The General specifically caters to high-risk drivers who struggle to get coverage from major national insurers. However, the company’s high premiums, negative reviews and lack of meaningful discounts make The General a bad choice both for those with clean driving records and for those with some incidents. Even high-risk drivers might find another insurance company to be a better choice if they value great customer service and a painless claims process or can qualify for discounts with other insurers.
The General Insurance: support for drivers who need SR-22s, but high rates and poor service
The General offers non-standard auto insurance geared toward high-risk customers, whether it’s someone who has been involved in multiple accidents or a young driver. For instance, many insurance companies shy away from offering coverage to drivers that require an SR-22. If the driver needs an SR-22, the form is then included in the policy, meaning that the driver can file an SR-22 form in a matter of minutes.
The General brands itself as an affordable option for high-risk drivers, but our review of quotes in New York state found that competitors consistently have more affordable rates, even for young drivers or drivers who have been in an accident. If either of those describes you, it might be worth getting a quote, but be sure to check other options.
Drivers who aren’t considered high risk will find that The General provides them with mediocre insurance rates and middling customer service. Most drivers with a clean record would be able to find lower rates, higher discounts and better service through another insurance company.
On the plus side, The General has a highly rated mobile app and an online portal to make managing your policy easier. The General’s online portal, MyPolicy, provides users with basic functionalities like the ability to make payments, receive ID cards and view policy details. While none of the features are unique, they provide high-risk drivers with the same benefits that standard drivers have access to through large national insurance companies, like State Farm and Farmers.
Bottom line: The General can be a good choice for drivers who would have trouble obtaining insurance coverage through other companies. While the company lacks meaningful discounts, you won't run into any issues buying a policy and will even receive help with SR-22 filing.
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The General auto insurance rates
The General touts affordable coverage for high-risk drivers, but our quote analysis found that the company's auto insurance rates weren't especially competitive. For instance, The General charged our sample 18-year-old more than twice as much as State Farm, the cheapest insurer.
Low-risk drivers should avoid The General altogether. Geico and State Farm charged our sample 25-year-old and 30-year old drivers less than half of what The General did. You'd be better off comparing quotes from other companies.
After an at-fault accident, drivers should not expect to receive favorable rates from The General. While all insurers typically increase rates after an accident, rate increases from The General were significant — about 30% on average across the profiles we reviewed. For comparison, quotes from State Farm only increased by 20%. In addition, The General still charged the most expensive premiums overall after an accident.
How a crash affects insurance rates at The General
The General auto insurance discounts
The General's most unique discount is the double deductible discount. Available in some of the states where The General operates, the double deductible discount doubles your deductible for the first 45 days of your policy. This in turn causes your insurance costs to decrease over the same period. After that 45-day period, however, your auto insurance deductible returns to its normal level, limiting the usefulness of this discount for most customers.
In addition to the double deductible discount, The General offers a number of standard discounts you'd see from other major auto insurers, though not all discounts are available in all states. These discounts include:
How do you receive it?
|Homeowners||You’re eligible for a discount if you own a home, regardless of the insurance provider.|
|Multicar||Insure multiple vehicles with The General to receive this discount.|
|Paid in full||Pay the total cost of your policy up front instead of paying monthly.|
|Previous insurance||If you’ve had auto insurance with a company other than The General in the past five years, you might be eligible for this discount.|
|Academic achievement||Full-time students with good grades can receive a discount.|
|Defensive driving||Policyholders who complete a defensive driving course can receive this discount.|
|Passive restraint discount||If your car has factory-installed passive restraint devices, like seatbelts or airbags, you'll receive a discount.|
|Military discount||Active members of the military who live in Louisiana are eligible for this discount.|
The General auto insurance coverages
The General does not offer rental car insurance coverage. If you frequently drive rental cars, you may want to consider another insurer. However, The General also offers its policyholders all of the standard coverage options that most national insurance companies offer.
In addition, The General does offer a number of other optional coverages that customers can add to their policy. These include:
- Transportation: This optional coverage reimburses you for expenses associated with renting a vehicle if your car is involved in a covered accident. While the coverage limits vary depending on your vehicle type, you can expect coverage to start at $20 per day for a maximum of 30 days. To use The General’s rental reimbursement, your policy must include comprehensive and collision coverage, a restriction not typically imposed by other insurance companies.
