The General auto insurance review | finder.com

The General car insurance review October 2018

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The General claims to offer affordable coverage for nearly anyone in need of standard car insurance coverage.

Shopping for car insurance can be overwhelming — especially if you’re a high-risk or otherwise “nonstandard” driver. You’ll find that many companies won’t cover drivers who have a history of traffic violations or accidents — affordably or at all.

The General makes it easy for high-risk drivers to get covered, with a range of policy options, discounts, and even assistance with filing an SR-22.

Description The General offers affordable coverage for nearly any driver who needs car insurance.
States served Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Roadside assistance Optional
Pay schedule
Claims methods phone
New car protection No

Pros

  • Affordable coverage
  • High risk drivers okay
  • Instant online access
  • Prepayment discounts
  • SR-22 filing assistance
  • Available in 46 states

Cons

  • No-frills policies
  • Claims handled only by phone
Defensive driving discount No
Good student discount Yes
Loyalty discount No
Homeowner discount Yes
Military discount Yes
Safety device discount
Special employment discount No
Usage-based discount
Other discounts Paid-in-Full discount, Specific driver discount

What is The General?

General Automobile Insurance Services, better known as The General, aims to make car insurance affordable and accessible for all drivers. Established in Nashville, Tennessee, The General began selling insurance in 1963 under the name Permanent General Agency. The company was acquired by American Family Insurance in 2012 but continues to operate as a separate brand.

The General offers coverage in 46 states and claims to accept drivers with less-than-perfect credit or driving violations. It offers a variety of no-frills coverage options including basic liability, no-fault, uninsured motorist, and more. While its policy offerings are more limited than some of its competitors, its parent company, American Family, might have something better suited for your needs.

Compare car insurance providers

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Root
Included free
No
AZ, AR, DE, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD, MI, MS, MT, NM, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, TX, UT
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except AK, DE, HI, MT, NH, VT, WY
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
Metromile
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA
Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.
USAA
Included free
No
All 50 states
USAA offers affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service to millions of military members and their families. Only available to military members, veterans and affiliated military members.

Compare up to 4 providers

Where is The General auto insurance available?

The General’s auto insurance policies are issued through a network of independent agents and online. Its service area reaches from coast to coast, providing coverage in 46 states. However, if you live in any of the following states, you may need to look elsewhere:

  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey

Who is The General auto insurance best for?

The General specializes in insuring “nonstandard” drivers — also known as high-risk drivers. Your anonymous online quote includes the minimum car insurance required for your state, with the option to pay more for additional coverage or benefits. If you have a prior history of multiple infractions or just want affordable car insurance, The General might be right for you. Compare your options to find a provider that’s right for you.

What is an SR-22?

What is an SR-22?

Sometimes called a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, an SR-22 is a form provided by your car insurance company to confirm that you have liability coverage. If you have no driving-related violations on your driving record, you likely do not need this form.

SR-22s are sometimes mandated by states or courts for drivers whose records include DUIs or DWIs, driving without insurance, repeat traffic offenses or revoked or suspended licenses. If you do need an SR-22, the court or your local DMV will notify you.

What car insurance coverage does The General offer?

  • Bodily injury liability. This protects you if you injure someone with your car, but it doesn’t cover damage to you or your car.
  • Medical payments. For an additional fee, this pays for medical bills if anyone is injured in your car. You’ll pay a fee for this feature.
  • No fault. With no-fault insurance, both parties of an incident are compensated by their own insurance companies, regardless of who was at fault.
  • Uninsured motorists’ coverage. Covers you for damages and injuries caused by an uninsured driver.
  • Collision coverage. Pays for damage to your car when your car hits or is hit by another car.
  • Property damage liability. Protects you if your car damages someone else’s property.
  • Emergency roadside service. For an additional fee, helps you if your car breaks down and you need help.
  • SR-22. An SR-22 certificate of insurance helps drivers with a history of driving infractions or suspended licenses get back on the road.

Discounts on The General auto insurance

Although The General specializes in no-frills auto insurance for high-risk drivers, it does offer a few standard auto insurance discounts.

  • Lump sum payment. Get a discount for paying your policy premiums in a single, lump sum payment rather than in installments.
  • Deductible doubling discount. Get discounted rates when you double your deductible for the first 45 days of your policy.
  • Multi-vehicle discount. Get a discount for insuring multiple vehicles under the same policy.
  • Select driver discount. You may be able to get a discount if you only allow specific drivers to operate your vehicle. However, they must have at least five years of driving experience and a clean driving record.
  • Defensive driving discount. Drivers who complete an approved defensive driving course may be able to get discounted rates.
  • Airbag discount. You may be able to get a discount if your car is equipped with factory-installed airbags.
  • Anti-lock discount. Get a discount if your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes.
  • Homeowner discount. Get a discount on your auto insurance policy just for owning a home.
  • Military discount. Active service members living in Louisiana may be able to get discounted rates.
  • Transfer discount. You may be able to get a discount when you switch to The General if you’ve had six months of continuous coverage from another provider.

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Does The General offer any special programs?

