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Last updated: July 17, 2024

Bristol West Insurance Review 2024

Nonstandard insurance that works in a pinch, including for rideshare drivers

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Some drivers find it difficult to get insured. Bristol West may be the answer if your driving, insurance, or credit history impacts your ability to purchase an auto insurance policy. A member of Farmers Insurance Group, Bristol West specializes in private passenger and nonstandard auto insurance. Its premiums are much higher than average, but that’s not uncommon for high-risk drivers. See if Bristol West covers your circumstances—and how much it will cost you.

We named Bristol West the best rideshare coverage for high risk drivers. In addition, we’ve reviewed the best auto insurance companies for high-risk drivers and the best auto insurance for teens (who are often considered higher risk).

Bristol West Auto Insurance Review

Quick Look: Bristol West Pros & Cons


  • Nonstandard insurance for high-risk drivers, including drivers with low credit, no insurance history, DUIs, or traffic violations

  • Text alerts

  • Works with insurance agents/brokers

  • Rideshare coverage


  • High premiums even for minimum coverage

  • No coverage in Alaska, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, DC, or West Virginia

Who is Bristol West Auto Insurance Best For?

Here’s the deal: Bristol West will not be the cheapest quote you get. However, if your circumstances prevent you from purchasing a standard auto insurance policy, then cost may not be the most important factor to consider. Bristol West offers nonstandard insurance for high-risk drivers, which includes the following classification categories:

  • No prior insurance history: Bristol West accepts nearly all customers regardless of whether they have had insurance coverage.
  • Require SR-22 or FR-44s: These forms certify you have liability insurance for your vehicle (usually following a DUI, a conviction for driving without insurance, etc.). You can request an SR-22/FR-44 when you purchase a policy or add it to an existing policy provided you maintain liability insurance coverage.
  • Low credit scores: Bristol West offers insurance to customers with poor credit or no credit history.
  • History of violations or accidents: Bristol West offers insurance to drivers with multiple traffic violations, at-fault accidents, and DUIs.

How Much Does Bristol West Auto Insurance Cost?

If none of the above high-risk circumstances apply to you, I suggest looking elsewhere for insurance coverage. Bristol West’s premiums are just too high without extenuating circumstances. For a minimum coverage (liability only) policy, you should expect to pay $1,770 and for full coverage, Bristol West runs you an average of $4,453. Compared to the national average, Bristol West’s minimum coverage is 224 percent higher and its full coverage is 131 percent higher. Now, the main advantage of Bristol West is its willingness to cover drivers in less-than-ideal circumstances. Here’s what you should expect to pay:

  • After an at-fault crash: $6,133
  • After a speeding ticket: $5,775
Company Average annual premium for full coverage Average annual premium for minimum coverage
Bristol West $4,453 $1,770
National Average $1,924 $547
AAA $2,211 $894
Allstate $2,639 $597
American Family $1,785 $713
Erie $1,495 $483
Farmers $2,320 $634
GAINSCO $2,221 $800
GEICO $1,572 $413
The General $3,069 $1,606
Kemper Auto $2,258 $963
Nationwide $1,805 $613
Progressive $1,891 $481
State Farm $1,697 $482


Here’s a full guide to Bristol West car insurance prices.

How You Can Save On Your Policy With Bristol West

Bristol West does not offer as many discounts on auto insurance as larger, more mainstream providers; however, here are four ways to save with discounts from Bristol West:

  • Sign up for automatic payments
  • Go paperless
  • Maintain a good driving record
  • Buy multiple policies from Bristol West, Farmers, or Foremost Insurance

Payment Options

Payment plans don’t necessarily save you money, but can help you budget. You can opt to pay your premium in installments and Bristol West will provide you a payment plan that includes additional installment fees. You can avoid paying those fees on future payments by paying your policy balance in full, or by making your installment payment at least one month in advance.

One offering I like is Bristol West’s text alert program. You can enroll to receive texts on your phone reminding you to make a payment or when you miss a payment (before your policy gets cancelled).