- Deductible waiver — safety equipment: The deductible waiver is an optional coverage that allows drivers to file a claim and forgo paying a deductible for repairs to applicable safety equipment. Currently, the deductible waiver applies to windshields and door and window glass.
- Custom equipment: This add-on pays for damage to any aftermarket parts you've added to your car such as fog lights, bed liners and camper shells. Policyholders can add up to $5,000 of additional coverage for accessories, except in California, where the limit is $1,000. This coverage is also only available to drivers with collision and comprehensive insurance.
- 24/7 roadside assistance: This option covers roadside services, such as towing, battery replenishment, fluid delivery (gas, oil, etc.) or lock-out services.
- Hospital indemnity plan: An optional add-on that provides up to $10,000 of accidental death and dismemberment coverages, $1,000 of medical expense coverage and $125 per day of hospital indemnity for up to one year.
- OBEL (optional basic economic loss) coverage: Additional no-fault coverage that covers expenses above the basic no-fault limitation, such as loss of earnings, therapy or other forms of economic loss like health care expenses.
- Towing and labor: An add-on that covers the cost of towing your car. It is only available in some states and to cars with collision and comprehensive coverage in place.
- Income loss: Pays up to whatever coverage limits you select if you are in an accident and unable to return to work.
- Funeral benefit: Covers funeral, burial or cremation expenses if an insured individual dies from injuries within 24 months after a covered accident.
- Accidental death: Pays the family or personal representative of an insured individual who dies as the result of a covered accident.
- Combination first-party benefits: Rolls together medical expenses, income loss benefits, accidental death benefits and funeral benefits into one. The total limit is $177,500, with limits on individual categories, as well.
- Extraordinary medical benefits: Provides up to $1 million in medical and rehabilitative care. Available only to policyholders who select $100,000 in medical coverage or combination first-party benefits.
- Loan/lease payoff: Covers the difference between what your vehicle is worth at the time it is totaled or stolen and what you still owe on it. You must have collision and comprehensive in place to purchase this insurance.
Typical coverage options available through The General
- Comprehensive coverage
- Collision coverage
- Liability coverage
- Uninsured motorist property damage
- Medical payments coverage
- Personal injury protection coverage
The General Insurance reviews and complaints
In terms of the customer service experience, The General leaves much to be desired. Customers typically complain of slow claims handling or denials.
Permanent General Assurance Corporation, the company subsidiary with the greatest market share, scored a 4.02 on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) most recent Complaint Index. The national median is 1.00, so The General's NAIC score means it receives four times as many complaints as would normally be expected for an insurer of its size. Most complaints are the result of claims handling, with policyholders citing delays, claim denials and unsatisfactory settlements.
On the flip side, The General offers policyholders a solid mobile experience. Android users gave The General mobile app a 4.7 out of 5.0, and Apple users gave it the same score. If you're a high-risk driver who prefers interacting with your insurer digitally, The General could be a good choice.
|Apple App Store||4.7/5|
The General Insurance Financial Strength Rating
Policyholders can be confident about The General’s ability to pay claims, as the company is in great financial standing and was acquired by American Family, one of America's largest and most stable insurers. A.M. Best Rating Services, an insurance company rating agency, assigned The General an A Financial Strength Rating. This means that The General has an "excellent" ability to meet its financial obligations and pay out claims — even if that claims process is often slower than with other insurers.
We pulled quotes for six driver profiles: two 18-year-olds, two 25-year-olds and two 30-year-olds. One driver in each age group had been in an accident, while the other had not. Each drives 12,000 a year in a 2015 Honda Civic EX and has an average credit score. In addition to the state minimum liability requirements, the drivers had $500 in collision and comprehensive insurance.
Frequently asked questions
Is The General car insurance good?
The General is an adequate insurer for people who aren't able to get coverage elsewhere, such as drivers with bad credit or multiple tickets. However, prices tend to be high, and claim service is subpar.
Does The General have full coverage?
Yes, The General sells full coverage car insurance, including comprehensive and collision coverages, as well as less commonly seen coverages like gap coverage, income loss coverage and accidental death coverage.
Why is The General so expensive?
The General specializes in providing coverage to higher-risk drivers who are more likely to get in a crash. Insuring a lot of drivers who often make claims makes insurance more expensive for everyone who uses that insurer, not just people who make a claim.
Does The General sell home insurance?
No, The General does not sell homeowners insurance.