperienced driver, SmartMiles has the potential to save you a significant amount of money over the years.

What happens after I start a SmartMiles policy?

You'll need to have one of our SmartMiles boxes fitted to your car within 14 days of purchase. Once you’ve installed your box, it starts analysing your driving straight away, allowing you to view your driving score on our mobile app or on your online dashboard.

How much does the box cost?

The cost of the SmartMiles box is included in the overall price of your insurance for the first year. If you later need another box (eg. if you buy a new car) then you'll be charged a fee.

Can the policy have more than one named driver?

Yes, as well as the main driver (the Policyholder) you can add up to three additional drivers.

Does my car need to be kept at my home address?

With SmartMiles you can keep your car at a different address, but you'll need to let us know as this is important in making sure you're paying the right price for your insurance. For example, if you're a student you can give us your university address as the place your car is kept most often, but use your home address for correspondence. If your car is kept somewhere other than your home address most of the time you can choose this option when getting your quote, or call and let us know on 01733 308 380.

Can the policy include business travel?

Yes, if you drive to different places as part of your job – and not just to and from the office – you‘ll need to take out business travel cover. Just make sure to select ‘business use’ when you get a quote.

Can I earn a No Claims Discount?

Yes, you can.

Can I protect my no claims discount?

Yes, you can choose to protect your no claims discount when you get a quote.This means you won’t lose all your no claims discount straight away if you make a claim during the policy year. However, your insurance will cost a little more.

Please note protecting your no claims discount doesn’t protect the overall cost of your insurance. Your price can increase after an accident even if you aren’t at fault. If you choose to protect your no claims, full details will be included with your quote. If you’ve already bought your policy, you can see details on your policy schedule. This is stored in your online portal.

I have a Pass Plus certificate - can I save more?

Yes, if you are under 25 and have a Pass Plus certificate, let us know and it could reduce the cost of your insurance premium.

How does SmartMiles know about the way I drive?

The box uses data from satellites to work out detailed information about your driving style. We have an extensive and detailed database of the speed limits on roads across the UK and Europe. Your actual speed is reported by the SmartMiles box and we compare it with this data.

To find out more, please visit About SmartMiles.

What aspects of my driving are monitored by the SmartMiles box?

We track your acceleration, braking and speed, as well as your mileage and the time of day or night you drive. In addition, we may use the data to make sure your car is usually kept at the address that you stated on your policy.

As this system is based on satellites, are there any 'blackspots' where you won't be able to track a car?

Standard GPS systems tend to use around six satellites. We use closer to 15. As a result, our information is much more accurate and there are very few places where we won’t be able to see your car. Your SmartMiles box is also a theft tracking device so this means if your car is stolen, the thieves aren’t getting away that easily.

Do I get to see the data from my SmartMiles box?

Yes, all this information is sent through to your Dashboard. Please see the questions below for more information.

Can I drive outside the UK on a SmartMiles policy?

Yes, you can. The SmartMiles policy offers 90 days automatic EU cover included at the same level of cover as you have in the UK, unless stated otherwise on your policy documents.

Is there anything I need to bring with me when the box is being installed?

All you’ll need is your car keys and our engineer will take care of the rest.

Do I have to wait for the Smartmiles box to be fitted before I can drive?

You're insured to drive as soon as your policy starts, so you don't need to wait for the Smartmiles box to be fitted to start driving. Remember, your SmartMiles box must be installed within 14 days of purchase. (Please note this could be different to the day your cover starts.) If you don't install your box during this time your policy will be cancelled.

Will the SmartMiles box work in my car?

The box fits in the vast majority of cars, but there are some models where it can't be fitted. Please call us on 01733 308 380 if you'd like to check your car is compatible.

My car already has a telematics box from a previous insurance policy. Can I use this instead of the SmartMiles one?

Unfortunately, the technology can vary between telematics boxes. This means we have to install our own SmartMiles box into your car, even if there is a telematics device already fitted.

