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Bristol West Car Insurance Review 2023

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A member of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, Bristol West specializes in providing quality car insurance to high-risk drivers. 
Researching your best options for car insurance, especially with a bad driving record, is both daunting and time-consuming. That’s why Jerry created a trustworthy super app to do the heavy lifting for you. A licensed insurance broker, Jerry partners with over 55 leading car insurance companies to find the lowest rates available to you in less than a minute. 
Saving more than 2 million drivers money on car insurance has helped us learn a thing or two about what good insurance looks like—and what it doesn’t look like. So if you’re considering purchasing a Bristol West policy, here’s our in-depth Bristol West review to inform your decision. Let’s dive in!

Bristol West car insurance overview 

Beginning as a private Florida car insurance company in 1973, Bristol West now underwrites car insurance policies for 43 states and Washington D.C. Currently, Bristol West is not available in Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont. 
Bristol West offers private passenger car insurance policies as its primary focus. However, it recently launched a commercial car insurance program in select states, which it hopes to continue expanding. 
Though Bristol West is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, Farmers Insurance Group (its parent company) received an A+ rating. As its own entity, Bristol West has received an A- rating from AM Best, which is dedicated to reviewing credit in the insurance sector. Essentially, this “Excellent” score indicates that Bristol West has good financial strength to pay claims.   
According to NAIC’s consumer complaint index, Bristol West does have a higher complaint ratio of 5.09 compared to the 1.0 national median in 2021—with the majority of complaints involving claim resolution delays and unsatisfactory claim settlements. While this number may appear staggering, higher complaint ratios tend to be normal for high-risk insurers.

Bristol West pros and cons

More coverage options for high-risk driversSubpar rates for non-high-risk drivers
Easy to file an SR-22Higher than average complaint ratio
Available in most statesOnly offers policies for auto insurance
Many payment optionsPricier premiums
Text alert program and 24/7 phone and web communication

Bristol West claim resolution time 

Though Bristol West aims to resolve claims as quickly as possible, they have as much as 30 days to investigate and approve or disapprove of a claim. Depending on your state, cases may take longer than 30 days to resolve if Bristol West needs more information from you. 

How to get Bristol West car insurance quotes

The best way to find the lowest Bristol West car insurance rates and compare them to other popular companies like Travelers and Allstate is to download the Jerry app. It’s free to use and our expert brokers are just a text or call away to answer your coverage questions and help you save money on premiums.


You can file a claim with Bristol West 24/7 through their online claims portal, or by calling 1-800-274-7865 Monday through Friday between 8 am and 7 pm EST. 
Be prepared with your policy number, dates, and basic information about the incident involved. Once your claim has been filed, registered customers can check its status online. You can register for free by providing your policy number and basic personal info.  
You can also file a claim and check on its status through Bristol West’s mobile app.
Bristol West is generally rated well for providing quality car insurance coverage to high-risk drivers. That said, it does have a higher than average complaint ratio—but this tends to be the case with many high-risk insurers.
Currently, Bristol West offers auto insurance policies to drivers in Washington D.C. and 43 states. Commercial auto insurance is also available in select states—check with a Bristol West agent or at www.bristolwest.com to see if this is an option for you. 
The only states that currently don’t offer Bristol West car insurance are Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont. 
To contact Bristol West insurance group about a claim you can either call 1-800-274-7865 or mail correspondence to the following address: 
Bristol West Claims Service
PO Box 258806 
Oklahoma City, OK
For payments and billing-related questions, you can call their 24/7 billing line at 1-888-888-0080. You can call the same number for general customer service between 8 AM and 6 PM Monday through Friday. 
You can also find contact information for your dedicated Bristol West agent through the mobile app.

Bristol West car insurance cost

Bristol West prides itself on offering affordable and quality auto insurance rates to drivers whose bad driving record may limit their options. But what do these numbers look like? 
On average, yearly car insurance with Bristol West costs between $1,480 and $2,501. That’s about $147 to $226 per month
Bristol West’s average rates for minimum coverage run higher than the national average because they aim to provide high-risk drivers with better coverage options. Most insurers aren’t willing to cover a driver with multiple claims, points, or tickets in their background—and the insurers who are have to offset the risk with higher rates. 
Here’s a look at how different levels of Bristol West’s coverage compare in cost:

What factors does Bristol West look at? 

