The General Insurance company was first founded in 1963 in Nashville, Tennessee under the name of the Permanent General Agency. Although the company went through various name changes throughout the years, all companies affiliated with Permanent General unified under the name "The General." This consolidation is due in part to the acquisition of the company by American Family Insurance; however, despite this, the company left "The General" as a separate brand. Today the company is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, but has operations in Louisiana, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Texas.
The General's basic auto insurance policy offers four separate types of coverage: liability, medical payments, uninsured motorist coverage, and coverage for damage to your auto.
The General's liability insurance protects you from personal injury claims or property damage claims that come from the operation of a covered automobile. In layman's terms, this means that while driving an insured car that you own or that you have permission to drive, you are protected against liability. Anyone driving your vehicle with your permission is also covered. When you sign up for this coverage, you set a coverage limit; this limit is the maximum amount that will be paid out in the event of a loss.
Medical Payments Insurance
If you are in an accident, then there is a good chance that you'll be injured. If nothing else, you'll be responsible for the cost of paramedics evaluating you at the scene. The General's medical payments insurance covers the cost of any medical payments you or your passengers incur as the result of an accident.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In most accidents, the person at fault is responsible for any costs that arise as a result of property damage, personal injury, medical payments, etc. However, if the person at fault has no insurance, then there is little can be done except turn to your own insurance company for assistance. Uninsured motorist coverage means your insurance company will pay you for the damages caused by an uninsured motorist. While it is illegal to operate a vehicle without insurance, it still happens relatively often. You should be prepared for the worst case scenario.
Collision coverage is sometimes called Coverage for Damage to Your Auto. This coverage is sometimes required by banks and financiers for a vehicle. It pays for damage to an insured vehicle regardless of who is at fault.
What is a vanishing deductible?
Most insurance policies have a set deductible that must be paid out regardless of loss. A vanishing deductible varies from this pattern by decreasing as the amount of loss increases. Full coverage is provided—and the deductible disappears entirely—once the loss reaches a certain amount. Unfortunately, The General does not offer vanishing deductibles.
What is accident forgiveness?
Certain auto insurance policies have "accident forgiveness" which prevents a rate increase following your first at-fault accident. Further options extend this to other drivers on your policy. That said, The General does not have an accident forgiveness policy. If you're involved in an accident, your rates are likely to increase.
The General makes it easy for anyone to get a quote. Estimated rates are as follows:
- Single 21 year old female: $1,618
- Single 21 year old male: $2,050
- Married 30 year old male: $1,094
- Married 60 year old female: $903
The General Insurance Reviews
The General has mixed reviews from customers. The company has 53 customer reviews from the Better Business Bureau and 381 customer complaints. Of the 53 reviews, 5 are positive, 1 is neutral, and 47 are negative. That said, The General has an A+ rating from the BBB and a composite review of 3.82 out of 5 stars.
Consumer Affairs is a different story. The General has a one-star rating based on 237 reviews. Many of the complaints center around customer service; customers were unable to get the answers they needed over the phone. The entire first page of reviews were all one-star; although positive reviews could be found, it was difficult.
The General Insurance Discounts
The General is most focused on high-risk drivers that may find it difficult to obtain coverage through more traditional companies; for example, young drivers or those that have been involved in numerous accidents. Although this can result in higher premiums, the General does offer a number of discounts.
Lump Sum Payment Discount
Sending out monthly bills costs a company money, both in postage and in labor costs. Customers that pay their entire annual premium at once will receive a discount on the overall cost.
Select Driver Discount
If you have more than one driver on your policy, you may qualify for the select driver discount. All drivers need at least five years of driving experience, as well as at least two consecutive years of clean driving. All drivers must also take an accident prevention course approved by The General.
Deductible Doubling Discount
If you are willing to double your deductible within the first 45 days of your coverage period, you can qualify for the deductible doubling discount. You can lower your overall premium by maintaining a higher deductible throughout the length of your coverage, so although the discount only requires a doubled deductible for 45 days, it can be worthwhile to keep it for longer periods.
Multiple Car Discount
If you have more than one vehicle, insuring them all under The General can result in lowered premiums.
Specific Driver Discount
The General offers a discount to customers who restrict the potential drivers of their vehicle to a specified list of people. The General bases the discount on the driving record of the listed drivers; by reducing the number of people that will drive your car, you lower the chance that someone high-risk will be behind the wheel.
Does the General have a cancellation policy?
While you can cancel your policy at any time, you cannot do so without penalty. The General requires you to pay 10% of your remaining annual premium, with a $30 fee if you still owe $300 or more.
The General Insurance Strengths
Despite the seemingly negative response from customers, The General excels in certain areas that other insurance companies do not.
- The General offers coverage to drivers with less than perfect credit, poor driving histories, or those who have had their licenses suspended in the past.
- The General offers SR-22 insurance forms.
- You can receive an instant quote offer from The General.
The General Insurance Weaknesses
The General's main weaknesses lie in the website and customer service areas.
- The General's website does not provide information about optional coverage.
- The company has a range of mixed customer reviews.
- The website also lacks much of the information that competitors provide.
- The General does not have an accident forgiveness program.
What are the most common complaints about The General insurance?
There are three primary complaints that are repeated over and over again by customers: claim delays, claim denials, and complaints about adjuster handling. Many customers complain that The General did not process their claims quickly enough or that there were delays in the investigation of a claim. Others claim that The General did not have grounds to deny their claims, and even more argued that claims were not handled satisfactorily by adjusters.
