Direct Auto Insurance Review

The Verdict

Only consider Direct General Auto if you're a high-risk driver

This is not the company for you if you have a clean driving record and want a national auto insurance company.

Insures almost anyone. Direct Auto Insurance offers nonstandard insurance.

That means it insures people that other companies won't touch, like those with less-than-stellar driving records, bad credit, or an SR-22.

High premiums. Insuring riskier drivers means that Direct General charges much higher premiums than other companies like Geico or Progressive.

auto insurance cost comparison data

Poor customer service. The company has a lot of complaints lodged against it.

That's a big sign Direct Auto's customer support could use some improvement.

Only operates in 11 states. If you're in the southeast and are a high-risk driver, then maybe this could be the company for you.

If you're not, then take a look at State Farm, Progressive, and Geico, all of which have lower costs and better customer service ratings for drivers with relatively safe records.

The Competition

Direct General competes with SafeAuto insurance for high-risk drivers

SafeAuto also provides non-standard insurance like Direct General Auto.

While both companies share a lot of features, each differs in a few important ways.

We give a detailed review of SafeAuto Insurance here.

Wider network. Direct Auto only serves eleven states, while SafeAuto offers insurance in 16. That makes it a little more available for consumers.

Costlier premiums. No nonstandard insurance policy is ever cheap, but SafeAuto's rates are even higher than normal.

The company's premiums cost around 16% more than other companies, according to Insurantly.

Fewer discounts. Direct General Auto offers life insurance in addition to its coverage for cars, while SafeAuto sticks with just auto insurance.

As a result, there's no option for bundling multiple policies to save at SafeAuto.

The Question Everyone Is Asking

How does the Direct General Auto pay-by-text plan work?

Easy payments. Not everyone can easily access a computer or smartphone, which is why Direct General Auto gives drivers the option of paying by text.

Users receive a text with their balance whenever their premiums come due and can pay using a linked credit card, debit card, or checking account by responding "da."

Enroll online. To sign up for pay by text, visit Direct General's website.

After creating an account and entering your policy and billing information, you'll be good to go.

The Strengths

Direct Auto is strong because it accepts almost all drivers

Insurance for high-risk drivers. An SR-22, bad credit, or poor driving record won't stop you from getting insurance from Direct General Auto.

The company provides coverage for drivers who may not be able to find insurance anywhere else.

Pay when you want. Direct General Auto lets drivers choose what time of the year or month their bill comes due, a feature highlighted by Allison Hache of Credit Sesame.

That means you can ensure your premiums come in at times when your finances aren't strained.

For instance, say a driver knows their bank account is always low in the week leading up to their payday on the 1st of the month.

Direct General Auto would allow them to set the 2nd as the day their bill comes due, ensuring they won't struggle to afford it.

Pay how you want. Direct General Auto lets you pay by text message or online, unless you live in Tennessee.

Decent discounts. You won't find anything out of the ordinary with Direct General's discounts, but it does offer all the usual ways of lowering your premiums, according to Finder.com.

Discounts include:

  • Military discount. Up to 25% for active service members
  • Safe driver discount. Up to 10% for staying accident and violation free for 36 months
  • Good student discount. Up to 10% for high school, college, or vocational/technical school students with at least a B average
  • Senior citizen discount. Up to 5% for seniors 55 years or older who complete an accident prevention course
  • Multi-car discount. Up to 25% for covering more than one vehicle

How many vehicles in your household?

  • Mileage discount. Up to 5% for low-mileage drivers
  • Multi-product discount. Up to 5% for bundling your auto insurance with term life insurance, emergency protection plan, and sometimes roadside assistance
  • Prior coverage discount. Up to 25% for having six months of insurance with another company and no lapses in insurance over 90 days
  • Homeowner discount. Up to 15% for owning a home where you keep your vehicles
  • Renewal discount. Up to 20% for going without a policy for 12 months and renewing your policy within seven to ten days of expiration
  • Welcome back discount. Up to 6% for returning to Direct General Auto after at least six months with another company
  • Affinity discount:. Up to 5% for membership in certain organizations that partner with Direct General Auto

The Weaknesses

Direct General is weak because of poor customer service

Lots of complaints. While it's not strange for auto insurance companies to get a lot of complaints, Direct General receives a lot more of them than other companies its size.

One analysis found out that it received more than four times more complaints than average, according to Smart Shop Your Car Insurance.

Limited availability. Direct General Auto insurance is only available in eleven states. That puts it out of reach of over half the country.

Poor claims hotline. If you're in a wreck, you want to file a claim as soon as possible.

That isn't always doable with Direct General Auto, as its claims hotline is only open 8-7 PM EST from Monday to Friday, 8-4 PM on Saturday, and completely closed on Sunday.

