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Direct Auto Insurance Review 2021

Direct Auto Insurance sells auto insurance primarily to high-risk drivers and can provide SR-22 forms if needed.
May 21, 2021
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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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.
  • Specializes in car insurance for high-risk drivers.
  • Offers SR-22 forms.

Direct Auto Insurance is part of the Direct General 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 nonstandard car coverage primarily for the Latino community and is available in Illinois only.

» MORE: Compare car insurance rates

Direct’s auto insurance

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Direct’s auto insurance earned 4 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.

Common types of car insurance coverage

When you’re shopping for car insurance, it’s important to understand what car insurance coverage you want and what you’re required to buy. Most states require car insurance to drive a vehicle, although minimum coverage requirements vary from state to state. This generally includes liability insurance and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

If you want extra protection, you may be interested in full coverage insurance. Full coverage isn’t a specific policy you can buy, but rather a combination of coverage types like liability, collision and comprehensive insurance.

Check out the most common types of car insurance coverage below to see how they work:

Coverage typeWhat it pays forRequired?
Bodily injury and property damage liabilityCosts for injuries, deaths or property damage from an accident you caused.Typically required.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverageMedical and property damage costs after an accident with a driver who has insufficient insurance or none at all.Often required.
Collision coverageRepair expenses from traffic-related accidents, regardless of who's at fault.A car loan or lease may require it.
Comprehensive coverageRepair costs from events outside of your control — including weather events, hitting an animal while driving, theft and vandalism.A car loan or lease may require it.

Direct Auto Insurance has all the basic coverage choices, including roadside assistance and towing coverage. Direct Auto also offers optional coverages, including:

  • Personal injury protection, or no-fault insurance, which covers your medical and funeral expenses that arise from a car accident, regardless of who is at fault.
  • Accidental death coverage, which pays a $5,000 death benefit to your beneficiary if your death is the result of a covered accident.
  • 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 insurance 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: The best high-risk auto insurance companies

Direct’s auto insurance discounts:

  • Military discount.
  • Safe driver discount.
  • Good student discount.
  • Senior citizen discount for drivers 55 or older who successfully complete an accident prevention course.
  • Multivehicle discount.
  • Low-mileage discount.
  • Multipolicy (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 six months of the former policy.
  • Affinity discount for being an active member of certain organizations.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best car insurance companies for 2021

Life insurance from Direct

Direct Auto offers term life insurance policies, 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 the policies don’t require a life insurance medical exam. As with Direct’s auto insurance, you may have to pay a down payment when you purchase a policy.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best life insurance companies for 2021

Customer complaints about Direct

Over three years, Direct Auto has drawn far more complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size for both auto and life insurance, according to a NerdWallet analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

More about Direct insurance

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

Filing a claim: You can file and track a claim through the Direct Auto website or over the phone, 24/7.

State availability: Direct Auto offers car insurance in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Direct Auto’s phone number is 1-877-463-4732.

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

Auto insurance buying guide

Before you compare car insurance companies, you’ll need to collect basic information, such as the driving history of everyone on the policy and facts about your car, including safety features and annual mileage driven. You’ll also want to understand which types of coverage you need. For example, do you want only the bare minimum insurance that your state requires, or do you need more extensive coverage, such as gap insurance or rideshare coverage? Check that each company you’re considering has the options you want.

When comparing rates among insurers, make sure each is offering the same coverage limits and deductibles. You may not want to decide based on price alone. Look at how many consumer complaints each company has, as high numbers can be a red flag about the quality of service you might receive.

Depending on which company you choose, you may be able to buy insurance online, over the phone or through an agent. For more guidance, see how to get car insurance.

Recap: Direct Auto Insurance pros and cons

Can file an SR-22 form for drivers who need itHigh number of auto and life insurance complaints when compared with 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 and discounts. Our “ease of use” category looks at factors such as website transparency and how easy it is to file a claim. 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.

Insurer complaints methodology

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2018-2020. 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 (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

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