Every insurance company considers multiple factors when determining a driver’s auto insurance rate—Bristol West is no exception. Here are some factors that could impact your premium: 
  • Driving history—Having violations or points on your license increases your premium. As a non-standard insurer for high-risk drivers, Bristol West offers a wider range of coverage options for drivers with challenging records. 
  • Credit score—Though having poor credit, or no credit, can lead to a lack of insurance options, Bristol West helps these customers find car insurance policies. While Bristol West accepts more drivers with bad credit, rates may still run higher for them. 
  • Age—As with most insurance companies, Bristol West charges younger drivers higher rates. Drivers under age 20 generally receive the highest premiums, with annual insurance costs averaging around $3,000 compared to $1,700 at age 65. 
  • Location—Not only does your zip code indicate local risk factors that play into your premium, but it can also open up discounts that may not be offered in every state.  
  • Coverage—It goes without saying: buying additional coverage beyond the minimum state requirements increases your protection and your premium.

Which Bristol West customers get the best rates? 

Generally, the following drivers will get the best rates at Bristol West: 
Amongst the high-risk drivers that Bristol West caters to, drivers with the following infractions tend to receive better rates than drivers with other violations or multiple violations: 
  • Vehicle theft 
  • Cell phone use 
  • Racing/drag racing 
Because Bristol West is a non-standard insurer, the premiums for drivers with these violations run slightly lower than for customers with a clean record. It may therefore make more sense for drivers with clean records to find cheaper car insurance elsewhere. 
Here’s how Bristol West’s average premiums compare to some other popular companies:
Before Jerry
After Jerry
Clean Record$3,091$2,168
Eluding Police$6,142$4,427
Reckless Driving$5,196$3,257
Illegal Turn$4,384$2,844
Open Container$4,123$2,605
Wrong Way/Wrong Lane$4,038$2,906
Improper Passing$4,033$2,823
Speeding over 15$3,956$2,765
Careless Driving$3,936$2,734
Failure to Obey Traffic Sign$3,881$2,713
Racing/Drag Racing$3,848$2,426
Driving on Sus. License$3,839$2,632
Defective Equipment$3,726$2,591
Seat Belt$3,701$2,464
Speeding under 15$3,689$2,559
Passing School Bus$3,413$2,984
Cell Phone$3,385$2,431
Leaving scene of an Accident/Hit and Run$3,381$2,389
Vehicle Theft$3,353$1,730
See More

Bristol West car insurance rates with violations

Bristol West specializes in providing more insurance options to drivers with violations on their records. As a smaller company, each customer is paired with an insurance agent who can work with a driver individually in securing coverage despite their challenging driving history. 
While this catered insurance service can be beneficial for high-risk drivers, having a DUI or several speeding tickets in your driving history will inevitably increase your cost of coverage. Here are some average prices Bristol West customers paid for insurance coverage with varying violations:
Driving InfractionAnnual Cost
Annual Savings With Jerry
Clean Record$2,168$924
Eluding Police$4,427$1,715
Reckless Driving$3,257$1,939
Illegal Turn$2,844$1,539
Open Container$2,605$1,518
Wrong Way/Wrong Lane$2,906$1,132
Improper Passing$2,823$1,210
Speeding over 15$2,765$1,191
Careless Driving$2,734$1,201
Failure to Obey Traffic Sign$2,713$1,168
Racing/Drag Racing$2,426$1,422
Driving on Sus. License$2,632$1,207
Defective Equipment$2,591$1,135
Seat Belt$2,464$1,237
Speeding under 15$2,559$1,130
Passing School Bus$2,984$428
Cell Phone$2,431$954
Leaving scene of an Accident/Hit and Run$2,389$993
Vehicle Theft$1,730$1,624

Bristol West car insurance cost with a DUI

Drivers who have received a DUI conviction pay an average annual rate of 4.52%for car insurance with Bristol West. Compared to the average rate for drivers without a DUI, this is about a 4.52% increase. 

