Bristol West Car Insurance Review: Costs and Ratings (2024)

Bristol West offers car insurance to drivers with poor records. Premiums are high, and the company offers limited discounts.

Sarah Brodsky
Written bySarah Brodsky
Sarah Brodsky
Sarah Brodsky
  • 15 years writing about personal finance

  • Created content for Credit Karma, KeyBank, and Thrivent

Sarah is a freelance writer who covers personal finance and economics. She enjoys delving into the details of insurance, credit, loans, and the labor market.

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Katie Powers
Edited byKatie Powers
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Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin Halachev
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

Updated May 23, 2024

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While looking for car insurance providers online, you might come across Bristol West. The company charges high premiums, but it provides a viable option for drivers with a history of accidents or a DUI conviction.

Quick Facts
  • Bristol West issues policies to high-risk drivers that other insurers might turn away.

  • Premiums are high relative to competitors.

  • Many reviewers report poor customer service experiences.

What is Bristol West car insurance?

Bristol West is a car insurance company that sells policies in 43 states. Though it’s a small company, it’s a member of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, a large national group of property and casualty insurers. The company began selling private car insurance policies in Florida in 1973. Now, Bristol West provides coverage in most states and also sells commercial auto insurance in select states.

Compare personalized, real-time quotes
IQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
2.6
A.M. Best
A.M. Best analyzes an insurer’s financials, operating performance, business profile, and other factors to generate an opinion-based rating of a company’s financial and credit strength. Ratings range from A++ (exceptional) to D (poor).
A
Liability Only
Liability-only insurance, sometimes called minimum-coverage insurance, pays for bodily injury and property damage to others in an accident the policyholder causes. It does not pay for the insured’s own damages.
$129/mo
Full Coverage
Full-coverage car insurance generally includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, and may include other optional coverages such as uninsured motorist coverage. Collision covers a policyholder’s repair or replacement costs in case of an accident. Comprehensive covers damages caused by non-accident events. The average quote displayed here reflects policies with the following coverage limits: $50,000 bodily injury liability per person; $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident; $50,00 property damage liability per accident; $1,000 collision deductible; and a $1,000 comprehensive deductible.
$285/mo

Florida-based Bristol West Insurance Company started selling car insurance in 1973. Farmers Insurance now owns the company, which provides private car insurance in 43 states. Bristol specializes in writing policies for difficult-to-insure drivers – for example, those who’ve had a DUI or a lapse in coverage. In addition to liability, collision and comprehensive, Bristol offers optional coverages like rideshare insurance, and rental car coverage. A.M. Best gives Bristol an A rating for financial strength and credit. However, the company has a higher-than average number of complaints in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Consumer Complaint Index.

Pros
  • Provides coverage for difficult-to-insure drivers

  • Offers rideshare coverage as an extension of your personal policy

Cons
  • Drivers with moving violations pay very high rates

  • Lower than average customer satisfaction

Read our Bristol West review
Anthony - May 21, 2024
Verified

Too Expensive

It's too expensive, but they do have good customer service.

Edgar - May 20, 2024
Verified

The Worst Car Insurance

If I could, I would give them zero stars. I'm significantly overcharged for insurance every month. They've given me an astronomical deductible. I don't have a rental car because the person handling my current accident case never answers her phone or returns calls. I've been with them for a long time, and this is by far the worst experience I've had.

Rebecca - May 19, 2024
Verified

Not Affordable

Finding affordable auto insurance was challenging. The prices kept increasing. I tried three different policies, and the same thing kept happening.

How does Bristol West auto insurance work?

Like other car insurance companies, Bristol West charges premiums to customers. In return, it issues car insurance policies, which serve as agreements to pay for losses resulting from specified events, like accidents.[1]

Notably, Bristol West offers coverage for drivers who may have difficulty finding coverage elsewhere. These drivers include people with poor or no credit, a spotty driving history, or no previous car insurance coverage.

Learn More: The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for 2023

Bristol West car insurance coverage

Bristol West offers standard coverage types, plus some add-ons.[2]

  • Liability insurance: If you cause an auto accident, this coverage pays the other driver for property damage and bodily injuries they sustain. Liability coverage helps protect you financially if someone sues you for your involvement in an accident. States typically require you to purchase a minimum amount of liability coverage.

  • Comprehensive insurance: This protects you in case your car is stolen, vandalized, or damaged by bad weather or a natural disaster. Lenders often require this coverage if you have an auto loan. This type of coverage only pays up to your car’s current market value, which could be quite a bit less than what you paid for it.[3]

  • Collision insurance: If you hit another vehicle or an object, this coverage pays for your car repairs.[4] It’s often mandatory if you’re financing your car.

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: This insurance type covers you if an uninsured or underinsured driver causes an accident.

  • Rideshare coverage: If you use your car for ridesharing or deliver for Uber Eats, some of your time on the road might not be covered by either your personal auto policy or a separate rideshare company’s insurance. This coverage helps fill that gap. Bristol West offers this coverage as an optional endorsement.

  • Rental reimbursement: Bristol West will pay you $50 a day for up to 30 days if you need to rent a car after a claim.

