Columbia vs. The General: Which Company is the Best Fit for You?

If you're in the market for a new car insurance policy, you might be wondering how The General and Columbia compare when it comes to the lowest premiums and biggest discounts. To find out which of these companies is the best fit for you and your wallet, check out our newest guide below.
Newly insured car driving down the road
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Quick Facts

  • Looking at the national averages for insurance, Columbia offers significantly more affordable prices than The General
  • Columbia has less expensive rates for policyholders who may not have much of a commute
  • Columbia offers cheaper average premiums for residents of suburban areas

Columbia vs. The General: Which Company has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

Are you considering a new insurance policy? After all, you've seen ads from all sorts of companies offering hefty discounts. But exactly how much can you save by switching?

You might have narrowed your search down to Columbia or The General, but between the two, which company will offer you less expensive rates?

Columbia The General

Looking at nationwide averages, Columbia is quite a bit cheaper than The General, with prices averaging $150 per month compared to $241 with The General.

Even so, Columbia may not be the cheapest or best option for each driver out there. Auto insurance companies use tons of complex algorithms to calculate rates, so depending on how clean your driving record is or how good your credit score is (among multiple other factors), you could see wildly different premiums from the ones above.

Luckily, we've broken down average prices from both Columbia and The General by several different rate factors, so read on to find out which company is the best for you.

Columbia or The General: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Columbia The General

Columbia and The General only compete against each other in one states, with Columbia offering more affordable premiums to the average driver in all of them. Missouri has the most noticable difference, where Columbia rates are over 70% cheaper than insurance prices at The General.

That being said, there's a lot more that goes into your car insurance payment than just your home state. Read on to find out more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Columbia The General
18-year-old drivers$324$446
25-year-old drivers$145$244

You might already know that teen drivers normally pay a lot more for auto insurance than any other group of drivers. That's generally because young, inexperienced drivers are statistically much more likely to get into accidents since they have less experience on the roads.

But still, even with seemingly sky-high premiums, teen drivers can still find ways to save money. For example, 18-year-old drivers pay an average of more than $100 less a month by choosing Columbia over The General.

That being said, both carriers will offer you dramatically lower prices by the time you turn 25. For example, average rates for Columbia policyholders reduce over 55% and The General's premiums drop more than 45% over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Columbia The General
65+-year-old drivers$109$195

Drivers around retirement age typically enjoy some of the most affordable car insurance rates out there. After all, they've likely been driving for quite some time, which usually reduces their chances of accidents and other infractions that can increase prices.

When looking at Columbia and The General specifically, which carrier is best for retired drivers? Columbia gets the edge, with premiums for drivers 65 and older $86 more affordable than the national average for The General.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Columbia The General

Did you know that insurance prices are typically cheaper for married couples than they are for those who are single? That's usually because married drivers tend to own and insure several cars, which can often earn you a discount.

When it comes to relationship status, Columbia is the clear winner for single drivers, with rates about $102 per month less expensive than The General, on average. For married policyholders, the advantage is clear again - Columbia has the edge when it comes to average prices.

Columbia vs. The General: Average Rates by Gender

Columbia The General

You may not know, but car insurance is normally cheaper for women than it is for men. This is because men are statistically more likely than women to get into collisions and get speeding tickets, which leads to increased risk for insurers and, therefore, higher premiums.

Women generally pay over $10 a month less than men with Columbia, and around $30 with The General.

Looking at the data for each company specifically, Columbia offers the lowest average rates for both men and women. On average, women save about $81 per month and men save about $101 with Columbia compared to the average The General policyholder.

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Columbia or The General: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

Columbia The General
State Minimum*$68$154
Full Coverage**$232$329

*State minimum value indicates liability-only policies at each state's minimum bodily injury and property damage (BI/PD) limits

**Full coverage indicates state minimum BI/PD limits with collision and comprehensive coverages added to policy.

It's no secret that auto insurance can be a complicated subject for most people. There are so many different limits and coverages that it can make it pretty confusing to find the right policy.

