National General Car Insurance Review

Nonstandard insurer for high-risk drivers

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National General

While primarily known for its car insurance, National General also offers RV insurance and homeowners insurance policies. The company specializes in nonstandard auto insurance for high-risk drivers, making it a useful option for those who have less-than-stellar driving records and struggle to find coverage. National General was acquired by the Allstate Corporation in 2020.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Can get policies online in some states

  • Claims satisfaction guarantee

  • SR-22 forms available

Cons
  • Higher-than-average rates

  • Poor customer satisfaction rankings

  • Many more complaints than is typical

Key Takeaways
  • National General can trace its roots back to 1939 and is now headquartered in New York City.
  • It was acquired by the Allstate Corporation in 2020.
  • In 2019 National General’s total gross written premium for auto insurance was $3.2 billion.
  • The company focuses on nonstandard drivers, including new drivers, drivers with moving violations, and customers with credit problems.
  • National General is licensed to issue auto insurance policies in all 50 states.
  • Online quotes are available.
Company Overview
  • Year Founded 1939
  • Official Website www.nationalgeneral.com
  • Insurance Offered Auto, home, renters, RV, motorcycle, small business
  • Customer Service Phone: 888-293-5108

Pros Explained

  • Can get policies online in some states In some states you can get a quote and purchase your policy online, allowing you to get coverage quickly.
  • Claims satisfaction guarantee If you’re not satisfied with your claims experience, National General will waive your deductible, up to $250. The claims satisfaction guarantee is available in all states except for Washington.
  • SR-22 forms available In some states drivers who have had their driving privileges suspended may be required to file an SR-22 form, a Financial Responsibility Certificate. The form certifies that you meet the minimum liability requirements by law. If needed, National General will file the SR-22 with your state licensing authority for you.

Cons Explained

  • Higher-than-average rates Because National General is mainly geared toward high-risk drivers, its rates tend to be much more expensive than the industry average. If you have a clean driving record, you can likely find cheaper insurance elsewhere.
  • Poor customer satisfaction rankings National General received dismal ratings in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. It was ranked last out of 24 car insurance companies.
  • Many more complaints than is typical National General’s overall complaint ratio for 2019 was about seven times higher than the national complaint index, meaning the company received far more complaints than its similarly sized competitors.

First-time DUI offenders are often unable to get car insurance from most major companies, but National General will insure you as long as you complete a Safe Driving and Substance Abuse therapy program.

National General Car Insurance Coverage Options

National General offers basic auto insurance that fulfills state minimum requirements. It also has some optional coverages you can add to your policy for additional protection.

Collision

Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle resulting from accidents with another car or object. Even if you are at fault in the accident, collision covers the cost of repairing your vehicle.

Comprehensive

If your car is damaged resulting from something other than an accident, such as a storm or flood, comprehensive coverage pays for repairs to your vehicle.

Liability

Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others. There are two parts:

  • Bodily Liability This pays for injuries caused to someone else during an accident and covers their medical expenses and lost wages.
  • Property Damage Liability Property damage liability covers damage to someone else’s property, such as their vehicle, fence, or lamp post.

Medical Payments

Medical payments coverage helps pay for the medical and funeral expenses when a covered person is hurt or killed in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP, also known as “no-fault insurance,” covers your medical expenses after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Some states require you to have PIP insurance, including Florida, Michigan, and New Jersey.

Roadside Assistance

If your car breaks down, you can use roadside assistance to get help. Roadside assistance is an optional benefit you can add to your policy. It allows you to get towing services, battery jump starts, and flat tire changes within your policy’s limits.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

If you are in an accident with a driver who is uninsured, underinsured, or who flees the scene of the accident, uninsured motorist insurance and underinsured motorist insurance will cover your losses.

National General Car Insurance Discounts

National General has a few discounts that can lower your insurance premiums. Their availability can vary by state.

  • Anti-Theft Discount If your car’s manufacturer installed an anti-theft device in your vehicle, or you installed an after-market device, you can get a discount on your insurance premiums.
  • Autopay Discount Sign up for automatic payments and get a discount.
  • Low Mileage Discount If you use devices that track your mileage and stay within certain requirements, you may qualify for extra discounts.
  • Multiple Policy Discount Combine your car insurance with homeowners or other coverage and save on your premiums.
  • Multiple Vehicle Discount Insure two or more vehicles to save money.
  • Paid-in-Full Discount Pay your premiums in one lump sum instead of monthly installments to reduce your insurance cost.
  • Paperless Discount If you’re willing to use electronic statements and correspondence, you can qualify for a discount.
  • RV and Auto Discount – Bundle your auto insurance with RV insurance and you can save up to 20%.
  • Safe Driver Discount – In some states you can qualify for a discount if you complete a defensive driving course.

