- Great website and mobile app
- Getting your SR-22 or FR-44 filed is easy
- Policy options for very high-risk drivers
- Limited coverage options
- Higher average premiums
- Few discount opportunities
Bottom LineThe General does a great job offering car insurance policies tailored to high-risk drivers, so long as they don’t need specialty coverage. It struggles with claims service — and it’s hard to tell if customers are happy with the company in the long run.
The General Auto Insurance: At a Glance
|Available||Everywhere except Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C.|
|Owned by||American Family Insurance|
|National average premium||$242 per month|
|Mobile app||Android, iOS|
|Customer service||1 (844) 328-0306|
|Claims||1 (800) 280-1466|
|Primary competitors||Progressive, Dairyland, SafeAuto, Freeway Insurance|
Is The General a Good Choice for Car Insurance?
The General is a great choice for high-risk drivers, especially those with a DUI in their past. The company offers a fair range of policy options and has greatly improved its tech features in recent years. Getting a quote is easy, and buying a policy from The General is easier than many of its competitors.
The company scores well across several review sites, but something was noticeably different as I read through more than 100 customer reviews: Positive written reviews were short. And most positive reviews on the site Trustpilot were “invited,” meaning the company asked the customer to review it on the site.
The General customer reviews
Across several review sites, The General receives high scores from customers.
- ConsumerAffairs: 3.6 out of 5
- Trustpilot: 4.7 out of 5
- Better Business Bureau: 4.52 out of 5
- WalletHub: 4.1 out of 5
- Credit Karma: 4.5 out of 5
Many of the positive reviews focus on cost and ease of purchase, like this one:
But I did notice (you may have, too) that this review on Trustpilot is tagged as “invited.” That means the company requested a review directly from the customer. In fact, of the last 500 four- and five-star reviews, no one offered a review without an invitation. The reviews are also quite short, sometimes just a headline, and focused solely on the initial buying process.
And on other review sites, somewhat longer reviews (that don’t appear to be requested) tell a similar story.
Far fewer reviews (though there are some) mention staying with the company long-term. So it’s hard to know how long customer satisfaction persists beyond the honeymoon phase. And there are plenty of complaints and negative reviews that show a few consistent issues with the company. Here are the major themes:
- Claims process wait times
- Difficulty getting in touch with customer service
- Sudden increases in price
- Confusion and communication issues
Take this review. The customer has to navigate a revoked vehicle registration because The General allegedly made mistakes in reporting the new, active policy to the DMV. Unfortunately, the issue is difficult to resolve, and, though avoidable, the company repeats the mistake on the next renewal.
So it’s no surprise that this customer decides to leave the company and find insurance elsewhere.
The General customer complaints
Overall, The General has a higher number of complaints than average. Its NAIC rating (which measures the number of customer complaints and weighs the score by company size) is 3.28. That means The General receives more than three times the number of complaints as the industry average for insurers its size.
I thought this complaint was especially interesting, where the customer struggles to get roadside assistance for a flat tire. The customer is left high and dry with a nonoperational vehicle after the person who came to the rescue failed to fix the issue (but told The General the job was completed).
When the customer turns to the company for help, the roadside assistance team seems to really drop the ball.
It’s nice to see that the company responds here, though it’s hard to know if the issue was resolved.
Another complaint highlights an issue I found to be consistent with the company’s claims process since 2018. Mainly that it’s slow and claims representatives are difficult to get in touch with during the process (we’ll go over more of those specifics in the “Claims Review” section later in this article).
The company makes an effort to respond to all the complaints (and many customer reviews across the web). But, in my opinion, based on reading several dozen of the insurer’s responses, the company is fairly cold in its responses to negative feedback.
In the review above, for example, the wording invalidates the customer’s frustration by asking for a “valid” number. I would expect a company to be more protective of its customers and use wording like, “There appears to be an error in the claim number you supplied. Please contact us directly; we are happy to assist you.”
This may seem like a small adjustment, but I think it’s both more professional and kind to assume the best in customers first.
Where is The General Insurance available?
You can purchase a car insurance policy from The General everywhere in the United States except:
How Much Is The General Car Insurance?
