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High-risk drivers may be interested in The General’s car insurance offerings due to its reputation for specializing in insuring drivers with poor credit, lackluster payment histories, accidents, traffic tickets and insurance lapses. Is The General Car Insurance good for low-risk drivers? Is it the best car insurance for people who want the lowest rates? This article will examine the pros and cons of using its services.
The General Car Insurance Pros and Cons
The General sells policies from three different companies:
Technically, this makes The General an agency rather than an insurance company. Prospective policyholders will most likely never need to worry about the distinction, and customers probably will not notice the difference in any meaningful way.
Insurance companies categorize drivers into two groups:
Nonstandard drivers have issues such as large numbers of moving violations, bad credit scores and possibly felonies on their record.
Most states require liability insurance. Drivers with suspended licenses and individuals with DUIs or convictions due to a lack of insurance may have to file an SR-22 form. An SR-22 is necessary to prove to the state that the driver has car insurance that meets minimum liability coverage. While most insurance providers won’t handle the forms, The General specializes in providing SR-22 form filing services.
Positive customer reviews agree regarding The General’s mobile app, which gets excellent marks for its usability. The General also offers users an online portal called MyPolicy, which customer reviews consider a plus.
Compared to rival companies such as Progressive, Geico and other similar providers, The General receives far more complaints, sometimes double or even triple that of its competitors. Review websites such as the Better Business Bureau and Yelp report many issues with policies, coverage and customer service.
The General offers fewer discount options than many of its competitors. For example, Geico offers 16 discounts, while The General offers only 9. Insured drivers with policies through The General can get discounts for the following:
How much is car insurance normally? While prices vary for individuals of different ages and standard vs. nonstandard drivers among other factors, comparisons can still shed light on The General’s costs compared to its competitors. According to Insurify, the average cost of The General per month is $197, while the average cost of Geico per month is $52.
While “full coverage insurance” isn’t a specific type of insurance, the term refers to a bundle of several different types of coverage, including:
This plan covers policyholders involved in accidents with underinsured and uninsured drivers. It will also cover family members and anyone in the car when the accident occurred. Some states consider uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to be optional coverage.
Collision coverage takes care of at-fault accidents even if the policyholder is to blame. It also pays out when the policyholder’s car strikes an object or another car.
Individuals seeking protection from damage not caused by an accident will probably want comprehensive coverage. The damage this policy covers includes extreme weather, vandalism, fire, theft, animal damage and falling objects.
Drivers for Uber, Lyft and other such ridesharing services should note that The General does not offer rideshare insurance. Anyone seeking rideshare insurance must purchase a commercial policy from a different carrier, such as Allstate, Geico or State Farm.
Liability covers property damage and injuries caused by the policyholder, and nearly every state requires it. It applies to family members within the policyholder’s household. The General also offers separate medical payment coverage insurance, which covers medical expenses for policyholders, family members and passengers involved in an accident.
The General offers add-ons to their policies, in the form of insurance riders, to increase coverage for their customers. Some offerings include:
Customers looking for perks for good driving won’t find them with The General. While it does offer the safe driver discount as described above, The General doesn’t offer accident forgiveness or vanishing deductibles. A vanishing deductible rewards drivers who can avoid moving violations or accidents for a specified time. Once the driver meets the criteria, their deductible drops to zero. This and accident forgiveness are both common offerings among competitors such as Allstate, Liberty Mutual and Nationwide
The General does not offer usage-based insurance, which offers discounts based on driving habits and uses tracking data from GPS or cellular technology. For example, if the data from these systems shows a driver frequently drives at high speeds or uses a phone while driving, their rates could increase.
While The General has won awards for its animated television commercials and boasts a 2019 “Great Place to Work” certification, it has zero awards concerning customer satisfaction.
A.M. Best is one of the premier credit rating agencies, specializing in insurance companies and agencies. It gives The General an A rating, which A.M. Best calls “Excellent.” This indicates The General can most likely meet its financial obligations in the short and long term.
The General is accredited through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and carries an A+ rating. While the rating does factor in a business’s complaint history, it also considers:
The General Car Insurance Agency has not been subject to any regulatory actions. However, Permanent General Assurance Corporation, one of the three insurance companies that provide policies for The General, was taken to court in a class action lawsuit. The complaint was that the company hadn’t refunded unearned premiums from voluntary cancellations. The trial ended with the company agreeing to pay out $2.7 Million.
The General does not provide coverage in the following states:
However, Progressive and The General have an agreement to take care of drivers in these states. When prospective insurance purchasers seek quotes through The General for the states listed above, they’ll be taken to a page that promotes Progressive’s coverage instead.
The General’s customer service is available by phone at 1-877-324-7119 or toll-free at 1-800-280-1466. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The website also features a “schedule a call” feature as well as a chat function.
For claims reporting, existing customers can call 1-800-280-1466 at any time or email Claims@thegeneral.com.
The General Car Insurance reviews are overall negative, with numerous online complaints. The BBB’s section for The General lists 231 total complaints over the last three years. Complaints about The General include denied claims, poor response times, lack of response, increasing monthly rates without notice and lack of refund payments. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, The General’s complaint index is currently 3.28, while the national average is 1.00.
Customer ratings and complaints, as well as third-party ratings, give an excellent picture of how The General treats its policyholders. In our evaluation, we considered these factors:
The General Car Insurance Company provides a service for drivers who might not otherwise be able to get car insurance. For standard drivers, The General would most likely be more expensive than the alternatives thanks to limited discounts. Plus, any prospective policyholders need to consider the higher-than-average number of complaints. Even though The General gets high ratings for financial stability, potential customers should keep in mind that the Permanent General Assurance has been the subject of the aforementioned class action lawsuit regarding unpaid premium refunds.
With the complete picture of The General’s customer complaints and pricing structure in mind, its offerings are best suited to those who have no option to shop around. Drivers interested in finding the best cheap car insurance have other alternatives.
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