What does the box look like?

It's about the size of a typical Smartphone.

Is the SmartMiles box visible from the outside of my car?

No, it can't be seen from outside the car so it won't be obvious your car has a box installed.

Could the SmartMiles box affect the performance of my car or its warranty?

No.

What happens if the box stops working?

We will aim to fix your box remotely, using its built-in technology. If this doesn't work, we will send out a specialist to repair or replace it.

What should I do if I disagree with the mileage shown by my SmartMiles box?

Let us know and we'll look into it for you.

What happens if the box is damaged in an accident?

If your vehicle is repairable, we'll repair or replace the box for you as well. The cost will be covered by your policy or the insurance of the person you're making a claim against. If your vehicle is written-off and you decide to insure a different car, you'll need to pay our normal fees to install a box in the new vehicle.

What if I disagree with my driving score or feedback?

Most of us think we’re pretty good drivers, so getting a driving score or some feedback saying you’re not so good isn’t always easy to take. Our view of whether we think you display safe driving behaviour is based on millions of miles of monitored driving data. The validity of the driving data has been tested extensively so we’re confident it’s representative and accurate.

However, occasionally something could go wrong, for example a road speed limit may have changed without our knowledge. If after reflecting on how you’ve been driving you disagree, please let us know by visiting our contact us page with specific details (e.g. the times & dates of any example journeys where you believe we may be incorrect) and we’ll investigate

Will my policy be cancelled if I speed?

Speeding can lead to your policy being cancelled. Every time you speed, you’ll lower your SmartMiles driver score and if your score drops below 40, your policy may be cancelled.

Will you share the SmartMiles data with other insurers?

Your driving data and scores are only for your insurance with Hastings Direct SmartMiles, and we won't give it to other insurers to use. However we may use the data as evidence to help resolve a claim dispute with another insurer. 

What happens if the police ask for the data?

We will only ever provide the data to the police, or any other civil authorities, if we suspect fraud or we are required to do so by law or a court order. 

Is there anything other than my SmartMiles policy that the data could be used for?

We'll use the data to help us identify false claims, or to protect you against a false claim being made by someone else. We may also use the data as evidence to help resolve a claim dispute with another insurer.

Will you supply any personally identifiable data to any third parties?

We will only do this to service your policy, prevent fraud, meet legal obligations or carry out research into telematics and other insurance products. Please see our use of SmartMiles box data page for more information.

How do you work out the cost of my first year's insurance, as you didn't have any driving data to base it on?

Your initial quote is based on the traditional rating methods used by insurance companies, with a discount that assumes you are an averagely safe driver because you are having a SmartMiles box installed into your car.

Will I be charged more if I go over my expected annual mileage?

Yes, if you go over your mileage limit before your policy ends, you’ll need to pay an additional premium. This is because the price we quote you is partly based on the distance you say you’ll drive. It’s important to be as accurate as possible.

But don’t worry, we’ll let you know if it looks like you’re going to exceed your limit when you reach 75% of your mileage and we won’t automatically stop your cover.

Keep an eye on your mileage by using our app or your online dashboard.

If I don't reach my mileage limit will I get a refund?

No, this is because we partly base your price on the maximum mileage you tell us you’ll drive in the year.

Can I drive at night?

Driving between 10pm and 5am will mean you get a much lower driver rating. We understand there’ll be times when you need to drive at night, so we don’t charge you a penalty. But you’ll need to get very good scores for speed, acceleration and braking to balance it out.

What does my policy consider to be 'night'? Is it as soon as it’s dark?

For the purposes of the policy, night driving is considered to be between the hours of 10pm and 5am.

How do I check the documents relating to my policy?

Your documents can be found in your customer portal - please go to Manage Your Policy to login.

Will you ever cancel my insurance based on my driving?

