The General Auto Insurance Review [2021]

Is The General a good car insurance company? The General is a Nashville-headquartered car insurance company that has been part of American Family Insurance since 2012. The company mostly specializes in insuring high-risk drivers, though anyone can get insurance with them. While the company has more complaints that the average insurance company of its size, The General is not designed to have good customer service and is instead designed to help high-risk drivers get coverage.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: May 21, 2021

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The General Automobile Insurance Services, Inc., known simply as The General, is a Nashville-headquartered car insurer that has been part of American Family since 2012. Today, The General continues to sell coverage under its own brand, and the company mostly specializes in insuring high-risk drivers.

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What is the history of The General?

The General was founded in 1963 under the name Permanent General Agency. Later, the company rebranded itself to Permanent General Assurance Corporation or PGAC. Over the years, the company sold standard car policies to customers across Tennessee and surrounding states.

In 1997, PGAC launched The General brand. The famous “The General” mascot appeared in 2000. PGAC emphasized the fact that anyone could get great, low rates online or over the phone through The General. PGAC used slogans like, “Auto insurance for less, The General says Yes” along with the better-known slogan, “For a great low rate you can get online, go to The General and save some time.”

In 2012, PGAC and all its subsidiaries were acquired by American Family Insurance. American Family decided to unify all affiliated companies under the single “The General” brand. Moving forward, The General continues to sell car coverage under its own brand while being a subsidiary of American Family. The company is still headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee with offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Texas, among other states.

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What are The General rankings?

The General focuses on a unique subset of car coverage customers. Anyone can get a policy from The General, but the company specializes in insuring high-risk drivers who need car insurance quickly. Because of that specialization, The General rarely scores well in customer service or pricing compared to its competitors.

The General is not ranked by J.D. Power. The General’s parent company, American Family, scores well in most J.D. Power rankings, however, ranking better than most in terms of pricing and about average in terms of claims satisfaction.

American Family also scores an “A” or “Excellent” rating from A.M. Best, indicating that the company should have no issues covering claims made by The General policyholders or American Family Insurance policyholders. Although The General scores poorly for customer service, the company is in a strong financial position overall.

What makes The General unique?

What kinds of drivers get coverage from The General? The General is best-known for offering coverage to high-risk drivers. Unique features of The General include:

Auto Insurance for High-Risk Drivers: If you have a poor driving record, then The General may be one of your best (or only) insurance options. The company specializes in covering high-risk drivers, including those who cannot get coverage from conventional insurers.

High Prices: The General specializes in insuring high-risk drivers, but that doesn’t mean high-risk drivers can access cheap car insurance. The General’s policies tend to be more expensive than other providers. However, for certain high-risk drivers, this will be their only affordable option.

Poor to Average Claims Satisfaction Ratings: The General works best for those who just want to legally drive on the road and never have to make a claim. The General scores poorly in terms of claims satisfaction and customer service. Many people have had issues with The General’s customer service and claims process.

Few Discounts or Bundling Options Available: The General specializes in selling car insurance. The company doesn’t directly sell life insurance, home insurance, or other products. And, because The General specializes in insuring high-risk drivers, few discounts are available compared to other major insurance companies.

Is The General a good insurer?

The General has more complaints than the average car insurance company of its size. You can also find plenty of complaints and poor ratings for the company online.

However, The General is a unique car insurer: it’s not designed to have good customer service, for example, nor is it designed to offer the lowest pricing: the company specializes in insuring high-risk drivers who struggle to find a policy from other providers.

Drivers with DUIs, multiple at-fault accidents, or a previous suspended license, for example, may struggle to find reasonable rates from other insurers. Or, they may have their request for coverage completely denied from other companies. You may struggle to find an insurer willing to provide you with an SR-22. The General, however, is there: even higher-risk drivers should be able to get a quote from The General.

The General works best for those who need basic liability insurance and minimal other options. Yes, The General sells collision and comprehensive coverage. However, most The General policies are basic liability policies that meet your state’s minimum insurance limits and nothing more.

They do, however, offer a roadside assistance plan for when you need fuel delivery/ gas delivery and fluid delivery or towing unexpectly.

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What are The General auto insurance coverage policies and products?

The General offers several unique auto insurance features, including:

Minimum Liability Insurance: Most The General policies include minimum liability coverage. Car insurance policies from The General allow you to legally drive on the road in your state, but they rarely cover anything beyond that. They’ll provide proof of insurance though when you really need it and don’t have a perfect driving record.

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage: A basic The General policy covers your liability on the road and that’s it. However, you can buy collision and comprehensive coverage through The General for additional protection for your vehicle.

Double Deductible: The General lets you double your deductible for comprehensive and collision coverage. If you make a claim, you’ll pay twice your deductible – but you pay lower insurance premiums. The double deductible option is only available for the first 45 days of your policy, and you can only do it once.

SR-22 Insurance: The General can provide an SR-22, which is a document verifying the fact that a high-risk driver has car insurance. Certain high-risk drivers require an SR-22, including drivers with multiple at-fault accidents or DUIs.

What’s our final word?

The General specializes in insuring high-risk drivers. For some high-risk drivers, this will be the only insurer available at a reasonable rate. The General scores poorly for customer service and claims satisfaction, although it’s ideal for those with multiple claims, DUIs, or a previous suspended license.

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