The average rate for an auto insurance policy with The General is $242 per month. The General has higher-than-average rates for many types of drivers, except for those with a DUI on their record. According to our research, the average liability-only policy at The General is $1,848 annually, and full coverage is $3,948.
|Liability Only||Full Coverage|
The General rates for teens and young drivers
It’s tough to find affordable rates when you’re young and less experienced, especially for teen drivers. Yet The General comes through with low rates for this group.
|Age||Liability Only||Full Coverage|
You can save $70 a month on average as a teen with a full-coverage policy. But 25-year-old drivers aren’t likely to find their best rate here.
The General rates for adult drivers
Rates tend to decrease as you age and gain more experience on the road. Yet rates at The General remain stubbornly high for average adult policyholders of all ages.
|Age||Liability Only||Full Coverage|
|25 years old||$154||$334|
|40 years old||$114||$251|
While some may find a great price here, most will get a lower rate with a competitor.
The General rates for seniors
Similarly, senior drivers aren’t typically getting the lowest rates with The General. Drivers over 65 tend to pay $30 per month more than average for liability policies and $43 more per month on full-coverage policies.
|Age||Liability Only||Full Coverage|
|65 years old||$127||$264|
Senior drivers tend to see their rates decrease well into their 70s, so long as they keep a clean driving record. Seniors with a DUI (a rising trend) can usually find low rates with The General.
The General rates after an accident
Though The General specializes in high-risk policies, the company doesn’t appear to offer great rates to drivers with an at-fault accident. Full-coverage policies cost quite a bit more than the national average rate — $864 more annually!
|Driving History||Liability Only||Full Coverage|
|With At-Fault Accident||$178||$381|
If you have an at-fault accident, you should get several quotes before deciding on your policy.
Uncover More Affordable Rates After an Accident
The General rates after a speeding ticket
The General also quotes higher-than-average rates for drivers with speeding tickets.
|Driving History||Liability Only||Full Coverage|
On average, drivers spend $480 more per year for liability only compared to national averages. Cheapest rates for drivers with speeding tickets can be found elsewhere (usually).
The General rates after a DUI
Getting a DUI can seriously affect your insurance rates for several years after the incident. But, whether it’s a liability-only or a full-coverage policy, The General usually helps drivers with a DUI save money.
Drivers with liability-only policies save an average of around $200 annually ($800 for full coverage) compared to the national average.
|Driving History||Liability Only||Full Coverage|
That’s one reason The General topped our list of Best Insurance Companies After a DUI.
The General rates for drivers with bad credit
Compared to average costs, The General doesn’t offer cheap rates to drivers with excellent, good, or fair credit. Rates are only slightly higher than average for drivers with poor credit.
|Credit Score||Liability Only||Full Coverage|
Your credit score affects rates in most states, but how much rates change depends on the auto insurance company.
The General rates by state
Overall, The General doesn’t offer the lowest rate on average in most states. But these rates are only averages. Some drivers in these states will still find a good deal at The General.
|State||Liability Only||Full Coverage|
Where you live has one of the biggest impacts on your car insurance costs, as local claim rates, crime rates, climate, and other factors influence your risk.
The General’s rates compared to top competitors
Typically, The General doesn’t beat much of the competition on price, except for drivers with a DUI on their record. But it’s usually not the priciest on average for full-coverage policies.
|Company||Liability Only||Full Coverage|
While The General tends to offer higher rates on average, it could still be the most affordable option for you. There are so many factors involved in pricing that it’s hard to know what the cheapest option is unless you compare quotes first.
Find the Cheapest Company for You in Minutes
The General Car Insurance discounts
It’s hard to find clear information about the number and types of car insurance discounts that The General offers, which may be due to the variability of discount opportunities by state.
I did find information about the following discounts, but there wasn’t much additional information regarding who can qualify, the savings provided, or other specifics. So all I can say is that in some places, The General may offer discounts for the following:
- Car safety features
- Good student
- Multiple drivers
- Multiple vehicles
- Recent auto insurance (any within the last five years)
I gave the company a lower score here due to the small number of discounts and how little information about them is available online.
