Direct Auto Insurance Review 2023

Kayda Norman
By Kayda Norman 

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Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Direct Auto Insurance specializes in high-risk drivers, but with a high number of complaints, there may be better options out there.

Direct Auto Insurance
NAIC complaints
More than expected
Ease of use
Above average
Discounts
Great set of discounts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Can file an SR-22 form for drivers who need it.
  • Offers both car insurance for high-risk drivers and life insurance, giving customers the option to bundle policies and receive a discount.
  • Flexible payment options available for customers.

Cons

  • High number of auto insurance complaints when compared with other companies.
  • Doesn’t offer additional coverage options like gap or rideshare insurance.

Full Review

Direct 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 consumer experience, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.

Direct Auto 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.

Direct Auto is not affiliated with the lesser-known company of the same name based in Chicago.

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.

Direct Auto 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.

Direct Auto has all the basic coverage choices, including roadside assistance and towing coverage. It also offers additional services to customers, including:

  • 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 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.

Auto insurance discounts

You may be able to save on your auto insurance policy by:

  • Being a member of the military.

  • Meeting Direct Auto’s standards for being a safe driver.

  • Meeting Direct Auto's standards for being a good student.

  • Successfully completing an accident prevention course if you’re 55 years or older.

  • Insuring more than one vehicle with Direct Auto.

  • Buying multiple insurance products from Direct Auto.

  • Being insured by a previous company for at least six months, with no more than a 90-day lapse in coverage.

  • Renewing your policy with Direct Auto.

  • Owning a home.

  • Previously purchasing a policy with Direct Auto. (Must not have had a Direct Auto car insurance policy in the past six months to qualify.)

  • Being an active member of certain organizations.

  • Paying in full, setting up automatic payments or going paperless.

🤓Nerdy Tip

First time shopping for auto insurance? Unsure of where to start? Check out our guide on how to shop for car insurance.

Pricing based on tracked driving habits

Direct Auto’s DynamicDrive program tracks your driving behavior through the Routely app. You’ll earn a discount when you sign up and can earn an additional discount upon renewal if Direct Auto determines you’re a safe driver.

Direct Auto life insurance coverage

Direct Auto offers term life insurance policies, up to $25,000, though coverage varies by state. Only six- 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. If you’re buying life insurance and have an auto insurance policy with the company,, you won’t need to make an additional down payment.

Complaints

Direct Auto 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 Direct Auto insurance

Website: Direct Auto’s site includes detailed explanations of its discounts, coverage, payment options and claim procedures. You can log in to pay bills or view ID cards and policy information. You can also file and track a claim through the site.

Other insurance from Direct Auto

You can also purchase the following types of policies from Direct Auto:

  • Motorcycle insurance.

  • Insurance for driving in Mexico.

  • Commercial auto insurance.

Methodology

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 methodologyNerdWallet’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