The General Car Insurance Review

Offering auto insurance options for high-risk drivers

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The General

As a nonstandard car insurance company, the General allows people with imperfect driving records to get insurance policies that meet state-level minimum requirements quickly. Even if you have serious infractions on your driving record, such as a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction or an at-fault accident, you can still qualify for coverage through the General.

However, its coverage options are limited, and its policies may be more expensive than you can find elsewhere.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers insurance to drivers with histories of driving violations or accidents

  • Get an online quote without giving your personal information

  • SR-22 filings available

Cons
  • Not available in all states

  • Limited customer service availability

  • Expensive premiums for people with good driving records

Key Takeaways
  • The General was founded in 1963, and its corporate offices are located in Nashville, Tenn.
  • The General specializes in nonstandard auto insurance, meaning it offers policies to people with poor driving records or high-performance cars, as well as those who live in high-risk neighborhoods.
  • The company focuses mainly on consumers who want to comply with state-level minimum insurance requirements.
  • You can get a quote and purchase a policy online without having to speak with an agent.
Company Overview
  • Year Founded 1963
  • Official Website www.thegeneral.com
  • Insurance Offered Auto, life insurance
  • Customer Service Phone: 1-844-328-0306

Pros Explained

  • Offers insurance to drivers with histories of driving violations or accidents The General accepts most drivers, but it specializes in individuals who have a history of driving violations or accidents, lapsed insurance policies, or bad credit, as well as those who live in high-risk neighborhoods.
  • Get an online quote without giving your personal information While most insurance companies allow you to get quotes online, you typically have to provide extensive information about yourself, including your Social Security number and driver’s license number. With the General, you can get a quote with just basic information about your location and driving record.
  • SR-22 filings available An SR-22 filing is a certification issued by your insurance company that shows that you meet state minimum coverage requirements. It’s typically required for people who have a DUI conviction or once had their license revoked. The General can provide you with an SR-22 filing if necessary, and it will add the $25 certification cost to your insurance quote.

Cons Explained

  • Not available in all states The General car insurance isn’t available in all U.S. states and territories. The company isn’t licensed in New Mexico, Michigan, and Puerto Rico.
  • Limited customer service availability The General’s customer service hours are limited. You can only contact customer support Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST, Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST. Other companies offer 24/7 support, so the limited availability is a significant drawback.
  • Expensive premiums for people with good driving records While the General can be useful if you have a history of past driving violations, it can be expensive. If you have a good driving record, you can likely get a policy with cheaper premiums with another insurance company. The average annual cost of auto insurance for medium sedans is $1,251. For a policy with the same coverage amounts, the General quoted us $3,119, more than double the average.

The General is a licensed insurance agency that is a subsidiary of PGC Holdings Corp. Depending on where you live, your policy may be underwritten by Permanent General Assurance Corporation, Permanent General Assurance Corporation of Ohio, or the General Automobile Insurance Company, Inc.

The General Car Insurance Coverage

When you get a quote online, the quote you get first is the price for a policy that meets state-level minimum requirements. If you want additional coverage, you’ll have to edit the coverages to get an updated quote. The General’s car insurance policies have the following coverage options:

Liability Coverages

Depending on your state, you may only be required to have property damage liability coverage. However, many people add bodily injury liability protection to their policies.

  • Bodily Injury Liability This coverage pays for injuries to the other driver and passengers if you are at fault in an accident. It covers lost wages, medical costs, and death related to the accident.
  • Property Damage Liability Property damage liability pays for property damage resulting from an accident where you are at fault.

Medical Coverages

  • Medical Payments Coverage Medical payments coverage is an optional supplement to your insurance policy. It covers medical or funeral expenses due to injuries sustained in an accident.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – Also known as “no-fault insurance,” PIP is required in some states; with it, you’re covered for your own and other’s injuries in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault and even if some injured parties don’t have health insurance.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury

The General only offers uninsured motorist bodily injury protection, which is optional in most states. If you are in an accident, and the at-fault driver is uninsured or has insufficient insurance, this coverage option will pay for expenses you incur, such as lost wages or medical bills.

Vehicle Coverage

While collision and comprehensive insurance aren’t required in most states, the General does allow you to add these coverages to your policy.

  • Comprehensive Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your vehicle that occurs outside of an accident, such as from a storm or theft.
  • Collision – Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle resulting from an accident.

Additional Coverages

You can add these options to your policy:

  • Roadside Assistance If you add roadside assistance to your policy, you get access to 24/7 assistance for towing and other emergency services.
  • Rental Reimbursement If your car is damaged in an accident, rental reimbursement will cover the expense of renting a vehicle, up to a maximum amount.

Factors That Affect Your Cost

Several factors impact your premiums with the General, including your age, gender, driving record, vehicle type, and how long you’ve been driving. While the General does offer insurance to people with driving infractions on their records, having a history of accidents or DUIs will cause you to pay a higher premium than if you had a clean driving record.