Purchasing a Car Insurance Policy from The General
You can purchase a customized car insurance policy at The General in just a few minutes. The purchase process makes it easy to get a quote without handing over your personal details. Instead, information like your driver’s license number is saved for when you’re ready to buy the policy.
Once you download the app and create an account, you can access your ID cards on your smartphone right away. Overall, The General makes the process as painless and fast as possible. This is especially helpful if you need to get quoted and insured on the same day.
How easy is it to get a quote from The General?
It’s easy to get a quote — and customize it — completely online with The General. The process is simple, only requires your most basic information, and offers a lot of additional information to answer questions as they come up during the process. Let me show you everything, step by step.
To start, I only had to enter my ZIP code (not my entire address).
The form didn’t ask for much personal information, which is a major theme here. I appreciated being able to move quickly through the form without having to refer to documents for my car’s VIN. And not having to give my address means I won’t suddenly receive a bunch of junk mail from companies that buy my information.
I wasn’t required to give my phone number either (so no spam calls). And here is where I entered some basic information about my driving record (mainly a speeding ticket). Every question on the form was clear and easy to answer.
Filling out the vehicle information section was simple and fast. After I indicated that my car is financed, a small box popped up below the question notifying me that my quote would include comprehensive and collision coverage because my car is financed. I appreciated these small, informative details.
It also provided clear pricing information about the roadside assistance service offered by the company, which I appreciated.
From there, I received my quotes. The quote page was well organized, and I appreciated the inclusion of the quote number, down payment amount, future payment, and total annual premium in the “Quote Details” sidebar. Below that, a help center offered several ways to contact customer service.
I could customize my policy in several ways, including coverage limits, deductibles, and adding optional coverage like MedPay. The site laid out the options in a way that made it easy to understand both the coverage type and the options associated with it.
I easily customized my policy using the dropdown menus. And if I refreshed my quote after making changes, it was fairly easy to see how each choice affected my costs.
Each coverage option also had an information symbol next to it (the question mark in a circle). When I clicked on these, a window popped up to explain more about the option. I thought this was especially helpful for explaining uncommon features, such as the Double Deductible option.
Getting to the quote and customizing it were easy. The grunt work of the application — filling in the finer details of my personal information and driving record — was saved for after I got the price. And I appreciated seeing an estimate before committing more time to the task.
But this could spell trouble for some. If I made an error in the pre-application process or if there’s risk variability within my ZIP code, I could get a higher (or lower) actual rate. Seeing a rate increase after handing over additional personal information would be very annoying — and it’s probably why several reviews talk about a “bait and switch” with their rate.
Companies that ask for more information up front typically provide more accurate quotes.
Can you purchase a policy from The General 100% online?
Yes, The General allows you to purchase a car insurance policy online without in-person visits or phone calls. The General’s online platform lets you get a quote, customize your coverage options, make payments, and finalize your policy relatively quickly.
I found the streamlined online experience enjoyable, and I found quite a few customer reviews stating that it was easy and fast to get a policy the same day, including this one:
You may need to upload photos of supporting documentation, such as proof you were previously insured. Conveniently, this can (almost) always be completed with your smartphone.
What Types of Coverage Does The General Offer?
The General covers all the essential bases of car insurance — basically, any coverage type that could be required by the state or lender. These include:
- Liability insurance covers costs if you’re legally responsible for injury or damage to others.
- Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from collisions, regardless of fault.
- Comprehensive coverage covers noncollision damage to your vehicle, such as theft and natural disasters.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you if you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) covers medical expenses and lost wages for you and your passengers after a car accident, regardless of fault.
- Medical payments coverage (MedPay) pays for medical expenses from a car accident, regardless of fault.
Crucially, I didn’t find information about specialty insurance, such as gap insurance. And The General doesn’t offer specialty coverages such as accident forgiveness or auto glass coverage. If you want policy features like these, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
It’s also important to keep in mind that coverage options (and other policy features) vary depending on your state.
What other types of insurance does The General offer?
