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Bristol West insurance review 2023

Updated Jan 19, 2023
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At a glance

3.3
Rating: 3.3 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Auto

Rating: 3.3 stars out of 5

3.3

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Cost & ratings

Rating: 2.7 stars out of 5

2.7

Coverage

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

3.5

Support

Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5

4.4

About Bankrate Score

Bottom Line

If you have bad credit or a poor driving record, Bristol West might be a good option for you. The company offers coverage to high-risk drivers, including those needing SR-22s. However, Bristol West has few endorsements and discounts, and its average premiums exceed the national average.

Pros
  • Coverage options for high-risk drivers

  • Online quotes available

  • Multiple payment options

Cons
  • No discounts advertised online

  • Not available nationwide

  • Higher-than-average premiums

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Bristol West car insurance

Bristol West is part of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, which is one of the largest car insurance companies in the country. Bristol West offers basic car insurance coverage, including minimum coverage and full coverage, as well as uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage. Bristol West specializes in high-risk auto insurance, so it may be a good option for drivers who struggle to get car insurance due to their credit-based insurance score, accident history or motor vehicle record.

Bristol West has a Bankrate Score of 3.3 out of 5 points. While the company stands out for its flexible payment methods and decent financial strength, it has higher-than-average premiums, minimal discounts and limited availability. Bristol West offers a handful of endorsements, including rental car reimbursement, medical payments, ridesharing coverage and roadside assistance.

Customers may appreciate the company's included add-ons. Depending on state availability, policyholders may get permissive use and trailer damage coverage. Bristol West doesn’t advertise any discounts online, and coverage is only sold in 43 states.

Pros and cons of Bristol West car insurance

Comparing perks and drawbacks for a provider may give you a high-level overview of whether a carrier is the right choice for you. Before you purchase a car insurance policy from Bristol West, it may be beneficial to compare the advantages and disadvantages of this provider:

PROS

  • Checkmark

    Sells car insurance to high-risk drivers

  • Checkmark

    Easy to get a quote online

  • Checkmark

    Mobile app allows you to virtually manage your policy

CONS

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    Higher-than-average premiums

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    No discounts mentioned online

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    Policies not available in every state

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Bristol West car insurance cost

The average car insurance premium from Bristol West is $3,901 per year for a full coverage policy and $1,687 per year for minimum coverage, according to premium data provided by Quadrant Information Services. Bristol West’s average premiums are significantly higher than the average cost of car insurance in the U.S., which is $2,014 for full coverage and $622 for minimum coverage.

Bristol West car insurance rates by driving history

Your driving record is one of the biggest factors that may impact your cost of car insurance. Below, you can see the average Bristol West car insurance premiums for drivers with a clean driving history, a speeding ticket and an at-fault accident. Rates for DUIs are not included because not all car insurance companies insure drivers who have been convicted of a DUI. To learn more about DUI rates, you may contact a Bristol West insurance agent.

Bristol West average monthly full coverage premium Bristol West average annual full coverage premium National average annual full coverage premium
Clean driving history $325 $3,901 $2,014
Speeding ticket conviction $404 $4,851 $2,427
At-fault accident $437 $5,240 $2,854
Bristol West average monthly minimum coverage premium Bristol West average annual minimum coverage premium National average annual minimum coverage premium
Clean driving history $141 $1,687 $622
Speeding ticket conviction $181 $2,177 $748
At-fault accident $196 $2,350 $892

Bristol West car insurance quotes by age

Another factor that may affect car insurance premiums is the age of the driver. Young drivers, including teen drivers who get added to their parents' policy, typically pay the highest rates. Car insurance premiums usually start to drop once a driver is in their mid-20’s. Below are the average Bristol West rates for drivers in several age groups. These rates assume the driver has a clean driving record.

Average cost of car insurance for drivers on their parents' policy

Age Bristol West average monthly full coverage premium Bristol West average annual full coverage premium National average annual full coverage premium
Age 16 $739 $8,870 $4,392
Age 17 $691 $8,294 $4,102
Age 18 $663 $7,958 $3,837
Age 19 $590 $7,074 $3,345
Age 20 $551 $6,609 $3,149
Age Bristol West average monthly minimum coverage premium Bristol West average annual minimum coverage premium National average annual minimum coverage premium
Age 16 $333 $3,995 $1,470
Age 17 $312 $3,739 $1,362
Age 18 $298 $3,576 $1,261
Age 19 $261 $3,136 $1,070
Age 20 $244 $2,925 $995

Average cost of car insurance for drivers on their own policy

Age Bristol West average monthly full coverage premium Bristol West average annual full coverage premium National average annual full coverage premium
Age 18 $848 $10,181 $6,110
Age 25 $392 $4,707 $2,473
Age 30 $344 $4,126 $2,125
Age 40 $325 $3,901 $2,014
Age 60 $303 $3,631 $1,824
Age Bristol West average monthly minimum coverage premium Bristol West average annual minimum coverage premium National average annual minimum coverage premium
Age 18 $398 $4,776 $1,967
Age 25 $163 $1,952 $747
Age 30 $143 $1,713 $647
Age 40 $141 $1,687 $622
Age 60 $127 $1,529 $578

Bristol West car insurance discounts

Compared to standard auto insurers, Bristol West offers limited discounts to help customers save money on car insurance. The company does not advertise any discounts on its website. Contacting a Bristol West insurance agent may be the best way to see if you qualify for any potential savings opportunities.

Bristol West car tools and benefits

If required by your state’s department of motor vehicles, you may request that Bristol West file an SR-22 or FR-44 on your behalf to prove that you have an active insurance policy that meets the minimum liability coverage required by state law. The company also offers non-owner auto insurance policies for drivers who do not own a vehicle but have regular access to one.

Bristol West customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction ratings may help you determine which insurance companies will offer you the best customer service. J.D. Power issues national customer satisfaction scores through its U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. Bristol West is not rated by the organization, but its parent company, Farmers, received an above-average score of 882/1,000.

Bristol West auto satisfaction

The National Associate of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks insurance company complaints from customers. Bristol West has a high number of complaints for a company its size based on the NAIC Complaint Index. The company's complaint index for private passenger auto policies is 2.86, which means it has almost three times the number of complaints expected for its size. For comparison, the industry benchmark is 1.00.

How to file a claim with Bristol West

There are several ways to file a claim with Bristol West. You can start a claim through the company's mobile app or by logging into your online customer account. You can also call the company at 800-274-7865, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. EST.

Bristol West availability

Bristol West sells auto insurance in 43 states. You can see if the company writes policies in your state by entering your ZIP code on the company's website.

Other Bristol West perks worth considering

Bristol West offers auto insurance geared towards high-risk drivers, but it recently expanded its offerings to include commercial car insurance in select states. In addition, the company has a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices where you can file claims, download ID cards, make payments, view your policy and more. Drivers who have experienced a car insurance lapse may also be interested in Bristol West as the company may accept customers without prior car insurance.

Bristol West corporate sustainability

Bristol West does not provide any information about its corporate sustainability online. However, it is part of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, which has numerous community initiatives. In 2021, Farmers Insurance donated more than $5.3 million to charities and supported disaster relief efforts after 38 catastrophes. The company also sponsors the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament which supports local at-risk youth, military members and first responders.

Bristol West may be an affordable insurance option for drivers with multiple accidents, moving violations or even a DUI on their record. However, even high-risk drivers typically have more than one option when it comes to auto insurance. If you're not sure Bristol West offers the coverage you need, you could consider getting quotes from these carriers:

Bristol West vs. The General

Like Bristol West, The General specializes in high-risk auto insurance. The General offers basic car insurance coverage, with few endorsements available for added protection. The General offers more advertised discounts than Bristol West, and policyholders may save with discounts for safe driving, vehicle safety features, paying in full and taking a defensive driving course, depending on state eligibility. The General is not rated by many third-party organizations, but it also has more complaints than expected per the NAIC Complaint Index.

Learn more: The General Insurance review

Bristol West vs. Farmers

Bristol West is part of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies. Farmers, which is a separate entity, offers standard car insurance coverage options with a wide range of endorsements and several discounts available for savings. Farmers is rated above average for claims satisfaction by J.D. Power and it has an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best. However, Farmers does not specialize in high-risk auto insurance, so drivers who have poor credit or a sub-par driving record may not qualify for coverage.

Learn more: Farmers Insurance review

Bristol West vs. State Farm

If you are a high-risk driver in need of coverage, State Farm may be another good choice. The carrier won our 2023 Bankrate Award for best auto insurance for high-risk drivers, and it offers homeowners and life insurance policies as well. State Farm offers multiple discounts for potential savings including safe driver, good student, multi-car and two telematics programs. State Farm and Bristol West have similar add-on coverage options, but State Farm does not offer coverage in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

Is Bristol West a good insurance company?

Our insurance editorial team spends dozens of hours researching and evaluating insurance carriers to help our readers make an informed choice about their coverage needs. We even have three licensed agents on staff to provide insights based on their time in the industry.

Based on our Bristol West insurance review, we determined the company may offer flexible options for high-risk drivers, but it has a limited number of discounts available for additional savings. The company’s rates are higher than average, and customer service metrics from NAIC indicate that some policyholders may not be satisfied with the service. If you are in the market for high-risk auto insurance, it may be worth researching some of the other best car insurance companies to see if you might find more discounts, better coverage options and potentially lower rates.

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Carriers reviewed
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Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on 40-year-old male and female homeowners with a clean claim history, good credit and the following coverage limits:

Auto

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our sample drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

Age: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the ages 18-60 (base: 40 years) applied. Depending on age, drivers may be a renter or homeowner. Age is not a contributing rating factor in Hawaii and Massachusetts due to state regulations.

Incidents: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), single speeding ticket and single at-fault accident.

Bankrate Score

Our 2023 Bankrate Score considers variables our insurance editorial team determined impacts policyholders’ experiences with an insurance company. These rating factors include a robust assessment of each company’s product availability, financial strength ratings, online capabilities and customer and claims support accessibility. Each factor was added to a category, and these categories were weighted in a tiered approach to analyze how companies perform in key customer-impacting categories. 

Like our previous Bankrate Scores, each category was assigned a metric to determine performance, and the weighted sum adds up to a company’s total Bankrate Score — out of 5 points. This year, our 2023 scoring model provides a more comprehensive view, indicating when companies excel across several key areas and better highlighting where they fall short.

  • Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, 2023 quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services (if available), as well as any of the latest third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best and the NAIC, were analyzed.
  • Tier 2 (Coverage & savings): We assessed companies’ coverage options and availability to help policyholders find a provider that balances cost with coverage. Additionally, we evaluated each company’s discount options listed on its website.
  • Tier 3 (Support): To encompass the many ways an auto insurance company can support policyholders, we analyzed avenues of customer accessibility along with community support. This analysis incorporated additional financial strength ratings from S&P and Moody’s and factored a company’s corporate sustainability efforts.

Tier scores are unweighted to show the company's true score in each category out of a possible five points.

 

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