We got insurance quotes for two different drivers, both 35-year-old women living in Florida. One had an excellent driving record, while one had an at-fault accident on her record and needed an SR-22 certification. We requested quotes for state minimum coverages for a mid-sized sedan. In Florida, that means $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. Because SR-22 certification has additional requirements, we also added $10,000/$20,000 in bodily injury liability.

Insurance Quotes From the General
  Cleaning Driving Record History of At-Fault Accident and SR-22 Needed
Premium $131.96 $176.31
Down Payment $153.95 $208.94
Total Annual Cost $1,463.00 $1,958.00
(As of Aug. 23, 2020)

The General Car Insurance Discounts

The General has a few discounts that can reduce your premiums.

  • Good Student Discount Students who have a B average or better (meaning a 3.0 GPA or higher), are on the dean’s list or honor roll, or are in the top 20% of their class can qualify for the Good Student Discount.
  • Driver Training Discount Only available in some areas, you can qualify for the Driver Training Discount if you took a course approved by the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Department within the past five years. If you are an active member of the military, you can qualify if you took an approved course from the U.S. military.

The General Car Insurance Availability

The General provides coverage to most U.S. states. However, it is not in New Mexico and Michigan, nor does it operate in the territory of Puerto Rico. Coverage options and discounts can vary by location.

The General Customer Service

While many other insurance companies require you to work with an agent to get a car insurance policy, the General allows you to get a quote and purchase coverage online. And if you need proof of car insurance right away, you can print off your insurance card after purchasing your policy. You can contact the General’s customer service over the phone, through secure email, or via online chat.

The General is not included in the J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. However, AM Best, the credit rating agency that focuses on the insurance industry, gave the General’s parent company an A (Excellent) Financial Strength Rating. AM Best’s Financial Strength Ratings are the agency’s opinion on how financially stable a company is and whether it can be counted on to pay out its benefits if you file a claim.

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) maintains a database of complaints received about insurance companies. Each year, it releases a complaint ratio for insurance companies, which is the number of complaints the NAIC received relative to a company’s market share.

The NAIC considers scores of 1.0 to be average. Anything above 1.0 means the company received more complaints than average, while scores below 1.0 mean the company received fewer complaints than average. For 2019 the General’s complaint ratio was 1.21, meaning it received more complaints than is expected for a company of its size.

For the past three years the General has had a much worse-than-average complaint ratio, signaling that it has consistently received more complaints than is typical for its market share.

Other Insurance Provided by the General

The General mainly offers auto insurance, but it also sells term life insurance policies. American Family Life Insurance from the General is underwritten by American Family and administered by Homesite.

How to Make a Car Insurance Claim With the General

You can make a claim via the mobile app, online, or by calling 800-280-1466 and selecting option three. When you report a claim, you’ll be asked where the incident occurred, when it happened, and if you filed a police report. If you have the contact information for the other driver or property owner, you should include that information too.

After you file a claim, the General will assign you a claims adjuster, who will act as your contact. The adjuster will reach out to you with the next steps.

The General Car Insurance Cancellation Policy

You can cancel your policy by contacting the General’s customer service team. However, keep in mind that there may be a cancellation fee. Depending on your state, you may have to pay a fee of 10% of the unearned premium for canceling the policy prior to the end of the policy term. And if you need insurance later on, the General charges a reinstatement fee if your policy was canceled.

Get a General Car Insurance Quote

You can get an insurance quote online. You'll be asked for the following information and your car and yourself:

  • Year, make, and model
  • Financing information
  • Estimated use
  • Birth date
  • Gender 
  • Marital status
  • Zip code

The General will use this information to give you a quote that meets state-level minimum requirements. You can adjust the coverage to meet your needs. Once you’re happy with your quote, you can proceed with the application. The General will review your driving record to finalize your quote.

Compare Other Car Insurance Reviews

The General is a nonstandard auto insurance company, meaning it specializes in serving customers who have less-than-perfect driving records and credit histories. If you have a history of past driving infractions, the General can be a useful resource for insurance. However, if you have good credit and a clean driving record, you can likely find cheaper coverage and more options with another insurer.

Verdict

If you have struggled to find a car insurance company that is willing to insure you because of your driving record or credit, the General can be a solution to your problem. It specializes in policies for people with past driving infractions, and you can get insurance online and comply with state-level minimum requirements quickly. However, those with clean driving records will find the General expensive and offers limited coverage options.

Methodology

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Article Sources

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  1. Insurance Information Institute. "What If I Can't Find Auto Insurance?" Accessed August 24, 2020.

  2. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Permanent General Assurance Company." Accessed August 24, 2020.

  3. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts and Statistics: Auto Insurance." Accessed August 24, 2020.

  4. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of American Family Mutual Ins Co., S.I., Its Affiliates and American Family Life Ins Co." Accessed August 28, 2020.

  5. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Complaint Index." Accessed August 25, 2020.