The General auto insurance review: Coverage for drivers with less-than-perfect driving histories

Young man wearing sunglasses in the front seat of his carImage: Young man wearing sunglasses in the front seat of his car

In a Nutshell

Insurance company The General specializes in insuring people with a history of driving violations or accidents. The company offers auto insurance in almost every state — but discounts are limited, and the number of customer complaints is higher than usual.
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Pros Cons

Considers drivers with less-than-perfect driving records

Higher-than-usual number of customer complaints compared to peers

Available in most states

Basic coverage options

Flexible payment options

Discounts may be limited

What you need to know about The General auto insurance

The General is a subsidiary of PGC Holdings Corp., which is an affiliate of American Family Insurance. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, The General has been selling car insurance in the U.S. since 1963. The General doesn’t offer other types of insurance directly, but you can buy term life insurance through its affiliate, American Family Insurance.

Considers high-risk drivers

The General considers insuring drivers that other insurers may not be willing to work with, even if they have a history of accidents or other driving violations, poor credit or lapsed insurance coverage. If you’re required to file a SR-22 form as proof of insurance, The General can file it for you in most states — for a fee. But depending on where you live, you may be required to file the form directly with your state’s transportation agency.

Higher ratio of customer complaints compared to peers

Not all customers are happy with their experience with The General. The company’s number of customer complaints in 2020 was higher than usual for insurance companies of its size in the market, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Basic coverage options

The General offers the basic insurance coverage that you’d expect to find from an auto insurer, including liability, medical payments, uninsured motorist, comprehensive and collision coverage. It also offers coverage such as rental car reimbursement, towing and roadside assistance. Coverage options vary, so check with The General to find out what it offers in your state.

Discounts may be limited

The company offers discounts to qualified drivers, including multi-car, military, academic achievement and homeowner discounts. In some states, there’s also a double deductible discount. If you opt for this offer, you’ll receive a discount in exchange for your comprehensive or collision deductibles being doubled during the first 45 days of your policy. Just keep in mind that The General’s discounts vary by state and may be limited where you live.

A closer look at The General auto insurance

If you need to buy car insurance, here are some additional details to know about The General.

  • Widely available — The General offers insurance in most states. And in states where it doesn’t offer coverage, the company partners with other insurance companies to help you get the coverage you need.
  • Claims — You can report a new claim or check on the status of an existing claim by phone or through the mobile app. If you use the app to report a claim, you can upload photos and document any damage your vehicle sustained.
  • Mobile app — You can make payments and access digital ID cards as well as policy, billing and claims information through The General’s mobile app.
  • Flexible payment options — In most states, you can set up monthly payment plans after making an initial down payment. The General accepts payments in person, by mail, phone, online and through the mobile app. You can pay with cash, credit card, check, electronic check (in some states), or set up automatic debit payments from a checking account. The General also has multiple, split and scheduled payment options.

Is The General auto insurance the right fit for you?

The General car insurance might be a good fit for someone who has a history of accidents or other moving violations, lapsed insurance coverage or poor credit.

Because The General specializes in working with high-risk drivers, this company’s probably not your best bet if you have a good driving record.

How to get an auto insurance quote from The General

The General auto insurance is available in all states except Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. You can get an online quote at The General’s website, over the phone or in person from an agent.

Your initial quote will be for the minimum amount of coverage required by your state. But you may be able to add additional coverage options or increase coverage limits after you receive the initial quote.

Many factors influence how much you’ll pay for car insurance. If you have a spotty driving record, poor credit or lapsed coverage, your rates will likely be higher than someone with a clean driving record who has good credit and continuous coverage. That’s why it’s important to get quotes from a few different companies and compare offers before you purchase a policy to help ensure you get the best rates and coverage you can for your needs.

Learn more: How to compare car insurance rates

Not sure if an auto insurance policy from The General is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you’re shopping for auto insurance and you’re not sure The General is right for you, here are a couple of other car insurance companies to consider.

  • Direct Auto Insurance: Direct could be good if you’re a high-risk driver who qualifies for some of the company’s many insurance discounts.
  • Allstate auto insurance: Allstate may be ideal if you’re a safe driver and want to be recognized with discounts and rewards.

About the author: Jennifer Brozic is a freelance financial services writer with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in communication management from Towson University. She’s committed… Read more.