National General car insurance review July 2018 | finder.com

National General car insurance review July 2018

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Compare affordable insurance with its long list of discounts and perks for GM owners.

If you have a car, there’s no doubt you love the freedom it gives you to get from point A to point B. But to legally drive, most states require at least minimum car insurance coverage.

You’ll find dozens of car insurance providers in America, and whittling your choice down to one can be confusing. With over 60 years in the biz, National General aims to make the experience as seamless and affordable as possible, thanks to its discounts and service programs.

Description This low-cost provider can make car insurance more affordable with its long list of discounts.
States served All 50 states
Roadside assistance Included free
Pay schedule 12 months, 6 months, custom
Claims methods online
New car protection No

Pros

  • 24/7 claims processing
  • Flexible payments
  • Manage your policy online
  • Multi-policy bundling
  • Claims service guarantee
  • Extensive discounts and services

Cons

  • Expensive base rates
  • Poor customer service reviews
Defensive driving discount Yes
Good student discount Yes
Loyalty discount Yes
Homeowner discount Yes
Military discount No
Safety device discount Yes
Special employment discount Yes
Usage-based discount No
Other discounts GM/GMAC Customer Discounts for using GM/GMAC products

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Who is National General best for?

National General is an attractive option for drivers with General Motors (GM) vehicles and low-mileage drivers. While its base rates aren’t the cheapest, it offers a slew of discounts that significantly slash the cost of insurance for those who qualify.

National General is known for its affiliation with GM, and in turn, the benefits that GM drivers, customers, current and former employees and their families score as a result. In terms of car insurance, it’s unique for its discounts. These discounts go above and beyond the loyalty discounts and consider defensive driving courses, OnStar subscriptions and low-mileage drivers.

What is National General?

National General Insurance was founded in 1920 as part of General Motors and is the only insurance company in the US to successfully come from within the automotive industry. Formerly known as GMAC Insurance, the firm initially offered insurance to the owners of GM vehicles, and it still has a soft spot for them today. In 2013, it changed its name to National General Insurance. Its headquarters are in North Carolina, where they have been since day one.

The company operates nationwide and has a network of agents across the country. While auto insurance is its primary product, National General also offers home, health, small business and commercial property insurance.

Last year, National General made headlines when it was named one of Fortune’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies of 2017.

What car insurance coverage does National General offer?

Like most major insurers, National General offers basic liability protection plus other types of coverage to suit individual needs.

  • Bodily injury liability.This takes care of the costs if you injure someone while operating your car. It can also help to pay for legal defense, if it gets to that point.
  • Property damage liability.Covers the damage your car causes to someone’s property as the result of an accident.
  • Collision.This covers the cost of damage to your own car whether you caused the accident or not. It’s not a legal requirement in most states and is usually only recommended for new or very valuable cars.
  • Comprehensive. Also known as Other Than Collision (OTC) coverage, this pays for the loss or damage to your car caused by things like fire, floods, hailstorms, vandalism and theft. If you lease or finance a car, the leasing company may require this even if state law doesn’t.
  • Medical payments. In the event of an accident, this helps to pay for the medical expenses for you and your passengers.
  • Underinsured motorist. This coverage helps to pay for medical expenses if someone injures you in an accident but doesn’t have enough liability insurance.
  • Uninsured motorist. Covers any damages and injuries if you’re injured in an accident caused by a hit-and-run or a driver without liability insurance.
  • Personal injury protection. Legally required in some states, PIP or no-fault insurance helps to pay for medical care, lost wages and replacement services in case of an accident regardless of who was at fault.
  • Additional equipment coverage. You can tweak your policy to add coverage for custom wheels, roll bars, spoilers and so on.

What discounts can I get with National General?

If National General had just one selling point, it’d be its SmartDiscounts. They’re wide-ranging and can lower your premium by as much as 50%.