But most policies that many drivers look at fall into two categories -- liability only (which provides bodily injury and property damage coverage for other drivers and passengers if you cause an accident) and full coverage (which typically refers to having comprehensive and collision coverages in addition to liability coverage).

If you're looking for state minimum liability insurance, Columbia usually offers significantly more affordable premiums of $68 compared to The General's $154. When it comes to full coverage policies with similar limits, Columbia again has the edge, with policies around $95 a month less expensive than The General, on average.

Is Columbia or The General Better for Drivers with Spotty Records?

You've probably seen plenty of commercials from insurance companies offering great rates for good drivers, but that doesn't mean people with less-than-perfect driving records can't save money, too.

You'll probably end up paying more with tickets and collisions on your record, but which of these two carriers offers the most affordable prices to drivers with less-than-ideal driving records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Columbia The General
Clean Record$104$192
1 Speeding Ticket$118$240

Columbia policyholders can expect their premiums to go up an average of $14 per month if they get a ticket, while The General normally raises prices about $48 a month, on average.

However, Columbia tends to offer the best prices for drivers both with a speeding ticket and with a clean record, offering rates that are 46% and 51% cheaper, respectively, compared to The General.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Columbia The General
Clean Record$104$192
1 At-Fault Accident$142$279

Both companies will raise premiums pretty significantly if you get into an at-fault accident with The General raising by over $85. Columbia has a less extreme rise, but you can still expect to pay just under $40 more than you were prior to your first collision.

Overall, drivers who use Columbia end up with the cheaper prices after an accident, with monthly rates averaging $142 compared to The General's $279.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Columbia The General
Clean Record$104$192
1 DUI$236$254

On average, a DUI offense is going to cost you much more than a single accident or ticket when it comes to your auto insurance bill. For example, Columbia increases average prices by nearly $150 per month -- that's over a 55% increase.

If you have a DUI on your record and are looking for more affordable rates, Columbia tends to be the much more affordable option with average premiums of $236 a month compared to $254 from The General.

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How does Credit Score Impact Columbia and The General Rates?

Often times, your credit score can be used as one of the factors to determine your monthly car insurance prices. This isn't always the case (for example, Michigan and California are two states that ban the practice entirely), but it does affect many drivers out there.

The reasoning insurance carriers use is that policyholders with good credit will be more likely to pay their bills on time; so they'll reward them with cheaper premiums, while those with poor credit will generally be forced to pay more.

Looking at Columbia and The General specifically, which carrier has the best rates for drivers at different credit levels?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Columbia The General
Excellent Credit Score$138$176
Good Credit Score$141$217

If you have great credit, you'll usually find a better deal with Columbia. Policyholders with "excellent" credit can save more than 20% compared to The General, and those with "good" scores can also expect to see savings -- around $76 or 35% cheaper each month.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Columbia The General
Fair Credit Score$147$246
Poor Credit Score$174$325

Columbia typically offers lower prices than The General when it comes to drivers with less-than-stellar credit. Drivers with "fair" credit pay about $99 a month less with Columbia compared to The General, and those with "poor" scores typically save an average of around $151 per month.

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Is Columbia or The General Better for Drivers who Work from Home or Have Short Commutes?

Columbia The General
6,000 Annual Miles$150$241
12,000 Annual Miles$150$241

How much you drive can have a large impact on your monthly auto insurance bill. Generally, those who drive less will end up with less expensive premiums since there's less of a chance of getting into a collision and causing an insurance claim.

In this case, neither Columbia or The General report increasing prices for drivers with higher annual mileage figures. Even so, Columbia comes out as the cheapest for drivers at both intervals, whether they put 6,000 or 12,000 miles on their vehicle annually, with average rates of $150 per month for both.

Columbia vs. The General: Compare Rates for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Drivers

Where you live can play a substantial role in how much you pay for insurance. Usually, if you live in a rural area with fewer cars on the road, you'll pay a little less for car insurance, while the opposite is true for people in urban areas.