Factors That Affect Your Cost With National General

Like other car insurance companies, National General bases your insurance premiums on several factors, including your age, gender, and driving record. Because National General caters to customers with less-than-perfect driving records, its rates tend to be much higher than the industry average.

We got quotes for two different drivers, both 35-year-old women living in Florida. One had an excellent driving record, and one needed an SR-22 form. We requested state minimum coverage for a mid-sized sedan, meaning $10,000 in property damage liability and basic PIP. Due to SR-22 requirements, we also got quotes for $10,000/$20,000 bodily injury liability.

Insurance Quotes From National General
  Clean Driving Record SR-22 Form needed
Premium $222 $265
Down Payment $314 $370
Total Annual Cost $2,363 (including $35 in taxes and fees) $2,812 (including $60 in taxes and fees)
(As of September 28, 2020)

As of 2019 the industry-wide average cost to insure a medium sedan was $1,251. The average policy cost was for a plan with $100,000/$300,000 personal liability, $25,000 medical, $100,000 property and $25,000/$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, with a $500 deductible for collision and comprehensive claims.

National General Car Insurance Availability

National General is licensed to issue car insurance to residents in all 50 states. However, pricing, coverages, and discounts can vary by location, so contact a National General agent to see what insurance options are available in your area.

National General Customer Service

If you have issues or questions about your insurance policy, contact your National General agent. For more general inquiries, you can call customer service at 888-293-5108.

Unfortunately, National General received poor marks in the J.D. Power 2019 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. The study evaluated 24 car insurance companies based on their product offerings, pricing, communications, and customer interactions. National General was ranked last in the study, with a rating well below the industry average.

AM Best is a credit rating agency that issues opinions on the financial stability of insurance companies and their likelihood of honoring their policy obligations. As of 2020 National General has a Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) from AM Best.

Complaint Index

Every year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) collects all the complaints it receives about insurance companies and uses them to create company complaint ratios. The complaint ratios are a number that reflects how many complaints customers lodged against a company relative to its market share.

The national complaint index is 1.0. If a company’s complaint ratio is more than 1.0, it received more complaints than typical for its size. A ratio below 1.0 means the reverse. In 2019 National General’s complaint ratio just for private passenger auto insurance was 3.92, nearly four times as high as expected in the market.

Complaints

For the past three years National General’s complaint ratios have been significantly higher than is typical for its market share, indicating that it receives far more complaints than its competitors.

Other Insurance Provided by National General

National General offers multiple insurance products, including:

How to Make a Car Insurance Claim With National General

While other insurance companies allow you to file a claim online, National General doesn’t have that functionality. To begin the claims process, you must contact the claims department at 800-468-3466. The claims department is available 24/7.

When you call, make sure you have your policy number handy and be prepared to share what happened. If you have other information, such as a police report number or the other driver’s information, give it to the representative, who will open a claim and explain the next steps to get your vehicle repaired.

National General Car Insurance Cancellation Policy

With National General, you typically have to pay a cancellation fee if you choose to cancel your policy before its expiration date. To do so, contact your National General insurance agent or call 888-293-5108.

Get a National General Car Insurance Quote

You can get a quote for car insurance from National General online, and you can even buy your policy through the website in some states. While other insurance companies require you to provide personal information, such as your driver’s license number and Social Security number, National General allows you to skip entering that information when getting a quote. Instead, only the following information about you and your car is required:

  • Year, Make, and Model
  • Financing Information
  • Estimated Annual Mileage
  • Birthday
  • Driving Record
  • Gender 
  • Marital Status
  • Zip Code

Compare Other Car Insurance Reviews

If you have a history of driving violations or credit issues and struggle to get car insurance, National General can be a useful option. However, it’s always wise to shop around and get quotes from multiple insurance companies to make sure you’re getting the best rates. Particularly if you have good credit and a clean driving history, you can likely get a less expensive policy with another car insurance company.

Verdict

If you have been unable to get car insurance because of your driving history or credit, National General can be a viable solution. You can get a quote and purchase your insurance online in some areas, and National General will even handle filing the SR-22 form with your state licensing authority, if needed.

However, the company has a poor reputation for customer service and is much more expensive than other insurance companies. If you have a good driving record and fair to excellent credit, you can find cheaper insurance elsewhere.

Methodology

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Article Sources

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  1. National General. "Allstate Expands Personal Lines Market Position with Acquisition of National General." Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.

  2. National General. "2019 Annual Report." Page 6. Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.

  3. J.D. Power. "Auto Insurance Claims Satisfaction Reaches Record High as Carriers Refine Time-Consuming Processes, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.

  4. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "National General Insurance Company National Complaint Index Report." Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.

  5. Insurance Information Institute. "Background On: No-Fault Auto Insurance." Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.

  6. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts and Statistics: Auto Insurance." Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.

  7. AM Best. "National General Insurance Company." Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.