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Bristol West 2019 Auto Insurance Review: Rates, Claims Satisfaction, and Coverage

BravoDollar Editor rating:

Summary:  

Bristol West, part of the Farmers Insurance Group, is an auto insurance company that was founded in 1973 and specializes in insurance for high-risk drivers. While the company originally provided insurance to Florida, it is now headquartered in Pasadena, California. The company sells auto insurance in 42 states through its agents and brokers. It is very difficult to find a claims satisfaction rating for this company because it is left off of most reputable claims satisfaction surveys; however, most surveys that include this company agree that the overwhelming majority of customers are disappointed to highly disappointed with the company’s customer service.

Pros:

  • Specializes in high risk drivers which is great for people who need this type of insurance.
  • Bristol West has a 24/7 online claims service.
  • Offers SR-22 and FR-44 Insurance.
  • Bristol West has excellent financial strength with an A rating by A.M. Best. Offers more perks than other high-risk insurance companies.
  • Offer a low-down payment and a flexible payment plan to make insurance affordable.
  • The company offers a Dynamic Deductible Program.  This means that your deductible is reduced by $100 for each year that you renew your policy.
  • Bristol West offers Accident as well as Towing & Labor Coverage.

Cons:

  • Some of their customers have experienced price increases without a prior explanation.
  • Rates not good for good drivers.
  • You must purchase policy through an insurance agent instead of directly from the company.

Bristol West in an auto insurance company that specializes in providing insurance for high risk drivers. The company is considered to be a leader in providing liability insurance to these drivers. You can often get a quote from this insurance company even if you cannot get a quote from many others. Furthermore, Bristol West is known to offer more perks, discounts, and benefits than many high-risk insurance companies. Therefore, this insurance company is good for people who have had their license suspended, have a number of tickets, have been in an accident, or for some other reason find themselves classified as a high-risk driver.

The Value Equation ($$$)

Price is one of the most important factors for consumers when they are searching for automobile insurance. This is especially true if you are a high-risk driver because high risk drivers notoriously pay more for auto insurance. Still, Bristol West bases your rates on many of the same criteria as other car insurance companies such as age, location, coverage choices, driving history, and type of vehicle.  Purchasing the cheapest insurance may not meet all of your coverage needs.

To get a quote from Bristol West, you must contact an agent.  You cannot generate a quote from Bristol West over the internet. Enter your zip code in the ‘Find an Agent or Broker’ slot for the name, address, and phone number of nearby agents.

Here is a quick glimpse of how Bristol West’s premiums compare with Farmers, AllState, and Progressive.

 ProgressiveAllStateFarmersBristol-West
20s$2,247$2,590$1,985$2,978
30s$2,253$2,596$1,990$2,744
With an at-fault accident$2,211$2,256$1,674$2,389

Bristol West is known for having higher rates for good drivers. In fact, Bristol West’s rates are actually quite competitive in all categories compared with larger insurers like Progressive and AllState. It is important to note that Bristol West may be willing to offer insurance to consumers who Farmers and Progressive are not.

Discounts

Although Bristol West’s rates are high due to the fact that they concentrate on insuring high-risk drivers, the company does offer some discounts.  Some of the discounts the auto insurance company offers are the following:

  • Continuous Insurance Discount – if you do not have any lapses in coverage, you may qualify for a lower rate.
  • Homeowner Discount – You can get a discount for being a homeowner.  Because Bristol West does not sell property insurance, you can get your home insured anywhere you like.
  • Multi-Car & Multi-Policy Discount– You qualify for having more than one car insured with Bristol West, either on the same insurance policy or on different policies.
  • Student Discounts – Bristol west offers discounts for student.  Talk to an agent to find out which discounts are available for which you may qualify.
  • Safe Driver Discounts – Bristol West also offers discounts for being a safe driver.  Avoiding tickets and accidents can get you a better rate.
  • Paperless Discount – get a discount for going paperless.
  • Vehicle Safety Features Discounts – If your vehicle has certain safety features such as anti-lock brakes, and air bags, you may qualify for a discount.
  • Driving Course Discounts – Bristol West rewards you with a discount for taking approved driving courses.

Like with other auto insurance companies, the discounts that you qualify for with Bristol West are mostly determined when you obtain the policy.  However, you can add discounts you become eligible for later to help reduce your rate. Discounts are determined by a variety of personal factors such as your driving record, the type of vehicle you have, and whether or not you own a home.  Furthermore, you must remain qualified for the discounts throughout the life of the policy to continue to receive most discounts.

Claims Satisfaction

An auto insurance company’s claims satisfaction rating is just as important as price when searching for a quality insurance company.  Consumer Affairs  rated Bristol West 1.5 stars out of 5 stars.  Consumer Affairs is not affiliated with the government; it is a website that issues Buyer Guides, Consumer News and Reviews.

How easy is it to file a claim with Bristol West?

Coverage Options

CoverageBristol WestState Farm GEICO
Liability
Physical Damage
Uninsured Motorist
Medical Payments Coverage
Comprehensive
Collision
Roadside Assistance
Rental Reimbursement

Bristol West also offers insurance for custom equipment that may be in your car.

Other Insurance

Bristol West solely provides insurance for private passenger automobiles.

Website Experience

Bristol West’s website is not as sophisticated as the Farmers Insurance website or that of other large car insurance companies.  In fact, it may not be suitable for a smaller auto insurance company either. There is little to no information on the company’s website about your coverage options, the discounts you can qualify for or rates.  The company wants you to discuss these specifics with an agent; however, it would be helpful to have some information to look over before discussing what you would like with an agent. Notwithstanding, on its website, you can view your ID card, make a payment, or report and view that status of a claim.

The Bottom Line

  • Bristol West is an auto insurance company that specializes in offering insurance to high risk drivers. The company offers both SR-22 and FR-44 Insurance. The company offers a number of perks and discounts to make car insurance more affordable.
  • Bristol West is known for having higher rates; however, Bristol’s rates are competitive, at least for average drivers. Good drivers can still find cheaper rates with out car insurance companies.
  • A consumer cannot go to Bristol West’s website and find a description of their services, their discounts, and their rates.  A consumer must contact an agent to get the answers to any of these questions.
  • Bristol West has a very low customer satisfaction rating with Consumer Affairs giving it 1.5 out of 5 stars.
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