Bristol West Auto Insurance Review 2023
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The bottom line:
This insurer offers coverage for high-risk drivers and can help you out with an SR-22, but it has a high volume of customer complaints.
Pros & Cons
- Can get an SR-22 if you need one.
- Many payment options.
- Available in most states.
- More than the expected number of complaints about auto insurance to state regulators.
- Likely not the best option for drivers who aren’t high risk.
Bristol West earned 3 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account consumer experience, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.
Bristol West provides auto insurance for high-risk drivers through a network of agents and brokers in most states. The Farmers Insurance subsidiary offers SR-22s and FR-44s to drivers with major violations on their record.
Bristol West’s auto insurance policies are also available through Foremost Insurance, another Farmers brand.
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Bristol West insurance coverage
When you're shopping for car insurance coverage, it's important to understand what car insurance coverage you want and what you’re required to buy. For instance, most states require a minimum amount of car insurance to drive a vehicle. Alternatively, if you want extra protection, you may be interested in full coverage insurance. Read about the most common types of car insurance coverage to see how they work.
Depending on the state you live in, Bristol West also offers:
SR-22 and FR-44 availability. Many states require an SR-22 form to prove you have car insurance after a DUI or other serious violation. In Florida and Virginia, you may need an FR-44 form to show you have enough coverage.
Gap insurance. If you owe more on your loan or lease than your policy will pay when your car is totaled or stolen, Bristol West’s gap insurance will cover the difference, minus your deductible.
Rideshare coverage. If you drive for a service such as Uber or Lyft, Bristol West’s rideshare insurance covers you while you’re waiting for ride requests. For context, rideshare companies’ policies typically only cover you while you’re en route to pick up passengers or while passengers are in your car, leaving a coverage gap between rides.
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Auto insurance discounts
Car insurance discounts from Bristol West vary by state. Depending on where you live, you may be able to save by:
Insuring more than one car with Bristol West.
Having an additional policy, such as a motorcycle or RV policy, from Foremost.
Paying for your policy in full, upfront.
Making electronic payments.
Owning a home.
Not having a vehicle in your household. Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage when you drive a car that isn’t yours, such as a rental.
Avoiding accidents and traffic violations.
Being covered for at least six to 12 months with a previous insurer.
Getting policy documents by email.
Buying a policy at least two days before it takes effect, with no lapse in coverage.
First time shopping for auto insurance? Unsure of where to start? Check out our guide on how to shop for car insurance.
Bristol West had more than the expected number of complaints about auto insurance to state regulators relative to its size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
More about Bristol West auto insurance
Website: Bristol West’s website has minimal details about coverage options, but it does let you take action. You can request a quote, find an agent, see your insurance ID card, make a payment, and report or check on a claim directly from the homepage. There’s also a useful FAQ section that answers payment-related questions, including how to get text alerts when payments are due or overdue.
Mobile app: On Bristol West’s mobile app, you can pay premiums, view your ID card and see policy details. It’s compatible with Apple and Android devices.
Payment options: If you pay online, you can use a bank account, debit card or credit card at no extra cost. You can also set up automatic monthly payments or pay by phone, mail, Western Union or MoneyGram.
Other insurance from Bristol West
Besides personal car insurance, Bristol West also sells commercial auto insurance.
Insurer complaints methodology
NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2019-2021. 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. NerdWallet conducts its data analysis and reaches conclusions independently and without the endorsement of the NAIC. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.
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 and full ratings methodology for auto insurance.
Frequently asked questions
The quickest way to get a quote is online. Enter your ZIP code on Bristol West’s homepage, and then follow the prompts to provide details about your car and who will be driving it. If you need help, you can search for a local agent or broker, or call 866-228-4622.
Bristol West sells car insurance in all states except Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. It doesn't sell policies in Washington, D.C. either.
You can file a claim online at any time, or by calling the claims department at 800-274-7865. Reps are available on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET.