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Bristol West insurance review 2023
At a glance
Cost & ratings
About Bankrate Score
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.
Who Bristol West may be good for: This company is best suited for drivers with bad credit or those who may otherwise struggle to find coverage.
Who Bristol West may not be good for: Drivers with clean records and those who want to bundle car insurance with home or renters policies may find better deals elsewhere.
Bristol West Insurance 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 of 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:
Sells car insurance to high-risk drivers
Easy to get a quote online
Mobile app allows you to virtually manage your policy
No discounts mentioned online
Policies not available in every state
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 included, though not all car insurance companies insure drivers who have been convicted of a DUI. To learn more, contact a Bristol West insurance agent directly.
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-20s. 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
|Bristol West full coverage premium||National full coverage premium|
*All rates displayed are average annual rates.
Average cost of car insurance for drivers on their own policy
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.
Compare Bristol West with other insurers
Bristol West may be an affordable insurance option for drivers with multiple accidents, moving violations or 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 informed choices about their coverage needs. Based on our Bristol 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.
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 claims satisfaction
The J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study does not rank Bristol West. To gauge customer satisfaction with Bristol West’s auto claims process, consumers may assess customer reviews online. They may also inquire with a Bristol West agent or an insurance broker to learn more details about how the claims process is handled.
Bristol West customer complaints
The National Associate of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks insurance company complaints from customers. Bristol West has a high number of complaints for a company of its size based on the NAIC Complaint Index.
Bristol West auto complaints
The NAIC Complaint Index is based on an industry average score of 1.00. This means that a company with a complaint index of 2.0 has twice the normal rate of complaints than the industry average as a benchmark. The NAIC also maintains separate complaint index scores based on policy type, meaning a company with high complaints for auto insurance may have a completely different score for life insurance policies (and vice versa).
Other Bristol West tools and benefits
Bristol West offers auto insurance geared toward 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.
Frequently asked questions about Bristol West
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Auto insurance rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region.
Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $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 base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.
Age: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the ages 16-60 (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.
The rates for drivers ages 16-20 added to their parents' policy reflect the good student and driver's training discounts applied. The rates for drivers aged 16-20 on their own policy do not include the good student and driver's training discounts. Additionally, 25-year-old rates are based on the driver as a renter and 30+ on the driver as a homeowner.
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 methodology
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.