The General specializes in no-frills auto insurance, so its policy features and special programs are limited. However, there are a couple programs available:

Down payment. Unlike many other providers, The General allows customers to place a downpayment on their policy to reduce monthly premiums.

Mobile app. The General offers a convenient mobile app that allows customers to view ID cards, manage their policy, and more.

Pros and cons of The General auto insurance

Pros

  • Affordable coverage for high-risk drivers. If you’re a high-risk driver, many insurance companies either won’t cover you or will charge a lot for coverage. The General prides itself on covering high-risk drivers at modest prices.
  • Instant online access. Once you’ve paid for a policy, you can download and print your card immediately.
  • SR-22 filing assistance. This service is helpful for drivers who require this confirmation of liability coverage.

Cons

  • No-frills policies. The General keep costs down by offering the basics. You’ll pay for add-ons like medical payments coverage and roadside assistance.
  • Claims handled only by phone. You won’t be able to file a claim online or through an app, which may be an issue if you prefer instant results.
  • Limited discounts. Although The General does offer a few standard auto insurance discounts, other providers offer many other ways to save.

  • High prices for low-risk drivers. If you’re a low-risk driver, you may end up paying more than you need to.
  • Website lacks information. The General’s website lacks specific information about coverage options, discounts, features, and more.

The General auto insurance customer reviews

The General has an official accreditation on the BBB website and boasts an impressive A+ rating to match. It also holds a composite score of 3.92 of a possible 5 stars, based on its letter grade and customer reviews. Despite its ratings, there are over 200 customer complaints on the BBB website, citing issues with billing, unauthorized payments, denied claims, and more.

Keep in mind that online customer reviews don’t always tell the entire story. Most customers will only go online if they have an overwhelmingly negative experience, which is why you won’t see as many positive reviews. Take these customer reviews with a grain of salt, and try to speak with friends and family to learn about their experience with the company.

How to apply for auto insurance coverage with The General

Getting auto insurance coverage from The General is easy. You can start by getting a quote online, calling to speak with a representative, or connecting with an agent.

Online

  1. Visit The General’s website and enter your zip code. Click “Get quote”.
  2. Enter general information about your location, credit, and prior insurance. Click continue.
  3. Enter your driver information (Date of birth, marital status, etc.). Click continue.
  4. Enter your vehicle information (Year, make, model) then click continue.
  5. Review coverage options and policy details, then continue if you are satisfied.
  6. Create a password and enter your contact information, then continue.
  7. Enter your garaging/parking address, then continue.
  8. Answer the application questions, then continue.
  9. Enter driver details including license number, SSN and full name, then continue.
  10. Enter your vehicle details and VIN, then continue.
  11. Review all policy details, then continue when you are ready.
  12. Enter your payment information and proceed to purchase your policy.

Phone

You can also purchase coverage by contacting The General by phone. Whether you need help finishing your quote or prefer to deal entirely by phone, start by calling 1-866-519-7422.

Agent

Use the agent locator tool on The General’s website to find out how to apply for coverage through an agent.

How to file an auto insurance claim with The General

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to file an auto insurance claim online. Instead, you’ll need to call 1-800-280-1466 and select option #3 to speak with a representative. The claims line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here’s what you’ll need to file a claim:

  • Incident details (What happened, date, location, etc.)
  • Vehicle information for all parties
  • Driver information for all parties
  • Insurance information for all parties (Policy number, insurer, etc.)
  • Contact information for all parties

How to contact The General

You can contact The General by phone, email or through an agent.

The General’s cancellation policy

Does The General offer other types of insurance?

No, The General specializes in writing auto insurance policies only.

What other insurance providers are similar to The General?

The General’s auto insurance policies are only available in 46 states. If you’re outside the service area or prefer to compare your options for deciding on a provider, you may want to consider a few of its competitors.

  • Central. Central insurance offers affordable coverage and often accepts drivers with prior accidents or traffic violations.
  • Direct. Direct Insurance specializes in “non-standard” auto insurance and offers coverage to all applicants, regardless of their driving history.
  • Farmers. Farmers auto insurance offers great coverage at affordable prices and is also able to insure high-risk drivers.

Bottom line

The General prides itself on basic, affordable coverage for “nonstandard,” high-risk drivers. If you have a less-than-perfect record and live in a state that’s included in The General’s service area, it’s an ideal company to explore for low rates.

However, if you’re a low-risk driver or you’re looking for more comprehensive coverage, you may want to explore your options to find a provider that better suits your needs.

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Frequently asked questions about The General

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MichelleOctober 11, 2018

    How much will it cost for an SR22 to reinstate my license? I do not own a car as of yet.

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseOctober 11, 2018Staff

      Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      The cost of SR-22 insurance varies by driver and by insurance company however you can expect it to be more expensive than usual since insurance companies will consider you a high-risk driver.

      Your auto insurance policy (SR22) price will depend on the reason why your license was revoked or suspended; whether it was a first, second or third offense; whether the accident that occurred resulted in bodily injury to other parties. You can find out the exact price if you request for an SR22 insurance quote online or through an agent.

      The filing fee for an SR22 though, is relatively low and will typically range anywhere from $15 to $25 but may also vary by state.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

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