The General offers several other insurance products that span the range of property and casualty insurance. You can purchase the following insurance products:
- Motor home
- Travel trailer
- Commercial auto
I should also note that most of these additional policies are underwritten by “affiliated companies,” according to The General’s website. This is a common practice — GEICO, Progressive, and many others do the same thing.
But it can lead to confusion if you don’t know you’re purchasing the policy from an affiliate, especially if you have to make a claim. For example, you may need to resolve the claim with the affiliate directly instead of with The General’s customer service team.
Does The General offer auto and home insurance bundling?
No, The General doesn’t offer a discount for bundling homeowners and car insurance, possibly because home insurance policies are underwritten by a third party.
Other Products, Services, and Perks from The General
The General doesn’t offer many special perks or services. And the company sticks to insurance products only. But it does offer a roadside assistance program (more about that next). It also sometimes offers windshield coverage and possibly more, but it was hard to find information about these offerings on the company’s website.
The best way to know which specialty options are available to you is to create a basic quote. All your options will be listed on the quote page, and you’ll get a chance to review them without handing over much of your personal information.
The General roadside assistance
The General partners with Nation Safe Drivers (NSD) Auto Club to provide roadside assistance to customers. Coverage includes:
- Towing up to 15 miles
- Mechanical first aid for minor adjustments that can be provided on the road (without going into the shop)
- Flat tire, lockout, and jump starts
- Delivery service when you run out of gas, oil, water, or other essential supplies
- Rental car reimbursement up to $15 a day for up to five days
Participants can make up to five calls per year, three calls per half year. Reviews generally don’t mention roadside assistance, but there were a few good and bad reviews of the service. The main takeaway: stay in touch with your roadside assistance customer service representative.
The General Customer Service
Getting in touch with The General appeared easy. The company makes its contact information clear, displaying it across its website. The website and mobile app have a convenient chat feature, and many tasks are easy to do without talking to customer service.
But when I tried to contact The General over chat, I was first given a few common topics to choose from — all of which lead me through the answers to frequently asked questions. When I pushed the system beyond the FAQ, I was told no one was available to chat with me. It was 10 a.m. on a Wednesday, so I was surprised.
Customer service reviews
Customer reviews also point out some flaws, and most of them talk about failures to properly resolve (or explain) issues, especially with billing. In this one, the customer was told their car was a different (and more expensive to insure) model than it actually was.
Seems like a simple fix, but the customer complains that it hasn’t been resolved yet, and it’s been four months.
I also found a few reviews where the customer receives a price increase but can’t get any information on why their premiums went up (by $120 a month!)
This was not the only review where a customer talked about sudden and unexplained price increases. In several of these reviews, I found similar claims that the customer service team had no solid answers about pricing.
But it’s not all bad. Many reviewers talk about how easy it was to buy a policy (as we showed earlier) or manage it online. I also found several reviews praising the service received over the chat feature, like this one below:
Many reviews also talk openly about the difficulty of getting affordable rates without a clean record and the relief of finally finding one with The General.
The General Claims Process
The claims process is easy at The General. You can submit a claim with the website or mobile app. The app allows you to upload photos easily from your phone.
Reviews of the claims process were, as with many insurers, mostly negative. On the milder end, reviewers note the process doesn’t run smoothly. A few, like this recent one, mention a long repair wait time.
Here, the reviewer has an issue getting their car repaired before the rental reimbursement coverage hits its maximum.
The customer who wrote this recent review struggled to get fair payment for their totaled vehicle. The reviewer gave three stars but had to threaten legal action before they got a payout. And that was after their car was towed 100 miles away, and they were left with the bill.
Admittedly, positive reviews of the claims process were hard to find. Across several websites, I only found two positive reviews of the claims process within the last three years. Both were quite short, but both gave five stars.
The company doesn’t have much information from independent reviewers, like J.D. Power, which we typically use to get a clearer picture of customer satisfaction with the claims process.
The General Mobile App
Across the board, customers have good things to say about The General’s mobile app. Most of the negative reviews I found weren’t usually about the apps, though there seems to be a log-in glitch with both the iOS and Android apps.