Here are the ways you can pay your Bristol West policy:

  • Online via checking account, debit card, or credit card with no processing fees
  • Via an automated phone system (1-888-888-0080) with a convenience fee for processing one-time payments added to your current installment payment
  • On the phone with a service operations advocate between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm local time with a convenience fee for processing one-time payments added to your current installment payment (same number as above)
  • Automatically through your checking account, savings account, debit card, or credit card each month
  • Through the mail:
    • Customers in Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas:
    • Bristol West Insurance Group
    • PO Box 7142
    • Pasadena, CA 91109-7142

    • Customers in all other states:
    • Bristol West Insurance Group
    • PO Box 371329
    • Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7329

    • Overnight Payments:
    • Bristol West Insurance Group
    • 1300 Concord Terrace,
    • Suite 120 Sunrise,
    • FL 33323
  • To your agent directly
  • Through the nearest Western Union Quick Collect (City code: POLICY, State Code: FL)
  • At a MoneyGram retail payment location (receive code: 4978)


You may use a prepaid debit or credit card to pay your Bristol West premium provided it is a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express product.

Getting A Quote From Bristol West

Bristol West’s insurance offerings may not be standard, but its quote process is pretty typical. You can start a quote from Bristol West online by submitting your zip code.

Bristol West Access Your Policy

You can also use Bristol West’s website to search for a local agent or broker. Either can help you obtain an insurance policy.

Bristol West Find an Agent or Broker


The main difference between an insurance agent vs. insurance broker is that agents work for the insurance carrier (Bristol West) while the broker works for the consumer (you).

What Types of Auto Insurance Coverage Does Bristol West Offer?

Bristol West offers the following required and optional auto insurance coverages:

  • Liability coverage pays the cost of the other driver’s property and bodily injury expenses if you are at-fault in an accident
  • Comprehensive coverage provides reimbursement for physical damage from events out of your control, like theft, vandalism, or natural disasters
  • Collision covers damage when your vehicle collides with another car or object, regardless of who is at-fault
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) protects you if the person at-fault has no insurance or not enough insurance
  • Rental reimbursement pays up to $50 per day for up to 30 days for a rental car after a covered loss
  • Medical payments pays up to $10,000 if you need medical care due to a car accident (editor’s note: other companies, like Progressive, go up to $25,000)
  • Non-owner insurance, if you don’t own a car but want or need to maintain insurance coverage (for example, in order to file an SR-22)
  • Rideshare coverage to extend your personal auto insurance limits and coverage if you use your personal vehicle for a gig
  • Towing and roadside assistance applied to each disablement on a covered vehicle up to your policy limit
  • Permissive user coverage, which gives a driver permission to use your vehicle and extends them coverage
  • $500 trailer physical damage coverage if attached to a covered vehicle
  • Rental car coverage equal to your personal, Bristol West insured vehicle

Bristol West: Customer Satisfaction Data

Unfortunately, Bristol West’s customer satisfaction data is less-than-satisfactory. The company’s NAIC score, which measures customer complaints via a market index, is 4.49. That means Bristol West receives over 4 times as many complaints as expected in the insurance market. When I filtered by personal passenger vehicle complaints, Bristol West earned 2.03 which is better, but still means it has twice as high a complaint index as expected in the overall insurance market.1

Bristol West did not appear on any of J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction reports, which to me is an indication of its market share and not necessarily its customer service ratings; however, a quick internet search led me to a number of negative reviews on websites like Reddit and Better Business Bureau.

Now for the positive news: one of the most important things to look for in an insurance company, especially high-risk drivers, is financial stability. Bristol West received a financial stability rating of A (excellent) from AM Best.2 That means you can rely on Bristol West to pay out claims.

Category Plymouth Rock
NAIC Complaint Index 4.03 (High)
AM Best A (Excellent)

Filing A Claim With Bristol West

Like most providers, Bristol West allows you to file a claim online. The benefit is you can file a claim 24/7, instead of speaking to a representative during business hours only (although you can still call someone toll-free via 1-800-274-7865).