  • GM and GMAC customer. Drive a GM vehicle, have a GM card or use GMAC Auto Financing? You’ll score a cheaper premium.
  • GM loyalty. Taking it one step further, if all the vehicles on your policy are GM, you’ll get another discount.
  • GM Family First. A discount for active and retired employees of GM, GMAC and subsidiaries, plus their extended family members, including in-laws and same-sex partners.
  • Business affinity. If you support businesses that have a relationship with National General, GM and affiliates, you’ll get a discount.
  • Paid in full. Reduces your premium when you pay up front and in full.
  • Safe driver. In some states, successfully completing a defensive driving course can lower your premium.
  • OnStar subscriber. An active subscription can lead to a 10% to 20% discount on your coverage.
  • Low mileage. Available to OnStar subscribers, this is open to those who drive less than 15,000 miles a year and can slash your premium by up to 54%.
  • Multi-vehicle. The more cars you insure with National General, the more you’ll save.
  • RV and Auto on One Convenient Policy. Bundle your vehicles for a discount of up to 20%. And if your RV and car are ever in the same covered accident, you’ll only pay for one deductible.
  • Accident forgiveness. For qualifying customers, National General will waive the usual penalties for one at-fault accident. To qualify for this coverage, you must prove you’ve had no traffic violations and at-fault accidents in the past 12 months and no major traffic violations like a DUI in the past three years.

Does National General offer any special programs?

In the auto insurance industry, National General stands out for its SmartServices. These features are designed to ease the stress of being involved in an accident, breakdown or other kind of loss.

  • Guaranteed repairs. A lifetime guarantee on all collision repairs made at National General’s Gold Medal Repair Shops.
  • SmartAssist. Provides optional roadside service and towing to the nearest repair facility, as well as gas delivery — but not the cost of the gas.
  • SmartInspect. Once your car has been repaired after a claim, the company will come to you at the repair shop, parking lot or your home and inspect it to make sure it’s in tip-top condition.
  • SmartValet. After a claim, National General will pick up your damaged car and bring you a rental.
  • SmartReplacement. If your car is totalled, the company will help you to find a new car that suits your needs.
  • SmartDrive. An optional service, this provides you with a full-size rental car comparable to your own after a claim. Not available in all states.
  • Emergency Expense Allowance. Reimburses up to $500 in food, lodging and travel expenses after a claim for accidents that happen more than 25 miles from your home.
  • Theft Reward. For stolen cars, this offers a reward of up to $500 for information about the theft.
  • Guaranteed Claims Service Satisfaction. If you’re not happy with the way your claim was handled, National General will waive the deductible up to $250.

What’s not covered by National General?

These limitations vary from state to state. For example, in New York, National General deems certain cars an unacceptable risk. These include all Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Jensen and Tesla, plus select BMW, Porsche and Lexus models. The insurer doesn’t just look at luxury cars: Some Ford models, like Saleen Mustangs, are also considered too risky.

Are there any coverage maximums?

While coverage maximums depend on your policy and where you live, most National General auto insurance policies stop at a maximum of $300,000 per person or $500,000 per accident for liability coverage.

Pros and cons of National General car insurance

Pros

  • 24/7 claims processing. The National General Insurance Free Claims App for iPhone lets you speak to an agent, request a tow truck and submit a claim quickly.
  • Flexible payments. Pay up front or in installments.
  • Manage your policy online. Access your policy, pay bills, make and monitor a claim on the portal or live chat with an agent from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific standard time.
  • Multi-policy bundling. Auto-Owners goes above and beyond with bundling, offering reduced premiums for unusual policy pairings, such as auto and life, or even auto and umbrella.
  • Claims service guarantee. National General offers cash back of up to $250 if you’re not happy with the service.
  • Extensive discounts and services. Qualifying drivers enjoy access to SmartDiscounts and SmartServices.

Cons

  • Expensive base rates. The standard rates tend to be high, especially for teenage drivers.
  • Poor customer service reviews. In online forums, many customer complaints are related to slow claims processing.

What do customers say about National General?

National General has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1960 and has an A+ rating.

As of this writing, there are 265 reviews on the BBB site: 159 positive, 109 negative and 3 neutral. In the last three years, the BBB handled and closed 460 complaints, with the majority related to problems with product, service and billing and collection issues.