Bristol West car insurance cost with a speeding ticket

Drivers who have received a recent speeding ticket pay an average annual rate of 12.85% on car insurance with Bristol West. Compared to the average rate for drivers without a ticket, this is an increase of 12.85%. With each additional speeding ticket, rates will only continue to increase. 

Bristol West car insurance rates by age 

As with many insurance companies, age can have a heavy impact on your Bristol West insurance costs. Here is a closer look at how different age groups’ average annual rates compare among Bristol West drivers:

Bristol West car insurance cost for young drivers 

It can be difficult to find cheap car insurance for a young driver under 25 because teenage drivers are statistically three times more likely to get into an accident than older drivers. When insurers take on a young driver, they take on more risk, which results in higher premiums to offset potential claims. 
Compared to most other major insurers, like Progressive and State Farm, as well as the national average, Bristol West has higher average annual costs for drivers between 18 and 20. For a high-risk insurer, this is to be expected—especially considering Bristol West insures a greater number of teen drivers with tickets on their record. 
Bristol West does offer student-away discounts, however, which can help younger drivers pay lower premiums if they attend school 100 miles or more from where their car is garaged. 

Where is Bristol West insurance the cheapest?

You will generally see the lowest rates for Bristol West premiums in Arizona and Wyoming, but you can still find competitive rates as a high-risk driver in 41 other states, including D.C. Here’s a look at average annual premiums for Bristol West insurance in each of its covered states:
North Dakota$1,209
West Virginia$1,306
South Dakota$1,326
North Carolina$1,413
New Hampshire$1,636
New Mexico$1,707
South Carolina$1,820
Rhode Island$1,835
District Of Columbia$2,015
New Jersey$2,109
New York$2,888
See More

Bristol West car insurance discounts 

One of the best ways to save money on your premiums is by applying for a discount through your Bristol West insurance agent. Fortunately, Bristol West has more discounts available than you might expect for a company of its smaller size. 
Here are the discounts Bristol West offers:
CategoryDiscountDescriptionAverage savings
Vehicle-basedSafe car discountEquip your vehicle with factory-installed safety features, like anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, daytime running lights, and passive restraints for discounted rates.Varies, not available in all states
Student away at school discountIf you’re going to school at least 100 miles from where your car is garaged, you could save on premiums.Varies
Driver-basedSafe driver discountMaintaining a clean record for the past three years can result in a discounted premium.As much as 15% depending on the state
Defensive driver discountFor those 55 and older: successful completion of a state-approved defensive driving course can help lower your rates.As much as 10% depending on the state
Continuously insured discountMaintaining continuous coverage for at least six months to a year before joining Bristol West might give you better rates.Varies
Policy-basedBundlingThough Bristol West only offers auto insurance, you can bundle with home, renters, or other insurance from its affiliates, Foremost or Farmers, to save money.Varies
Multi-car discountCovering more than two vehicles in your household through Bristol West can earn each vehicle a small discount.Varies
Go paperlessBristol West awards discounts to drivers who elect to receive policy documents via email rather than mail.Varies
Payment-basedPaid-in-full discountPaying your premium in full at the start of your policy can result in slightly lower costs.Varies
Auto-pay discountSetting up automatic billing can qualify you for a small discount.Varies

Bristol West auto insurance coverage options

Bristol West offers a respectable list of state-required and additional coverages.
Here are the mandated coverages Bristol West offers:  
If you’d like to strengthen your policy with additional protection, here are some more coverage options from Bristol West: 
  • Comprehensive coverage: A very important and popular coverage to add on, comprehensive insurance pays for damages from non-collision forces like severe weather, vandalism, and theft. 
  • Collision coverage: Collision coverage takes care of damages to your vehicle if you strike another vehicle or stationary object. 
  • Towing coverage and roadside assistance: Subject to a maximum usage limit, Bristol West offers free towing assistance services if your vehicle breaks down or needs a jump. 
  • Rental reimbursement: If your car is totaled, breaks down, or is stolen, Bristol West will reimburse rental car fees at a rate of $50 per day for 30 days. 
  • Trailer damage coverage: Drivers who attach trailers to their covered vehicle can receive up to $500 of trailer liability coverage to protect against physical damages. 
  • Rental car coverage: When you rent a car while traveling, your Bristol West insurance coverage will apply to your rental vehicle. 
  • Rideshare coverage: If you’re an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare driver, or if you drive for Uber Eats, you can extend your Bristol West policy and coverages to protect you on the job. 
  • Permissive user coverage: You can write another driver’s name into your Bristol West policy to give them permissive use to your coverage while driving your vehicle. 
Note that not all coverages are available in all states or every policy. To get a better idea of what coverage and discount options you can select, get in touch with a Bristol West insurance agent. 