  • Medical payments: This provides reimbursement for up to $10,000 in medical bills resulting from a car crash.

  • Trailer physical damage coverage: You can get liability coverage for a trailer you’re hauling with an insured car.

  • Roadside service: The insurer pays for roadside help and for your car to be towed, up to a set limit.

How to get a Bristol West car insurance quote

Bristol West allows you to request a quote online. First, you’ll need to enter your ZIP code before providing your name, birthdate, and address. You’ll also need to fill out information about your vehicles and the drivers you want to insure and select the discounts you qualify for. The company may also check your credit report before generating a quote.

You can also call 1 (888) 888-0080 to reach the customer service line or use the online directory to find an agent’s phone number or email address.

Alternatively, you could use a quote-comparison site like Insurify to compare offerings from multiple insurers. You’ll enter your information once to see quotes from several insurers side by side.

Bristol West car insurance cost by state

How much coverage you’re required to purchase varies by state. Car insurance costs also differ by location because some areas have higher rates of accidents, theft, and other covered events.[5] Factors like population density and typical climate also influence costs. See the average monthly rates for full-coverage insurance in the following states below.

StateAverage Monthly Quote
Arizona$273
California$367
Florida$501
Georgia$420
Illinois$270
Indiana$197
Michigan$373
New Jersey$491
New York$793
Ohio$259
Pennsylvania$262
Tennessee$298
Texas$318
Virginia$312
Washington$257
Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Bristol West auto insurance rates by driving history

Like other insurers, Bristol West looks at your driving history before deciding whether to sell you a policy. You have a better chance of qualifying and receiving affordable rates if you have a clean record than if you have traffic violations, collisions, or DUIs on your record.

Bristol West insures drivers with challenging records, but the company charges significantly higher premiums in those cases.

Quote Price by Driving Record

Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Bristol West car insurance cost by age

Your age can also affect your car insurance rates because your driving experience influences your odds of getting in an accident. Teenagers and young adults are more likely to get in an accident than older, more experienced motorists.

For example, an 18-year-old pays an average of $721 a month with Bristol West, but the average premium drops to $392 for a 25-year-old. From there, rates gradually fall for customers at older ages. Drivers in their 60s and 70s pay an average of $294 and $292, respectively.

Quote Price by Age Group

Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Bristol West car insurance discounts

If you qualify for a discount, you could earn a lower premium. Bristol West offers a few ways for eligible drivers to save money with discounts tied to some of your decisions:

  • Automatic payments: Linking a bank account or credit card to your account and setting up automatic payments can reduce your premium. And, with autopay set up, you don’t have to worry about forgetting a payment.

  • Paperless communication: Opting out of paper mail and viewing documents online or on the insurer’s app can lower your costs.

  • Driving record: Avoiding traffic violations can also help you earn better rates.

  • Up-front premium payment: Paying your annual premium in full or making installment payments at least a month before they’re due may trim fees off your bill.

See More: Car Insurance Discount Guide

Bristol West Insurance bundling options

With some insurers, you can save money by buying different types of insurance with the same company or insuring several vehicles at once. Bundling and multi-policy discounts provide loyalty savings to policyholders.

Bristol West only offers auto coverage, so it doesn’t directly offer bundles for home and car insurance together. However, other members of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies offer multiple types of policies, including home insurance and life insurance. You may earn a discount if you buy more than one policy through Bristol West, Farmers, or Foremost.

Bristol West reviews and ratings

While some users report satisfaction with this insurer, the company has earned low ratings overall. Many reviews specifically complain about the company’s customer service and claims process.

Bristol West customer reviews

Read reviews from verified Bristol West customers.

Anthony - May 21, 2024
Verified

Too Expensive

It's too expensive, but they do have good customer service.
Edgar - May 20, 2024
Verified

The Worst Car Insurance

If I could, I would give them zero stars. I'm significantly overcharged for insurance every month. They've given me an astronomical deductible. I don't have a rental car because the person handling my current accident case never answers her phone or returns calls. I've been with them for a long time, and this is by far the worst experience I've had.
Rebecca - May 19, 2024
Verified

Not Affordable

Finding affordable auto insurance was challenging. The prices kept increasing. I tried three different policies, and the same thing kept happening.
Desiree - May 10, 2024
Verified

Mmh

Their premiums are way too high!

Bristol West Insurance ratings

Here’s how users on some review sites rate Bristol West, as of February 2023.

  • Better Business Bureau: A rating, 1.34 out of 5 stars with 279 reviews

  • Google Play Store: 4.1 out of 5 stars with 914 reviews

  • Apple App Store: 4.6 out of 5 with 964 reviews

Bristol West Insurance vs. other insurance providers

Many car insurance companies must compete for your business in a highly saturated market. Here’s how Bristol West compares to other options.

Bristol West vs. Farmers

Farmers is a large national insurer that sells policies in all 50 states.

Unlike Bristol West, Farmers sells many different types of insurance, including car, home, renters, and life insurance. Farmers offers discounts for bundling policies. Depending on your state, you could also get a discount for factors like being a homeowner, installing anti-lock brakes or anti-theft devices, and completing safe driver training if you’re over age 55.