Do the products and services offered by The General vary from state to state?
The General does offer different products and services on a state to state basis, but these differences are based on the individual state requirements. For example, some states have higher minimum requirements for liability and collision coverage than others.
How to File an Insurance Claim With The General
If you are involved in an accident and need to file an insurance claim with the general, call 1-800-280-1466 and select option three. This line is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind in the moments following an accident.
First of all, before you report the accident, take the time to make sure everyone involved is safe and that there is no immediate danger. Call the police first, no matter how minor the accident; even fender benders are required by law to be reported.
Get the other driver's information, including the make and model of their car, their license plate number, and a description of the damage. If you have a camera handy, it's a good idea to take photographs of both vehicles and the area surrounding them. Only after you have done all of this should you reach out to the insurance company; this way, you will have all the information you need to provide in order to start the claims process.
These are some of the most commonly asked questions customers have about The General Insurance.
How much does the General Insurance go up after an accident and/or speeding ticket?
The rate increase after an accident or speeding ticket will be based on a variety of factors including your driving record, age, gender, and location. In New York, the annual premium may only increase by $80 while it can be as high as $1,000 in the District of Colombia.
Do I have to file a claim immediately after an accident or can I file it after a week?
While you can file a claim after a week, it is best if you file the claim as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the less leverage you will have in court—particularly if you need to file a lawsuit, as the 'tolling' period begins immediately after the accident.
What does comprehensive insurance cover with The General Insurance?
Comprehensive insurance covers other sources of loss outside of collision, including less predictable forms of damage. For example, a hailstorm that dents your car and removes the paint would be covered under comprehensive insurance, as would damage incurred from a tree falling onto the car. Hitting an animal, flood damage, fire damage, and other forms are also covered under comprehensive insurance.
Does my The General Insurance cover a rental car?
The General offers rental insurance as optional coverage, but it is not a default option. You must select it when you purchase your policy in order for it to cover rental vehicles.
Does my The General car insurance cover me in Canada or anywhere outside the USA?
The majority of third-party insurance providers do not provide international auto insurance. While it may be possible as optional or temporary coverage, you will need to contact The General and inquire about your specific situation. You will also need to obtain an international driving permit (IDP) before operating a motor vehicle abroad.
Does The General Insurance use credit scores?
The General can provide an estimated quote without the use of your credit score, but the majority of car insurance companies will use your credit score to determine monthly premiums. However, some states, like Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California have banned the practice and do not allow insurance companies to use credit scores as one of their evaluation criteria.
What are The General Insurance's financial strengths?
The General carries an A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating of A-, but has not been rated by Moody's or Standard & Poor.
Does The General offer insurance for motorcycles?
The General does offer motorcycle insurance in certain states, but the insurance is written through Progressive. This means that The General will provide the financial support for customers, but any claims supports, discounts, and customer services will be provided through Progressive.
What is The General's BBB accreditation?
The General has an A- rating from the BBB.
Will my insurance also cover the other party's damages?
Liability insurance covers damage to the other party's vehicle or personal injury they might suffer. Liability is usually the minimum insurance required by most states; however, it is often a good idea to have as much coverage as you can afford.
What are the different types of insurance plans that I can opt for?
You can purchase "liability only" insurance in order to meet the minimum state requirements, or you can opt for "full coverage" insurance. You can also add additional coverage options to your plan based on what you need.
Can I request a claim through an online application?
The General does not accept online claims. However, you can file a claim by calling 1-800-280-1466.
How frequently are the rates subject to change?
Rates change depending on a variety of socioeconomic factors. If the economy is doing well, then your rates may change to match the increased power of currency. If you are involved in an accident or receive a ticket, your rates will likely increase because of the increased risk. Some insurance companies will increase rates on a periodic basis, or potentially lower them during evaluation periods.
Do I get roadside assistance on my plan?
Roadside assistance is available but is not included by default. The cost of this service will vary depending on your plan.
Can I add my family member's car to my insurance plan?
Yes, though you may need to be listed as the primary driver. The General offers a multiple vehicle discounts if you have more than one automobile insured on your policy.
Why has my account been canceled when all my payments have been cleared?
Insurance companies reserve the right to cancel any policy at their discretion. Even if all of your payments have cleared, it may be possible that you are too high-risk due to frequent accidents or missed payments.
Can I get my car repaired by my own mechanic or are there specific repair shops I should get my car fixed from?
As long as your mechanic is properly licensed and recognized as a business, there should be no problem with you using your personal mechanic. However, in certain cases, your insurance company may require you to use a specific repair shop.
Thinking of going with The General Insurance - Our verdict
The General makes it easy for nearly anyone to obtain auto insurance. However, it isn't the best overall company. The General is far better suited to individuals who might have difficulty obtaining insurance from other institutions; for instance, someone who has been involved in multiple accidents and is considered high-risk, someone who has poor credit, or someone who has had their policy lapse on numerous occasions.
If you're looking for complete protection against any potential threats and damages to your vehicle, there are other companies that can provide that at a lower cost than the General. However, if you're a new driver or someone that doesn't have the proper credit or financial backing to obtain traditional auto insurance, then the General can be a solid option. It might not be the best company, but it certainly isn't the worst. Just be aware of the customer complaints and the potential problems you may encounter and make your decisions accordingly based on your research and your individual needs.