National General Auto Insurance Review: High Rates but Some Fantastic Discounts

National General Auto Insurance Review: High Rates but Some Fantastic Discounts

National General

National General charges twice as much as competitors for the same coverage, based on our analysis of sample quotes, and it receives twice as many consumer complaints as the national average. Unless you qualify for some of National General's unique discounts, such as its RV and General Motors discounts, you'll likely want to look elsewhere.

Our review of National General auto insurance aims to help you decide if the company is a good fit for your insurance needs.

Best for Affordable Rates

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Best for Great Service

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Overview of National General Insurance

National General's high rates and poor customer service reputation make it a bad fit for any driver who does not qualify for any of the discounts on its extensive list.

National General falls short in the two areas drivers value most: affordable rates and solid customer service. We compared National General's rates to those offered by three other major national insurers, looking at quotes for male and female drivers at three different ages. Our analysis found that National General's rates were nearly double and sometimes triple what Geico, the insurer with the cheapest rates for adult drivers included in our study, charged. Similarly, the number of consumer complaints it received was nearly double the national average.

Profile
National General
Geico
Percent increase
18-year-old male$15,260$7,602101%
18-year-old female$15,298$7,88294%
42-year-old male$4,822$1,170312%
42-year-old female$4,852$1,491225%
75-year-old male$4,220$1,944117%
75-year-old female$4,048$1,825122%
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National General also does not have a car insurance mobile app. Drivers who participate in its SmartDrive telematics monitoring program will use a third-party app called Routely. Policyholders will have to file their car insurance claim and pay for their policy online or via phone. If accessing your policy or filing a claim via mobile app is something you want from your insurer, you'll need to look elsewhere.

However, some unique discounts and features can help offset National General's high prices. The company offers a great discount to RV drivers: 20% off if you insure both vehicles with National General, and if you're involved in an accident where both vehicles are damaged, National General will waive one deductible. The company is also willing to file an SR-22 form on behalf of its policyholders.

Additionally, drivers with connections to General Motors can receive discounts from National General. National General started as the Motors Insurance Company founded by General Motors and until 2013, it was known as GMAC Insurance. This relationship enables the company to offer lower rates to customers who have a relationship with the car manufacturer. Shoppers should note that Allstate has acquired National General and the deal will close in early 2021.

Another feature that distinguishes National General is its suite of SmartServices, most of which help customers manage the repairs process after a covered accident. The most unique feature is the SmartValet service, which picks up your car after a covered accident, brings you a rental car, and then returns both the rental and your own car once repairs are completed.

Bottom line: There's no reason to pay more for an auto insurance policy from a company with mediocre customer service. Check out National General's discounts, and if they don't apply to you, shop around for a more affordable policy.

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National General auto insurance coverages

National General offers several nonstandard coverages that customers can add to their policy. These nonstandard coverages include:

Coverage
Explanation
Rental reimbursementHelps cover the cost of a rental car when your car is being repaired for a covered accident
Roadside assistanceCovers the cost of roadside services, such as gasoline delivery. Note that all policies include towing and storage of covered vehicles after an accident
Locksmith serviceCovers up to $50 for a locksmith to replace or retrieve a key from inside a locked car
Accidental death and dismemberment coverageOffers coverage if you lose a limb or die in a covered accident
Auto protection plan Covers the cost of unexpected repairs to your car
Mexico insurance coverageCovers liability costs if you drive to Mexico and get into an accident
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In addition to these nonstandard coverages, National General offers the following standard coverages to its auto insurance customers:

  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage liability
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Medical payments
  • Uninsured motorist
  • Underinsured motorist
  • Personal injury protection

National General also offers several unique benefits to attract and retain policyholders. These benefits include:

Benefit
Explanation
Emergency servicesIf you're stranded after a covered emergency, National General will provide up to $250 in food, lodging and travel expenses.
Lifetime guarantee on repairsIf you have rental reimbursement coverage in place, National General will provide a lifetime guarantee on comprehensive and collision repairs made at any of its Gold Medal Repair Shops.
Guaranteed claims service satisfactionIf you are not satisfied with National General claims service, the company will waive up to $250 of your deductible.
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Highlighted features: National General SmartServices and National General Motor Club

National General also offers SmartServices, a suite of specialized services designed to elevate the customer service experience. These services include:

SmartService
Explanation
SmartAssistCovers roadside services, including towing up to the specified coverage limit
SmartDrivePicks you up and covers a rental vehicle comparable to your own if yours is damaged in a covered accident
SmartInspectCovers vehicle inspection at the location of your choice after your vehicle receives repairs for a covered accident
SmartReplacementConnects you with an expert who can help you identify a replacement car after a claim and offer you special pricing on GM vehicles
SmartValetDrops off a rental car and takes your damaged vehicle to the shop for repairs. After repairs, National General returns your vehicle to you and returns the rental vehicle as well. Only available to customers with rental car reimbursement coverage
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Another benefit that National General offers is its branded National General Motor Club. Members of the motor club receive a number of benefits, including:

  • Trip routing and maps
  • Discounts on dining, shopping and entertainment
  • 24/7 care team support if you need assistance on the road
  • Roadside services
  • Locksmith service
  • Towing to closest repair facility
  • Trip interruption
  • Legal defense
  • Arrest bond
  • Auto theft deterrent award
  • Hospital emergency room bond
  • Vehicle repair check guarantee
  • $750 reimbursement of emergency expenses

Membership comes in three tiers — elite, standard and basic — and different tiers have different caps on the number of service claims you can make per year.

National General auto insurance discounts

Because of its relationship with General Motors, National General offers many discounts to policyholders who live in select states and have a connection to the auto manufacturer. You can qualify for these discounts by meeting one or more of the following criteria:

  • Have a GM Card, GMAC Mortgage or GMAC Auto Financing
  • Have a subscription with OnStar and keep your vehicle at a low mileage rate
  • Are a former or current GM employee
  • Are employed by a supplier or dealership that works with GM

Standard discounts are also available to National General car insurance policyholders, including:

  • Paid-in-full: Drivers who pay the full cost of their auto policy upfront get a discount.
  • Multi-vehicle discount: Drivers who insure more than one vehicle with National General get a discount.
  • Safe driver: Drivers who take a defensive-driving course get a discount.
  • RVs and auto policy: Drivers who insure both an RV and a car with National General get a discount of up to 20%, and if both vehicles are involved in a covered accident, the driver will only pay one deductible.
  • Motorcycle: Motorcycle drivers who drive safely and insure multiple motorcycles get a discount.
  • Multi-policy: Drivers who also hold another insurance policy with National General (such as home or renters) get a discount.
  • Paperless: Drivers who use paperless billing get a discount.
  • Anti-theft: Drivers who have anti-theft features installed in their vehicle get a discount.
  • Auto-pay: Drivers who use auto-pay get a discount.
  • Low mileage: Drivers who get on the road only infrequently can receive a discount, provided they're OnStar subscribers.

National General's website indicates that other vehicle insurance discounts are available in addition to the ones listed, so be sure to ask about them when you request a quote. Also bear in mind that discounts will vary based on your demographic information and driving history.

National General auto insurance rates

Of the insurance companies that we gathered quotes from, National General provided the highest rates in most cases. Teenage drivers pay particularly high premiums: Our research found that National General's annual rates for an 18-year-old driver were three times greater than Progressive's, the cheapest auto insurer for teens in our study.

Profile
National General
18-year-old male$15,260$7,602$4,330$10,849
18-year-old female$15,298$7,882$4,960$10,359
42-year-old male$4,822$1,170$1,748$4,831
42-year-old female$4,852$1,491$1,826$5,243
75-year-old male$4,220$1,944$2,338$3,110
75-year-old female$4,048$1,825$2,094$2,966
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Unless you qualify for National General's auto insurance discounts and can use them to get your premiums down, we'd recommend going with another insurer with more affordable rates. To get the best rates for your desired coverage level, be sure you're comparing quotes among multiple companies.

National General customer reviews and satisfaction

National General has a very high number of customer complaints, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) 2019 report. All of National General's subsidiaries reviewed by the NAIC received more than twice the national average number of complaints. A score of 1.0 indicates a number of complaints commensurate with the national average, while a score above 1.0 indicates a higher-than-average number of complaints.

Subsidiary
Complaint Index
National average1.0
National General Assurance Co.2.15
National General Insurance Co.3.44
National General Premier Insurance Co2.32
National General Insurance Online Inc.2.28
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National General's auto insurance ratings from J.D. Power further confirms its poor customer service reputation. Of the 25 insurers rated in the 2020 U.S. auto claims satisfaction survey, the company came in last, with a score of 815 out of 1,000.

Fortunately, National General did receive a positive rating for its financial strength from A.M. Best. This indicates the company has sufficient capital to meet its insurance obligations.

Industry reviewer
Rating
Value
J.D. PowerClaims Satisfaction Rating815/1,000
A.M. Best Rating ServicesFinancial Strength RatingA- (Excellent)
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Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.