Bristol West Overview and Key Takeaways
Are you a high-risk driver looking for auto insurance? If so, Bristol West has a sprawling network of brokers and agents across 42 states. The company is part of Farmers Insurance, one of the 10 largest US insurance providers.
- Suite of insurance policies for high-risk drivers
- Far more complaints than you would expect
- Can file SR-22s on your behalf
3.0 out of 5.0 stars
Bristol West Insurance scores 3/5 for overall performance based on pricing, transparency, ease of filing a claim, extras, discounts and customer satisfaction.
Bristol West Insurance: Services
With Bristol West auto insurance, you’ll get the usual state-required coverage along with the expected extras.
Other options from Bristol West include:
- Gap Insurance: If your car is stolen or totaled and you own more on your loan payments than the coverage, Bristol West will make up the difference minus the deductible
- Rideshare: If you drive for a rideshare firm like Lyft or Uber, rideshare insurance from Bristol West covers you for waiting between rides as well as when you have passengers in your car
- SR-22 and FR-44: If you’re required to provide a form showing you have insurance in place, Bristol West can fill in the requisite forms on your behalf
Bristol West Insurance: Discounts
You get the following discounts with Bristol West:
- Covered for at least 6 months with another insurer
- Multiple policies
- Multiple vehicles
- No claims
- Non-owner car insurance
- Policy documents by email
- Tracking devices
- Upfront payment
Bristol West Insurance: Complaints
Bristol West, like many high-risk insurance providers, attracts a higher than an average number of complaints to regulators. Here you can find some complaints on Consumer Affairs, BBB, and Yelp.
Consumer Affairs- Trent of Rexburg, Dev 4, 2020 1.0 out of 5.0 stars
Published review 12/4/20. This insurance company wanted to charge me over $300 for one vehicle. I agreed because at the time it was the cheapest option I could find. I’ve been a customer for 3 years. From the month of August this year I look at my account and my went up to $500!!! I called in and asked why? They said that my wife on the account had 2 claims. My wife has a perfect driving record. I called in Lexis Nexis and had proof that she had no claims. They said that they couldn’t do anything for that month and wanted a $500 payment for the month of August. I cancelled with them and spoke with James (the owner for Bristol West in my area) and had 2 other representatives tell me that we owed nothing 4 different times! So I was okay with this because I didn’t want to pay a bill that big.
BBB Complaint- Nov 23, 2020 1.0 out of 5.0 stars
Bristol West sent me a bill explaining to me that I would be responsible for one final payment even though they had cancelled my account with them almost immediately after my last payment was not received so they are attempting to charge me for services that were NOT RENDERED. This is simply them trying to squeeze every last penny that they can.
Yelp Complaint- Jon A, Nov 18, 2020 1.0 out of 5.0 stars
Absolute garbage! Was in my first ever accident that totaled my car. BW had to send THREE total loss packets over the course of a few weeks via FedEx because…
– The first one had a VIN that had multiple mistakes (the VIN they sent over didn’t even exist!)
– The second one had the correct VIN but someone else’s information on the packet
– The third one, after a couple weeks, was correct
Every time I called, it seemed a new rep was handling my claim yet no one called or emailed me to inform me of a transition. It was always “Oh, that person isn’t here anymore. Let me see who’s working on your claim.”
When the claim went to a 3rd party arbitrator, there was absolutely no information or feedback on all the things I had sent BW to help them win and find me not at fault (and I sent them a ton of stuff). All I got was an automated email saying my documents had been received. Not if they had been reviewed, no heads-up confirmation that the info was then sent to the 3rd party arbitrator, nothing at all. To this day I have no clue if they even looked at what I sent them let alone forwarded it to the person who would eventually decide my fate.
Terrible customer service, terrible reps handling claims, just an all-around absolutely terrible experience, especially for someone who had never been in an accident before. Pay a little extra for someone else if you need to so you don’t get caught up in an epic nightmare with Bristol West if you ever actually do have to use your car insurance.
Bristol West: What Else?
The website is basic but provides some FAQs and allows you to conduct your business online.
The mobile app lets you view your ID card, pay your premiums and manage your account on iOS and Android devices.
You get a wide choice of payment options along with a generous selection of payment terms. The more you pay upfront, the greater discount you’ll qualify for.
Bristol West Insurance: Pros and Cons
- Can provide SR-22 if needed
- Broad range of payment options
- Available in the majority of states
- Not a good fit if you’re not a high-risk driver
- Far higher number of complaints than expected