While customers appreciate the discounts and services that come with signing up with National General, the complaints center on the company’s customer service and slow claims processing — especially for minor and no-fault accidents.

In J.D. Power’s 2017 Auto Insurance Study, National General ranked 11 out of 15 insurers surveyed in the Southeast Region. It scored about average for overall customer satisfaction, billing, pricing and policy offerings.

How to apply

National General offers an easy online application process. If you’re happy with your online rate, you can opt to purchase your policy then and there.

  1. To apply for auto insurance, head to National General’s website.
  2. In the Get a Quote box on the homepage, enter your ZIP code, insurance type and click Go.
  3. Fill in the form with your personal information, driving history and details on your car(s) and any nominated drivers.
  4. You’ll see your rate and any available discounts and can sign up.

What info do I need to apply?

You’ll need your contact details, driver’s license number, driving history and information about your car. If anyone else is planning to drive the car, you’ll need to include their details, too.

How to find a National General agent near me

National General has a nationwide network of agents — some work in the company’s office, which are dotted around the country, and others operate independently. To connect with one close to you, follow these steps:

  1. Go to National General’s website.
  2. Click Auto Insurance in the top navigation bar.
  3. In the Get a Quote box on the right side of the page, click Find an Agent.
  4. Enter your ZIP code, search by agency name or enter your city and state.
  5. A list of agents near you will appear.

How to make a claim

You can file a claim 24/7 either online, with the app or by calling 800-325-1088. If you need help, there’s an online chat option available as well.

To get the ball rolling, have your policy number handy, which you can find on your insurance card or policy documents, as well as details on the accident or incident. If you have photos and supporting documents, you can submit those online.

National General aims to process minor claims within 48 hours.

To file a claim online, follow these steps:

  1. Go to National General’s website.
  2. Click Auto Insurance in the top navigation bar.
  3. Click Claims Center in the top navigation bar.
  4. Click File a Claim Online.
  5. Click File a Claim.
  6. Fill out the claim questions, including your insurance policy number, the location of the incident, the make and model of both cars involved and whether a police report was filed, and click Submit.

An insurance agent will respond to your claim within 48 hours.

How to contact National General

You can contact National General by phone, but the number you call depends on the policy you have:

  • If your policy starts with 200 and you bought direct. Call 888-293-5108, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern standard time. It’s closed on Sundays.
  • If your policy starts with 200 and you bought through an agent. Call 877-468-3466, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. your local time. It’s closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • If your policy starts with CCA, COH, CAZ or CTX. Call 888-859-1181, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern standard time. It’s closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • If your policy starts with CNC. Call 855-234-6270, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern standard time. It’s closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Does National General offer other types of insurance?

Though it’s best known for auto insurance, National General also offers:

  • RV insurance
  • Homeowners, condo and renters insurance
  • Small business insurance
  • Commercial property insurance
  • Motorcycle insurance, including touring bikes and ATVs
  • Mexico insurance, which covers cars, RVs and motorcycles under Mexican law
  • Collector and classic car insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Home insurance

Does National General offer other types of insurance?

If you’re keen to explore other, similar options, check out these other car insurance providers.

  • Allstate. Like National General, Allstate isn’t known for having cheap base rates, but it does offer plenty of ways to save and squeeze more value from your policy.
  • Geico. If price is your main priority, this mid-range insurance provider has a long list of discounts, including one for defensive drivers.
  • American Family. This company offers a comparable discount for low-mileage drivers.
  • Travelers. Can you pay your premium in full? This insurer rewards that with a discount of up to 7.5%.
  • Progressive. With a huge range of policies and products on its books, Progressive can tailor your insurance to your situation.

Compare car insurance alternatives

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go.
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

National General’s policies have higher base rates, but qualifying discounts could cut down on the cost of your premium in a major way. If you don’t drive much, can bundle policies or are involved with GM in any way, it’s worth looking into this insurer.

When you’re weighing the pros and cons of an insurance company, think about how they apply to you and your situation specifically. To borrow from National General’s slogan, do the “smart” thing and compare car insurance policies before signing the dotted line.

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