Average financial strength. Direct Auto's financial strength is only rated as "fair" by the insurance industry analysts of A.M. Best.

That doesn't mean the company won't have the money on hand to pay out your claim, or that the company will become financially insolvent any time soon.

However, it does mean it's in a financially weaker position than other non-standard insurers like Infinity, which holds an "excellent" rating from A.M. Best.

Why You May Need These Services

You should use Direct General Auto if you're a high-risk driver

Direct General Auto serves a specific niche of drivers requiring non-standard insurance.

If you fit the following criteria, it's worth your consideration:

  • You have an SR-22, multiple moving violations or accidents on your driving record, or poor credit
  • You live in the 11 states where Direct General offers insurance
  • You want the option to customize your payment date

The Company's History

Direct General Auto insurance isn't being sued right now

Not THAT Direct General Auto. One thing Direct Auto has been trying to make clear for the past few years is that its parent company is named Direct General Insurance.

That's because a different company named Direct Auto offering auto insurance in Illinois got hit with a lawsuit in 2014, resulting in a lot of confusion and dozens of news story corrections about which company faced legal action.

Direct General works best in these eleven states

You can get insurance from Direct General if you call any of these states in the southeast home:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Florida
  4. Georgia
  5. Louisiana
  6. Mississippi
  7. North Carolina
  8. South Carolina
  9. Tennessee
  10. Texas
  11. Virginia

What The Company Does

This is how Direct General Auto works for you

Like most nonstandard insurers, Direct General Auto doesn't offer the widest variety of services.

However, it does provide a few options beyond liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage.

Liability insurance

Pays when you're at fault. If you're responsible for an accident or collision, liability insurance pays out to cover the other party's medical or property damages.

It doesn't cover your car or health expenses resulting from an accident.

auto insurance incurred losses on liability

Shop around. Lots of customers of companies like Direct General Auto only want the state-mandated minimum amount of liability insurance.

If that sounds like you, make sure you find the best deal.

That's because there's no difference in coverage when you get the minimum other than price.

A policy paying out the Tennessee state minimum bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident will be the same whether you choose Direct General Auto or one of its competitors.

Collision insurance

Pays for your car. Collision insurance will cover the current value of your vehicle after an at-fault accident.

Think before you file a claim. Filing a claim makes your rates jump by around 41%, according to Kate Ashford of Money.

Avoid making Direct General's already-pricey premiums increase by not filing a claim if you're in a minor accident where another driver isn't involved.

Comprehensive insurance

Covers non-collision related damage. Your comprehensive insurance pays out if your car gets stolen, vandalized, or otherwise damaged when you aren't in a wreck.

Set a deductible you can afford. Your deductible is what you pay before your auto insurance policy kicks in.

For instance, if you had a $500 deductible and your car needs $1,500 worth of work after an insurance-covered accident, you would pay the first $500 and your insurance company would pick up the remaining $1,000.

Plans with higher deductibles pay lower premiums, so set your deductible as high as you can afford to keep your rates as low as possible.

Med-pay coverage

Covers your medical expenses. Med-pay coverage pays for a set amount of any medical, hospital, or funeral expenses resulting from an accident.

It pays out before any health insurance you may have, which can be useful for covering high health insurance deductibles.

Check your health insurance. You may not need med-pay coverage if your health insurance is already effective for situations like car insurance, according to AutoInsurance.org.

Check your current health plan before adding this coverage.

Mexico auto insurance

Stay covered traveling abroad. Most American car insurance policies won't cover you if you drive into Mexico.

Direct General offers several different kinds of coverage that will keep you covered after you cross the border, including civil liability, comprehensive, and collision insurance.

Know when and how often you're traveling. The term of your Mexico auto insurance can be as little as 24 hours to up to one year.

Make sure you have a good idea of how long or how often you'll be driving through Mexico in order to make sure you're covered the entire time you're abroad.

US travel to Mexico stats

What People Love About It

People love Direct Auto for its flexible payment schedule

Pay when you want. Direct General Auto lets people choose what day works best for paying their bills and provides lots of flexibility for different types of payment plans.

This can remove a lot of stress if your bank account gets put under pressure at certain times.

Pretty good discounts. The discounts Direct Auto offers are pretty good for a nonstandard insurer, according to Best Company. This can help soften the blow of the company's high rates.

Biggest Complaints

The biggest consumer complaints about Direct General center on their adjusters

While Direct Auto holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, quite a few folks left complaint-filled reviews.

Poor communication. Many people reported difficulty getting in contact with their adjuster following a wreck.

As Jason D. put it in their review, "I have called and left many voicemails and get nothing in response."

No-shows. Some people stated that adjusters failed to keep their scheduled appointments.