We want to help you make sure you’re driving safely, so we’ll regularly review your driving data. If your SmartMiles driver rating drops below 40, this tells us you aren’t driving as safely as you could. Scoring under 40 will mean we have to cancel your policy, or not offer you a renewal. But don’t worry, if your score dips below 40, we’ll let you know so you have time to improve. Please note, if your policy is cancelled it can affect your ability to get car insurance elsewhere.

Please note, we updated the terms around driving thresholds on 11th May 2016. If you bought your policy before this date, you can find the minimum scores that apply to your policy on page 29 of your policy booklet.

What is the Dashboard?

The Dashboard contains all the information from your SmartMiles box about the way that you drive. It also features your Driver Rating, which is based on the quality of your driving and is used to calculate the cost of your renewal quotes.

Is there a SmartMiles mobile app?

Yes, the SmartMiles mobile app is the best way to check your driver rating, and is now free to download on the Apple and Google Play stores.
Find out more.

Will you help me improve my driving?

You may be surprised how useful the information on your Dashboard can be. Many people aren't aware of the way they drive until they see the facts and figures. Once you know what you're doing, it's much easier to work on improving your driving style. We also have lots of tips to help you get a better rating.

Can I have more than one login to the Dashboard?

No. Each policy has a single login to the Dashboard, though you are free to share this with other people if you choose to do so.

I'm starting a SmartMiles policy for one of my children. It will be in their name, but I'm paying. Will I have access to their Dashboard?

It is up to the Policyholder to decide who has access to their Dashboard. We cannot give the details to anyone else.

Why isn’t my policy going to renew?

We don’t offer SmartMiles policies anymore, so we can’t provide you with a renewal quote at the end of your policy year. But, we’d love you to stay, so why not get a new quote from us? Our Hastings Direct and Premier policies come with a 5 Star rating from Defaqto and you’ll have 24/7 access to your policy through our app and MyAccount , so you can manage your insurance at a time that suits you.

Can I get another policy with Hastings Direct?

Of course! We’d love you to stay – all you need to do is get a new quote from us or you can shop around on a price comparison site. We want to make sure you get the very best price.

How can I talk to you about this?

If you have any questions about this, please get in touch so we can help. If you need to make a change to your current SmartMiles policy, visit your Manage My Policy.

What do I do with the black box in my car?

Please check out our ‘Removing your SmartMiles box’ FAQs for information on how and when to remove the black box from your car.

Will I get proof of my no claims discount?

Yes, this will be sent to you along with the confirmation of your policy ending.

Do I need to tell my new insurer you didn’t renew my SmartMiles policy?

No because we didn’t cancel your policy, we’ve just not offered you a renewal. You only have to tell your insurer if we cancelled your policy during the year.

Do I need to keep the black box in my car?

Yes, unless we’ve asked you to remove it, you need to keep it in your car.

However, once your policy has ended (or we’ve told you to remove your box) the box will be deactivated and it can be removed.

If you fitted your SmartMiles box yourself or an engineer fitted it to your car battery, you should safely remove it from your car. If it was fitted in a different way, you should either leave the box where it is, or get in touch with us to arrange an engineer to come out to you. (There will be a charge of £45 for this).

How can I safely remove the black box from my car?

You should only remove the black box if you fitted it yourself or if an engineer fitted it to your car battery.

If this applies to you, check out our step-by-step guide on how to remove it safely.

If it was fitted in a different way, you should either leave the box where it is or get in touch with us to arrange an engineer to come out to you. (There will be a charge of £45 for this).

What should I do with the black box once I've removed it?

You’ll need to recycle it, as it can’t go into your general household waste. The best thing to do is take it to your nearest recycling centre.

What should I do if my car is stolen?

If your car has been stolen, there are just two things you need to do:
 
  • First, call the police to tell them what has happened and let them know the car has a tracking device. You will also need to get a crime reference number.
  • Call our theft helpline on 0333 999 8371 and give them your policy number and the crime reference number. They will activate the theft tracker to trace your vehicle and liaise with the police.