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The General auto insurance review for 2021

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

    Article Highlights

    You may be familiar with this provider’s commercials, featuring a general dressed in an army-green uniform. Known as The General, the insurance company got its start in 1963 as the Permanent General Agency. The General is best for drivers with rough driving histories, and is one of the few carriers that provide SR-22 certificates. The General reviews from customers are mixed, but the carrier is a good option for drivers considered high-risk, who have trouble finding affordable car insurance.

    The General Quckpoints

    • Subsidiary of: American Family Insurance
    • Region offered: All states except Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey.
    • Specialty coverages: SR-22

    As a subsidiary of American Family Insurance, ratings for The General from J.D. Power and AM Best ratings are not available.

    The General customer satisfaction and complaints

    When considering coverage with an insurance carrier, it’s important to analyze what other customers have to say about their experience. The General ratings from J.D. Power, an independent source of customer reviews, are not available. However, The General’s customer experience reviews may be included in those for American Family Insurance.

    According to the database of complaints the National Association of Insurance Commissioners keeps, The General’s complaint ratio was 1.02, which is more complaints than companies its size typically receive. This could potentially be a reflection of a higher-risk customer base.

    The General auto insurance reviews from TrustPilot are mostly positive. There are over 53,000 reviews averaging a 4.7 out of 5 stars. The General insurance reviews mostly consist of comments describing the process of getting insured as “fast and easy.” A common complaint is the lack of coverage you get for the price — which, again, is consistent with high-risk insurance overall. 

    The General auto insurance discounts

    The General offers a variety of discounts that could help offset the cost of auto insurance for high-risk drivers. Discounts you may be familiar with include those for pay-in-advance, multiple policy, military and car safety equipment (such as airbags and anti-lock brakes). Particular discounts worth noting include:

    Good student discount 

    If you can show you have a B average (or 3.0 GPA) or better you may qualify for a reduction of your premiums.

    Select driver discount

    If you’d like to add additional drivers to your car insurance policy with The General, you may receive a discount for each additional driver. To qualify, the driver must have a clean driving record for the last three years and have been licensed at least five years.

    Driver training discount

    Many of the drivers that choose The General have a history of accidents or traffic violations. You can qualify for the driver training discount if you successfully complete a driving safety course approved by the DMV in your area.

    The General auto insurance premium length

    The General provides the option of six-month policies. With high-risk drivers, a six-month policy can mean your rates change more frequently over time, but you also have the opportunity to improve your driving record and see positive changes faster. 

    If you have a checkered driving history or you’re working on improving your credit score, the shorter policy may work in your favor. Use the time wisely to make improvements to your driving habits and improve your credit score in the six-month term. You may qualify for better car insurance rates if you do. 

    The General vs. other insurance companies

    If you’re looking for auto insurance, you should get quotes from several car insurance companies before you make a decision. You may find better pricing and coverage when you compare quotes from multiple carriers. Some car insurance carriers specialize in low-cost liability coverage, high-value vehicles or drivers with poor credit or a history of accidents. 

    Based on availability, the discounts offered and overall customer feedback, the following auto insurance companies may be good alternative insurers worth including in your quote comparison 

    The General vs Progressive

    The General and Progressive both offer auto insurance for a variety of driver types. The main difference between the two is market share: Progressive is the third largest insurance company in the country, while The General has a smaller customer base. 

    Progressive’s most notable discount is its Snapshot program. It requires you to install a device that tracks your driving habits in order to qualify for discounts in your premiums according to how safe your driving is. For high-risk drivers trying to rebuild their record, this can be a great incentive to encourage safe driving.

    Even aside from discounts, The General tends to be friendlier in terms of eligibility to drivers with previous accidents or driving violations.

    The General vs The Hartford

    Comparing The General to The Hartford provides a look at two opposite ends of the spectrum. The providers cater to completely different customer bases. The Hartford specializes in high-value vehicles and full coverage insurance bundles that include collision, coverage, liability insurance and roadside assistance. 

    The General specializes in insuring drivers with basic coverage who may be declined by other carriers or can’t find affordable insurance because of past accidents. If you are not an especially-high risk driver, a provider like The Hartford may offer more in coverage options and competitive rates. 

    The General mobile app and digital experience

    The General’s website and online quoting tool can provide quotes and allow you to purchase your insurance within minutes. Drivers that need insurance fast can expect a fairly simple process to get coverage online with The General. Here are more features available from the mobile app:

    • Get a quote
    • Make payments
    • Submit and track claims

    In the spotlight

    • Best for drivers having trouble getting insured because of a troubled driving record.
    • Get insured in minutes online or through the mobile app.
    • The General partnered with the Boys & Girls Club through the Road to Success program to help kids achieve their dreams.

    The General should be on your shortlist of car insurance carriers if your driving history is less than perfect, as this is The General’s primary purpose. However, if you have a clean driving record, the coverage levels and rates may not be as competitive as other insurers. 

    When comparing quotes from multiple insurance companies, read the fine print carefully. Going with the cheapest quote isn’t always the best option, especially if your coverage is minimal and you need the assurance of higher protection. You may be better off going with a mid-range quote that features higher coverage limits to make sure you’re financially protected if something goes wrong.

    Cynthia Paez Bowman


    Cynthia splits her time between Los Angeles, CA and San Sebastian, Spain. She travels to Africa and the Middle East regularly to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development.

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