The General has a 4.7-star rating on the App Store with 122,900 reviews. For the most part, customers are having an easy time using the app, especially for basic functions. But, as this reviewer points out, even small hiccups are easy to resolve.
But this reviewer points out a big issue paying their bill with the app or website. And while the two issues don’t seem to be related, the customer also has trouble logging into the website and app with the “remember me” feature.
The General has a 4.8-star rating on Google Play with 27,900 reviews. Many of the positive reviews mention that the app is easy and convenient to use, like this one does below. They also had an easy time managing their claim through the app.
The app has glitches — this reviewer has had issues with logging in and found a few flaws in the practical functions (being able to print ID cards from a phone isn’t possible for every user). But they still gave the company five stars.
Not every customer is so understanding. This reviewer had issues submitting documentation through the app. And when they reached out directly to customer service, they could not resolve their problem. So it seems, as with many insurance companies, the app works well for basic needs but can be less useful when managing more complex tasks.
But, as we see here, the company often responds to negative feedback by directing them to the department that can help them (as they did here, sending the reviewer contact information for the underwriting department).
Bottom Line: Is The General Car Insurance Right for You?
Whether The General is a good fit for you will depend on your needs and preferences. It’s always a good idea to list what’s most important to you and refer back to it when comparing policies. Knowing what you value most in your policy and paying a little more (or less!) to get what you value typically results in a stronger sense of satisfaction.
Where The General stands out
The General makes getting a quote easy. Many customer reviews praise the buying experience, and the love extends to the mobile app and website as well.
I appreciated that the company didn’t require extensive personal information — my exact address and phone number, for example — before giving me a quote.
While that likely means their quotes may be somewhat less accurate, it was convenient to get a ballpark estimate before handing over more of my information.
Where The General falls short
The General isn’t a great fit for drivers with good driving records. It typically doesn’t offer the lowest rate to these drivers. Policies are fairly customizable, but the insurer can’t provide you with gap insurance or accident forgiveness.
The General is best for drivers who…
The General is a great fit for high-risk drivers, especially if they have a DUI on their record or find it difficult to get insurance. Several customer reviews say they had trouble finding a policy elsewhere or that The General offered a much better price than competitors.
Popular Alternatives to The General
The General excels in providing coverage for high-risk drivers at competitive prices, but some alternatives cater to different needs. Below are leading alternatives and a few words on how they compare to The General.
- AAA: The General has lower rates on average than AAA (especially in rural areas) but also offers fewer discounts.
- Allstate: Allstate typically offers cheaper policies than The General, except in Arizona, Missouri, and Utah.
- COUNTRY Financial: COUNTRY is available in fewer states but usually offers more affordable policies.
- Columbia: Columbia offers policies in fewer states, but where it does, rates are cheaper on average.
- Electric: Electric offers more discounts than The General, but its premiums are higher on average.
- GEICO: GEICO typically offers much cheaper rates than The General, except in Arizona, Missouri, and Utah.
- Progressive: Both companies have roots in providing policies for high-risk drivers, but Progressive tends to offer more affordable rates to low-risk drivers than The General.
The General Auto Insurance FAQs
If you’re looking for more information on The General and its auto insurance policies, check out these answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions.
Is The General a reliable insurance company?
Yes. The General is a reliable insurer with an excellent financial rating. Customers have given many positive reviews across several of the largest review platforms.
Does The General have the cheapest car insurance?
For drivers with a DUI, The General can offer cheaper-than-average rates. But most drivers are quoted higher (or much higher) than average.
Is The General hard to deal with?
The General doesn’t appear to be any more difficult to deal with than other insurance companies. Some reviews point out getting the runaround from customer service, but the company has a great website and mobile app.
Is The General actually good?
Yes. The General has a good reputation for providing car insurance policies to high-risk drivers. The website and mobile app allow you to manage most tasks yourself.
Is The General good at paying claims?
The General has an “A” (Excellent) financial rating from A.M. Best, but it does appear to process claims more slowly than competitors. I read several reviews where the claims process well outlasted the rental car coverage limits.
How long has The General been in business?
The General has been in business for 60 years.