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.
- 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.
- High number of auto and life insurance complaints when compared with other companies.
- Doesn’t offer additional coverage options like gap or rideshare insurance.
Auto insurance review
3.5/5 NerdWallet rating
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.
Direct Auto is separate and distinct from the lesser-known Direct Auto Insurance company based in Chicago. Part of the Nodak Insurance Group, the Chicago-based Direct Auto specializes in nonstandard car coverage primarily for the Latino community and is available in Illinois only.
» MORE: Best car insurance companies
Direct Auto insurance coverage
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: Compare car insurance rates
Auto insurance discounts
Safe driver discount.
Good student discount.
Senior citizen discount for drivers 55 or older who successfully complete an accident prevention course.
Multipolicy (bundling) discount.
Discount for having insurance with your last company for at least six months with no more than 90 days’ lapse.
Policy renewal 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.
Auto insurance buying guide
Before you compare car insurance companies, you’ll need to collect some basic information. This includes the driving history of everyone who will be on the policy, as well as facts about your car, such as safety features and annual mileage driven. You’ll also want to determine 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 make your decision based on price alone. Look at how many consumer complaints each company has, as a high number of complaints could be a red flag about the quality of service you'll 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.
Life insurance review
3.5/5 NerdWallet rating
Direct Auto life insurance coverage
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.
Direct Auto had more than the expected number of complaints about auto insurance, and far more than the expected number of complaints about life 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’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. You can file and track a claim through the Direct Auto website or over the phone, 24/7.
Other insurance from Direct Auto
Insurance for driving in Mexico.
Commercial auto insurance.
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.
Auto insurance ratings
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.
Life insurance ratings
NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on consumer experience, complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. Within the consumer experience category, we consider ease of communication and website transparency, which looks at the depth of policy details available online. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale. 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.
Frequently asked questions
You can get an auto quote online, over the phone or in-person at one of Direct Auto’s local stores.
Direct Auto offers car insurance in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
You can file a claim with Direct Auto online or over the phone.