Rey E. stated that the adjuster failed to show up for a planned meeting.

Key Digital Services

Direct General's digital services are almost nonexistent

Barely-there website. You can visit Direct Auto's website if you want to get a quote, pay your bill, or renew your policy. There's no option for filing or tracking a claim, two common features usually seen at other insurance companies.

No app. While press releases indicate that Direct Auto launched an app in 2013, it's no longer available on iTunes or Google Play.

Pay with a text. The one thing Direct General Auto does offer for your phone is the option to pay by text.

When your bill comes due, you'll receive a text that lets you respond and pay with a linked credit card, debit card, or bank account.

How To Start Using These Services

Call or visit a Direct Auto location if you want to start using their services

Multiple ways to sign up. You can get insurance through Direct Auto by calling 1-877-463-4732 or using their website to find a nearby Direct Auto location.

There's not much of a difference between these two options, as you get a person capable of explaining your available coverage and answering questions with each one.

Get the prior coverage discount. You can save up to 25% if you've had insurance with another company for at least six months and haven't had a policy lapse of over 90 days. Make sure you bring in proof of your past auto insurance policy to snag these savings.

How to Cancel

The easiest way to stop using Direct General is to call customer service

Dial to cancel. You can cancel your insurance by calling 1-877-4732.

Make sure you've got a new plan lined up. Going without car insurance for any amount of time can make your premiums spike.

Make sure you already have a new car insurance provider before canceling with Direct General.

Watch out for cancellation fees. You may get hit with a fee for canceling your auto insurance too early.

Check the terms of your policy to see when you can end your policy without a penalty.

FAQ

  • Do products/services offered by Direct General Auto differ from state to state?

    Yes. Direct Auto offers insurance in 11 states, with coverage and premiums differing between these areas.

  • How much does insurance from Direct Auto go up after an accident or speeding ticket?

    This varies based on the severity of the accident or ticket.

  • What does comprehensive insurance cover with Direct General's insurance?

    This covers vandalism, theft, and non-collision related damages to your vehicle.

  • Does Direct Auto insurance cover a rental car?

    Yes. You can add rental car insurance to your policy.

  • What does my rental insurance with Direct General Auto cover?

    This reimburses you for some or all of the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is unusable.

  • Does my Direct Auto insurance cover me in Canada or anywhere outside the USA?

    Typically, your car insurance does not cover you while traveling abroad. However, Direct General Auto does sell short-term car insurance policies for people traveling through Mexico.

  • Does Direct Auto use credit scores?

    Yes. These are used to set your rates.

  • What are Direct General's financial strengths?

    The company has a B rating from Moody's, ranking its financial strength as "fair."

  • How long does it take for Direct General to pay for a claim?

    This typically varies based on the severity and type of claim.

  • Does Direct General Auto have gap coverage?

    No.

  • Does Direct Auto have roadside assistance?

    Yes. Roadside assistance plans can be added on to your policy.

  • What are the deductibles on Direct General insurance?

    Each driver can set their own deductible when they sign up for Direct Auto's comprehensive or collision plans.

  • Will adding a teenager to my policy increase the cost?

    Yes, as teenagers are seen as riskier drivers to insure.

  • What are the options to lower my deductible?

    Increasing your premiums allows you to lower your deductible.

  • Will my rates go down if I make my payments on time?

    No, but you can get a renewal discount by renewing your policy within 7-10 days of expiration after 12 months.

  • Should I opt for automatic payments and renewal or shop around after my policy is done?

    Shopping around typically saves you money on car insurance.

  • Does Direct Auto cover third-party liability?

    This will vary based on your policy and state. Check with a Direct General Auto representative to see whether your plan covers third-party liability.

  • Can I add my family member's car to my insurance plan?

    If they're covered under your policy and live in the same household as you, then yes.

  • Can I get my car repaired by my own mechanic or are there specific repair shops I should get my car fixed from?

    Direct General lets you choose any mechanic.

  • What happens if I pay throughout the year without filing any claims?

    Nothing after one year, but Direct General offers a safe driver discount for drivers who go three years without an accident or violation.

  • What are the dividend policies offered by Direct General?

    Direct Auto is not a mutual insurance company and therefore does not offer dividends.

  • Does Direct Auto cover motorcycles?

    Yes, they offer motorcycle insurance.

  • I am an elder. What are the benefits and additional discounts for signing up with Direct Auto?

    Direct General offers a 5% discount for seniors aged 55 or older who complete a collision avoidance course.

Direct General Auto has high rates and not-so-great customer service, but it will accept just about any driver.

If you require non-standard insurance or have an SR-22, it's worth your consideration.

Do you use Direct General Auto?

How has the company worked out for you?

Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?

Let us know in the comments below.