Policyholders with Farmers pay an average monthly premium of $317. Coverage with Farmers, the parent company of Bristol West, could be a more affordable choice.

Bristol West vs. Root

A car insurance company that offers low premiums to responsible drivers, Root requires you to test-drive for three weeks using an app that evaluates your driving and reports back to the company. Then, if the company approves of your behavior behind the wheel, Root provides a quote that’s mostly based on your driving.

Unlike Root, Bristol West doesn’t offer a telematics program to see how your driving stacks up. Bristol West calculates premiums on conventional factors, like your age, location, driving history, and credit.

If you pass the trial driving period, you could save money with Root. On average, drivers with a clean record pay around $129 per month with Root. A driver with a DUI would pay an average of $131, while a driver with a ticket or an at-fault accident on their record would pay $161 on average.

Bristol West vs. State Farm

State Farm, a large national insurer, offers many types of policies, including homeowners, renters, life, and health insurance.

State Farm offers a telematics program that allows drivers to earn a discount for safe habits on the road. You can participate through an app or connect a device to certain cars directly.

State Farm drivers pay an average monthly premium of $175, so this could be an affordable alternative to Bristol West for eligible drivers.

More about Bristol West Insurance

Bristol West was founded in Florida in 1973, and it joined the Farmers Insurance Group through a merger in 2007. Bristol West offers personal auto insurance coverage in 43 states, as well as commercial auto insurance in select states.

Who owns Bristol West Insurance?

Bristol West belongs to the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, which includes Farmers, Foremost, 21st Century, and Toggle.

Bristol West pros and cons

Like other insurance companies, Bristol West has its pros and cons.[6]

Pros
  • Offers coverage to drivers with poor or no credit

  • Accepts customers with a checkered driving record

  • Provides SR-22 filing

Cons
  • High premiums

  • Offers few discounts

  • Poor customer service reviews

Filing an auto insurance claim with Bristol West

You’ll need to file an auto insurance claim if you get in an accident. Making a claim notifies your insurance company that there’s been a car crash or another event that’s covered by your policy. When you file a claim, you’re asking your insurer to pay the amount that’s specified in your contract.

You can file a claim with Bristol West online at any time, or you can call 1 (800) 274-7865 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

Bristol West car insurance FAQs

If you’re thinking of buying an auto policy from Bristol West, you may have questions about the company and its products. Find answers below to some common questions about Bristol West car insurance.

  • Is Bristol West legitimate?

    Bristol West is a legitimate insurance company and a member of the Farmers Insurance Group, a national group of insurers. Bristol West holds an A rating from both A.M. Best and the Better Business Bureau. That said, Bristol West isn’t BBB accredited.

    The company is also a member of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a nonprofit that investigates and works to prevent insurance fraud.

  • What is the average cost of Bristol West car insurance?

    On average, Bristol West car insurance costs $375 a month. Your premium depends on many factors, like your age, driving record, and where you live, so you may want to get a personalized quote to learn how much Bristol West insurance would cost for you.

  • Is Bristol West good with claims?

    Bristol West earned an A rating from A.M. Best, indicating financial stability and the ability to pay claims. However, customers complain about experiencing difficulties with reaching claims adjusters, as well as delays in the claims process.

  • Is Bristol West Insurance right for you?

    If other insurers decided not to offer you coverage because of accidents or a license suspension, Bristol West might work with you. However, high premiums and a lackluster reputation for customer service mean this company may not be the best choice for drivers with a clean record and good credit.

  • Does Bristol West offer SR-22 insurance?

    If you’ve had your license suspended or landed in legal trouble for driving without insurance, you might be ordered to file an SR-22 with your state. This is a document from an insurance company that proves to your state that you have sufficient insurance coverage. Filing an SR-22 also means that the insurance company will inform your state if you later cancel your policy. Bristol West will provide an SR-22 form if you buy and maintain liability insurance. You can ask for this document as a new customer or add it to your existing policy.

Sources

  1. Insurance Information Institute. "What is auto insurance?."
  2. Insurance Information Institute. "What is covered by a basic auto insurance policy?."
  3. Insurance Information Institute. "Auto Insurance Basics—Understanding Your Coverage."
  4. Insurance Information Institute. "What is covered by collision and comprehensive auto insurance?."
  5. Insurance Information Institute. "https://www.iii.org/article/what-determines-price-my-auto-insurance-policy."
  6. Bristol West. "How Bristol West Can Help You."
Sarah Brodsky
Sarah Brodsky

Sarah Brodsky is a freelance writer with 15 years of experience covering personal finance and economics. She enjoys delving into the details of insurance, credit, loans, and the labor market. She’s written for publications including Bankrate, CNET, and Investopedia, and she’s created content for brands like Credit Karma, KeyBank, and Thrivent. When she’s not writing, you might find her learning languages or baking pizza. She has an AB in economics from the University of Chicago, and she lives in St. Louis, MO. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Katie Powers
Edited byKatie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
Photo of an Insurify author
Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

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