Bristol West’s Website And Mobile App

Unlike most carrier websites, Bristol West lets you make a payment, report a claim, and view your insurance ID without logging in. I think that’s a helpful feature, especially if you’re the type of person who forgets passwords or misplaces login information. You will, of course, need to provide identifying information…

Bristol West Quick Links

To make a payment, you’ll need your account/policy number and zip code to start.

Bristol West Make a one-time payment

As discussed above, you can report a claim online or on the phone and check on the status of that claim online or via your claims representative.

Bristol West Claims Service

Bristol West View Your Claim

To view your insurance ID card, provide your zip code and two of three pieces of identifying information requested: last name, date of birth, and policy number.

Bristol West View ID Card

Another note about Bristol West’s website is that the information is not always where you think it should be. Often, I had to Google a specific question in order to find the answer on Bristol West’s website hidden in an FAQ.

On the app side, Bristol West receives 4.7 out of 5 on the App Store (Apple devices) and 3.7 out of 5 on the Google Play store (Android devices). This is a pretty big discrepancy, so I looked at the ratings and reviews on both platforms.

Apple users note affordable rates and good customer service in difficult situations. In January 2024, one user wrote: “the app is very easy to use and navigate….It doesn’t freeze up or crash. Making payments and getting proof of insurance is quick and easy.”

Android users are less-than-thrilled with the app’s performance—especially when it comes to making payments—which leads me to believe it works better and/or was developed first for iPhone users. Here’s what someone said in February 2024: “This app not only doesn’t update after a payment is made by credit/debit card, it randomly removes your debit/credit card information that was previously there for months.”

Here’s a rundown of what you can expect to be able to do on your mobile device:

  • Review your bills and make payments
  • Access auto insurance ID cards
  • View your policy
  • Find your agent
App Rating (out of 5)
Bristol West Insurance iPhone — 4.7 stars

Android — 3.7 stars

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Bristol West for high-risk drivers?

Yes, Bristol West offers policies for high-risk drivers and drivers with no credit or auto insurance coverage history.

Is Bristol West Standard or non-standard?

Bristol West specializes in private passenger and non-standard insurance targeted at drivers in unique situations.

Does Bristol West have a grace period?

Bristol West does not appear to offer a grace period for payments; however, the company may consider a reinstatement without a lapse for customers who make a late payment.

Are Farmers and Bristol West the same company?

Bristol West is a member of Farmers Insurance Group, which makes Bristol West and Farmers part of the same company, though they operate as separate brands.

Methodology – How We Review Insurance Companies

I use a combination of proprietary data and market research to review insurance companies and determine which consumers may fit best with which types of policies and providers. Bristol West has a pretty specific set of customers, mainly those who are classified as “high-risk,” so I could not go through a full quote or claims process for you. That said, I was able to determine average prices through our internal data sets so you get an idea of what your premium might cost. Bristol West also offers a lot of information on their payment options which I think is helpful if your premium will be above average.

Here are the overall categories of research I analyzed:

  • Pricing and coverage: I reviewed the coverage options and discounts Bristol West provides as well as its prices compared to other auto insurance companies.
  • Customer experience: I could not provide my first-hand experience as I do not use Bristol West; however, I scoured reviews on third-party websites including the App Store and Google Play store to see what customers are saying about Bristol West.
  • Claims handling: I looked into financial stability ratings to determine whether Bristol West has the means to pay claims and customer reviews on their claims experience.
  • Industry ratings and reviews: Most of my usual sources of industry ratings offered little in the way of information about Bristol West, but I looked at the NAIC complaint index as a jumping off point.
  • Digital tools and technology: I spent a lot of time on Bristol West’s website to determine the ease of its online account management features.


  1. Bristol W Ins Co National Complaint Index Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2024).

  2. Bristol West Insurance Company. AM Best. (2023, Jun 23).