Columbia The General
Urban Areas$169$310
Suburban Areas$152$225
Rural Areas$129$189

When comparing these two companies side-by-side, Columbia normally comes out as the cheapest option for drivers in all types of areas, no matter if they're urban, suburban, or rural.

Drivers in rural ZIP codes see the most affordable rates from both carriers, but Columbia comes out on top with average prices about $129 monthly. Columbia also has cheaper average premiums for policyholders in urban and suburban ZIP codes -- a 45% and 32% a month respective difference when compared to The General drivers in similar areas.

Columbia vs. The General Discounts

You want to save as much money as possible, right? The best way to do that is by taking advantage of as many auto insurance discounts as you can.

But with what seems like a million different discounts out there, it can be difficult to find all the ones you qualify for or to nail down the company that has the most discounts for your unique driver profile.

In the table below, we've broken down all of the different discounts offered by both Columbia and The General so that you can easily see which company offers the most discounts and see which ones you might be able to take advantage of.

Columbia The General
ABS Discount 
Anti-Theft Discount 
Defensive Driver Discount
Distant Student Discount 
Driver Training Discount 
Education Discount 
Employee Discount 
Good Student Discount 
Group Discount 
Homeowner Discount
Liability Only Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount 
Paid In Full Discount 
Passive Restraint Discount 
Star Level Discount 

Overall, Columbia has the advantage when it comes to total number of discounts. The General offers a grand total of six discounts, while Columbia has 11.

Both companies offer many of the same discounts -- like discounts for being a defensive driver and discounts for being a homeowner -- but Columbia also offers ABS discounts, anti-theft discounts, distant student discounts, and more that The General does not.

On the flip side, The General has a couple unique discounts of its own -- group discounts, liability only discounts, paid in full discounts, and more.

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Final Thoughts: Is Columbia or The General Best for You?

You've seen the role certain variables have on your car insurance and the different discounts carriers offer. But, at the end of the day, is Columbia or The General the best one for you and your specific needs?

Columbia might be best for you if....

  • Your driving record contains an at-fault collision.
  • You have above-average credit.
  • You live in a rural neighborhood.

The General might be best for you if...

  • You have a more unique driver profile than those we mentioned above.

We hope this guide has ben a valuable resource as you compare Columbia and The General and that it aids in making a more informed decision about your insurance.

At the end of the day, the sure-fire way to make sure you're getting the best deal on your auto insurance policy is to compare quotes from multiple companies, not just Columbia and The General. Luckily, makes it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your ZIP code below and get free quotes from dozens of top insurance carriers in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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Columbia vs. The General FAQs

Is Columbia or The General cheaper?

Looking just at the national average prices, Columbia is the more affordable of the two companies, offering average rates of $150 per month compared to $241 for The General. Even so, Columbia won't necessarily be the lowest carrier for every driver, since there are a range of different factors that come into play when it comes to your car insurance cost.

Who is better, Columbia or The General?

Unfortunately, the answer truly is "it depends.". No one company is "better" for each driver -- it all boils down to your unique insurance profile.

Why do Columbia and The General offer me different rates?

Auto insurance carriers take a look at lots of different variables when calculating the rates they charge policyholders. Things such as your driving record, where you park your car, gender, age, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all be taken into consideration. Both Columbia and The General use different formulas, so each one will most likely offer different prices. The only real way to see which carrier is the most affordable for you is by comparing personalized quotes from lots of different companies.

How do I know if Columbia or The General is right for me?

The only way to find the car insurance company that's right for you is by getting quotes from a handful of carriers and finding the one best suited for your individual budget. Luckily, sites like do all the hard work for you. Just enter your ZIP code and you'll get free quotes from dozens of the best auto insurance companies in your area. With those, you can guarantee you're getting the best price. And who knows, the best carrier for you might not be Columbia or The General at all!


All of the data referenced in this article has been gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. We analyzed more than 2.5 million rows of carrier-reported data to calculate the average rates referenced above. All rates are based on an insurance profile of a single-vehicle policy for a driver that owns a 2016 Honda Accord. For more information on how we calculate rates, please reference our data methodology.

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