Direct Auto Insurance Review 2020

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Direct Auto Insurance Company is an auto insurer owned by Direct General Group. Since 1991, this Tennessee-based insurer has specialized in auto coverage for high-risk motorists.

The company offers bare-bones plans to people who have trouble finding insurance coverage with other companies based on their spotty driving history. Direct covers 11 states, mostly in the South. While Direct auto insurance reviews may be smaller in number than reviews of big providers like Allstate and Geico, there is still enough information to evaluate this company and decide if it’s the best option for you.

Although Direct might not be the top auto insurer in many places it’s available, people who need high-risk auto insurance will appreciate the policies the company offers its customers.

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Direct auto insurance overview

Direct auto insurance offers insurance to drivers who may be ineligible for auto insurance coverage from other insurers. If the driver is considered high-risk or requires a SR-22, Direct might be the best option.

The company offers individualized rates based on the location, driver and vehicle. If desired, Direct can help customers find the minimum amount of insurance (i.e. liability) that is required in their state, and the company also offers insurance options like personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage.

Unfortunately, Direct does not come out on top when looking at industry evaluations. In fact, J.D. Power did not even mention Direct in their 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.

The Better Business Bureau gave the company a C+ rating and notes 97 negative Direct auto insurance reviews over the last three years. AM Best rates Direct as an A- in terms of financial strength.

Direct auto insurance rates

Like most auto insurers, the rates that Direct offers customers are individualized. Anyone interested in Direct auto insurance should use the company’s online quote tool or call the customer line at 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732).

For this review, we created a generic profile with Direct’s online quote tool to get a sense of the company’s rates. Our profile is based on a 30-year-old male living in San Antonio insuring a 2010 Toyota Corolla Sedan for one driver who is accident- and claims-free.

  • Basic plan: Down payment of $81.28 and then 11 monthly payments of $98.52. Includes personal auto insurance.
  • Value plan: Down payment of $81.28 and then 11 monthly payments of $109.97. Includes personal auto insurance and roadside assistance.
  • Plus plan: Down payment of $79.00 and then 11 monthly payments of $122.17. Includes personal auto insurance, roadside assistance and emergency protection plan.

The Simple Dollar’s Direct auto insurance review

Direct coverage options

Direct’s available coverage may vary by location, but the insurer offers three main options. The basic plan just includes personal auto insurance. The value plan includes personal auto insurance and roadside assistance. The plus plan includes personal auto insurance, roadside assistance and the company’s emergency protection plan.

Aside from the regular coverage options like liability, comprehensive and collision, Direct offers a range of additional coverage options, such as medical payments, personal injury protection, uninsured motorist, rental reimbursement, towing and accidental death.

Direct discounts

Direct splits its discounts up into three sections: driver discounts, vehicle discounts and policy discounts.
Driver discounts:

  • Military
  • Safe driver
  • Good student
  • Senior citizen

Vehicle discounts:

  • Multi-car
  • Mileage

Policy discounts:

  • Affinity
  • Homeowner
  • Multi-product
  • Prior coverage
  • Welcome back

Other unique features

Direct is unique in that it will offer auto insurance to motorists who are considered to be high-risk and to motorists who require a SR-22. Aside from the company’s willingness to cover people with marks on their driving records, Direct is fairly average to below-average in terms of its features.

Direct’s competition

For the list of competitors, we found insurers who commonly offer high-risk auto insurance plans throughout the southern United States for comparison. Because J.D. Power technically rated all of them higher than Direct—who failed to receive a rating—each one of these competitors is worth getting a quote from if it is available in the area.

  • Allstate: Allstate is another household name in the auto insurance industry with policies that cover the needs of most drivers. This company offers substantial safe driving bonuses, so anyone without a spotty driving record will benefit from the savings. The J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study 2019 rated Allstate auto insurance three out of five in overall satisfaction.
  • Geico: Geico offers all of the major coverages including bodily injury and property damage liability. More recently, Geico has also been offering coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers, as well. The J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study 2019 rated the company three out of five in overall satisfaction.
  • Progressive: Progressive offers coverage across all 50 states and Washington D.C., and this insurer is a solid option for drivers who are looking for discounts on their auto insurance. The J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study 2019 rated Progressive auto insurance three out of five in overall satisfaction.
  • State Farm: State Farm is the largest auto insurer in the United States. State Farm offers comprehensive coverage, but people who get a quote may find the company’s rates higher than most. In The Simple Dollar’s State Farm quote comparison, the company’s rates were found to be more expensive than comparable companies. The J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study 2019 rated State Farm auto insurance three out of five in overall satisfaction.

What others are saying

Concerning Direct Auto Insurance Company’s parent organization, Direct General, Consumer Advocate said, “As evidenced by a substantial number of complaints filed against the company’s private passenger insurance in 2016, Direct General—although financially stable and solvent—has had some issues regarding payments on auto insurance claims. Despite negative customer feedback, the company remains a solid choice for those seeking affordable high-risk coverages and additional services such as towing and roadside assistance.”

In 2017, Direct Auto Insurance Company came under fire for allegedly discriminating against people with disabilities. Attorney General Lisa Madigan said, “Revoking or refusing to provide services to a person based on a disability is not only unacceptable but it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under this settlement, Direct Auto will end its discriminatory practices and provide equal access to coverage for people with disabilities.”

As a result of this attention from the attorney general, Direct changed its policies and no longer asks customers to disclose diabilities, include nondiscrimination provisions in policies and gave staff training on how to avoid discrimination.

The bottom line

Direct auto insurance is a solid choice for people who are considered high-risk drivers or who require SR-22 considerations. Because this insurer only covers 11 states and receives a substantial amount of complaints, high-risk drivers are probably the only ones who will be well suited for Direct auto insurance.

Julian Dossett
Julian Dossett
Contributing Writer

Julian writes about what’s coming next, covering stories from artificial intelligence to cryptocurrency. He lives with his wife in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Whenever he has a day off, Julian can be found at Isotopes Stadium watching the ballgame.