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Direct Auto Insurance Review 2020

Jan. 2, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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Direct Auto Insurance ratings and reviews

  • Has far more than the expected number of customer complaints, relative to its size, about auto and life insurance.
  • Specializing in car insurance for high-risk drivers.
  • Offers SR-22 forms.

Direct Auto Insurance is part of the Direct General Insurance Group (not to be confused with The General), which caters primarily to high-risk drivers who can’t get car insurance elsewhere. It may suit your needs if you’ve been denied coverage due to at-fault crashes, poor credit or other issues, or if you simply want to satisfy your state’s minimum liability insurance requirements.

This Direct is separate and distinct from the lesser-known Direct Auto Insurance company based out of Chicago. Part of the Nodak Insurance Group, the Chicago Direct Auto specializes in non-standard car coverage primarily for the Hispanic community and is only available in Illinois.

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Direct’s auto insurance

3.0 NerdWallet rating

Direct’s auto insurance earned 3.0 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account pricing and discounts, ease of filing a claim, website transparency, financial strength, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and more.

Direct Auto Insurance has all the basic coverage choices, including roadside assistance and towing coverage.

Customizable payments: The company lets you decide what day of the month your auto insurance bill is due and offers several ways to pay, including by phone with text-to-pay and in person.

SR-22 insurance forms: Direct Auto Insurance can provide an SR-22 form for drivers if their state requires it. An SR-22 form is a document that proves you meet your state’s minimum liability coverage. You might need an SR-22 form if you’ve been convicted of a DUI or another serious traffic offense.

» MORE: Compare car insurance rates

Direct’s auto insurance discounts:

  • Military discount.
  • Safe driver discount.
  • Good student discount.
  • Senior citizen discount for drivers 55 years or older who successfully complete an accident prevention course.
  • Multi-vehicle discount.
  • Discount for driving few annual miles.
  • Multi-policy (bundling) discount.
  • Discount for having insurance with your last company for at least 6 months with no more than 90 days’ lapse.
  • Policy renewal discount.
  • Homeowner discount.
  • Discount for drivers who’ve previously purchased a policy with Direct, but haven’t had one within 6 months of the former policy.
  • Affinity discount for being an active member of certain organizations.

Life insurance from Direct

You can get term life insurance from Direct, up to $25,000, though coverage varies by state. Only 6- or 12-month terms are available, but you can renew up to two years at the same premium, and there are no medical exams for Direct’s life insurance policies. As with Direct’s auto insurance, you may have to pay a down payment when you purchase a policy.

Direct complaints and customer satisfaction

Direct had far more than the expected number of auto and life insurance complaints to state regulators relative to its size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

More about Direct insurance

Website: Direct’s site includes detailed explanations of its discounts, coverages, payment options and claim procedures. Customers can log in to pay bills or view ID cards and policy information.

Other types of insurance from Direct include:
Motorcycle insuranceInsurance for driving in Mexico
Renters insuranceCommercial auto insurance

Recap: Direct Auto Insurance pros and cons

ProsCons
Can file an SR-22 form for drivers who need itHigh number of auto and life insurance complaints when compared to other companies
Offers both car insurance for high-risk drivers and life insurance, giving customers the option to bundle policies and receive a discountDoesn’t offer additional coverage options like gap or rideshare insurance
Flexible payment options available for customers

Auto insurance ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s auto insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, consumer complaints, website transparency and affordability. Using our editorial discretion, we also consider customer satisfaction surveys. These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Methodology: Insurer complaints

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2016-2018. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home and life insurance.

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