Additional insurance products from Bristol West 

SR-22 and FR-44 certificates 

Though every insurance company can file an SR-22 certificate (or FR-44 insurance in Florida and Virginia), Bristol West is much more dedicated to doing so as a non-standard, high-risk insurer. 
An SR-22 essentially proves to the state or court that you are financially responsible. Though an SR-22/FR-44 doesn’t provide coverage, it is typically required alongside liability coverage after certain serious convictions—like a DUI or reckless driving. If you’re in a situation where an SR-22/FR-44 is a requirement for you to drive again, Bristol West agents are well-prepared to include it or add it to your policy. 

Bristol West mobile app 

The Bristol West mobile app is free, highly convenient, and well-rated (just like Jerry!). To use it, download Bristol West Insurance for Apple or Android devices, log in to your Bristol West account (or create one), and you’ll be able to: 
  • View digital ID cards 
  • View policy information 
  • Report and check in on claims 
  • Make payments and manage payment methods
  • Find your insurance agent’s contact info 

Text alerts

As a Bristol West customer, you can opt to receive text message alerts for upcoming and missed payments. This can be an easy way to help yourself remember payment due dates if you’re prone to forgetting them—Bristol West will also continue sending email or mail notifications regardless of whether you sign up. Just be aware that carrier message and data rates may apply. 

Auto fraud hotline

As a high-risk insurance company, Bristol West is very alert when it comes to potential insurance fraud. Not only does insurance fraud cost insurers significant sums of money annually, but it also costs policyholders about 10 cents for every dollar they pay on their premiums. 
To help Bristol West prevent insurance fraud, customers can report it to Bristol West’s Auto Fraud hotline at 1-888-662-6616
To avoid becoming a victim of insurance fraud yourself, be sure to follow Bristol West’s tips, as well: 
  • Don’t tailgate 
  • Take notes and pictures after an accident 
  • Get names and addresses of witnesses 
  • Contact Bristol West and law enforcement if a collision seems to be set up

Commercial auto policy 

Bristol West offers commercial auto insurance in select states, which can cover small businesses (sole proprietors, corporations, and partnerships) with up to nine vehicles. 
This can provide liability coverage for employees or vehicles that wouldn’t normally be eligible for a personal auto insurance policy. Though discounts for commercial auto policies differ from Bristol West’s personal car insurance options, commercial coverage still has a Text Alert program and makes use of eSignatures for policy documents. 

Bristol West payment options 

Bristol West has many methods through which you can pay your premiums:
  • Enroll in Direct Debit/Electronic Funds Transfer auto-pay program
  • Mail or overnight payments to these listed addresses—send checks or money orders
  • Call the 24/7 Phone Pay and Billing Line at 1-888-888-0080 
  • Make payments through Bristol West’s mobile app 
  • Make a one-time payment online through Bristol West’s website
You can use a credit or debit card for all digital transactions. Note that a convenience fee is added for payments over the phone. You can also make payments through MoneyGram, Western Union Quick Collect, or directly to your agent/producer

Key Takeaways

  • Bristol West offers more coverage to high-risk drivers who may have limited insurance options elsewhere.
  • There are ample ways to make payments with Bristol West.
  • Bristol West has a higher complaint ratio than the national average, specifically regarding claim delays.
  • Bristol West isn’t the best option for drivers with a clean record—there are cheaper rates from more mainstream insurers.
  • Bristol West’s smaller size means more personalized guidance from a dedicated agent. 
Bristol West has strong financial backing from its parent company, Farmers Insurance Group.

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