Bristol West Auto Insurance Review 2023

Lisa Green
By Lisa Green 

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Our Take


NerdWallet rating 

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.

Bristol West Auto Insurance
NAIC complaints
More than expected
Ease of use
Average set of discounts

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.

Full Review

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.

Why you can trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy in our coverage so you can choose the insurance policy that works best for you. These carrier ratings are specific to auto insurance — a company's rating for other products may be different on our site. See our criteria for evaluating auto insurance companies.

In our auto insurance reviews, our editorial team considers both the customer and the insurer. These are some of the factors we take into account:

Financial strength. We use A.M. Best ratings to confirm an insurer’s long-term financial stability and ability to pay claims. NerdWallet does not recommend companies with a rating lower than a B. 

Complaints. These ratings are based on complaints to state regulators relative to a company’s size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The best auto insurance companies have fewer than the expected number of complaints.

Ease of use. This category looks at how easily consumers can interact with an insurer through its mobile app and website. This includes how much coverage information is offered online, whether a user can start and track a claim online and get a quote and mobile app scores based on the Apple and Google Play store ratings.

Discounts. We look at both the kind of discounts a company offers and the total number of discounts available.

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.

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.

🤓Nerdy Tip

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