About The General

The General is actually an abbreviated name for The General Automobile Insurance Services, Inc. The company was founded in 1963 and originally known as Permanent General Agency. In 2012, American Family Insurance purchased The General, but it continues to operate under its own name. The company headquarters is located in Nashville, TN.

The General sells a wide variety of auto insurance ranging from state minimum liability insurance to comprehensive and collision coverage. The company specializes in insuring drivers who have a history of moving violations or accidents and may have been denied coverage elsewhere.

General Logo

Our Rating

Pros

  • Good for customers with a spotty driving record

  • Strong stability under American Family Insurance

  • Insures those other companies won’t

Satisfaction Rating

Claims Rating

Shopping Rating

Offerings Rating

Stability Rating

Car Insurance Review Methodology

The reviews and ratings referenced throughout this page are compiled using objective industry evaluations and actual customers reviews. Data is drawn from the following sources:

  • Customer reviews submitted to the site Consumer Affairs.

  • Complaints from consumers logged with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

  • Financial ratings from the independent agencies A.M. Best and Fitch.

Drivers are encouraged to seek out additional information and to carefully compare and contrast options before committing to any auto insurance policy or auto insurance company.

Customer Satisfaction Review

Customer satisfaction measures how well an auto insurer interacts with policyholders, provides information and updates, and handles billing and payments. These reviews are important because they reveal how well a driver like you can expect to be treated by an auto insurer like The General. Beware, however, that customer satisfaction reviews are not objective and are not evaluated for accuracy. Customer complaints may be exaggerated or unreal. Conversely, unsatisfied customers may not have logged a complaint or negative review.

The General is currently rated at one out of five stars for overall customer satisfaction on Consumer Affairs. The General has also received a 2.09 customer complaint ratio from the NAIC compared with a 1.0 ratio for the national median. Specific customer complaints focus on poor customer service, difficulty connecting with agents, and slow claims processing. Many consumers also complained about unjustified charges, undelivered refunds, and unexpected manipulations to their rates and policies. Overall, customer satisfaction with The General is very low.

Claims Processing Review

Claims processing is the means through which an auto insurance company evaluates, approves/denies, and then pays a claim. Reviews about this category of service are important, because claims processing is what drivers ultimately rely on auto insurance companies to provide. If and when it is necessary to file a claim, drivers want to know they will receive necessary financial compensation as quickly as possible and with a minimum amount of hassle.

Customer reviews on Consumer Affairs suggest that The General is slow to process claims, eager to dispute amounts, and difficult to reach in the wake of an accident. Customer with policies from The General have logged complaints, as well as drivers involved in an accident with someone who is insured by The General. These complaints are confirmed by the NAIC. Of the complaints logged, the majority has to do with claim handling. Issues included unsatisfactory offers, poor service from insurance adjusters, and delays in paying claims.

Consumer Affairs

Company Stability Review

Company stability refers to the financial health of an auto insurance company, it’s ability to pay claims in full, and the likelihood that the company will fail and leave policy holders uninsured. This is an important but often overlooked criteria to use when evaluating insurance options, because it indicates whether or not a company is likely to provide coverage over the long-term and pay out claims without dispute.

In October 2017 the ratings agency A.M Best upgraded the Financial Stability Ratings for The General from an A- (considered excellent) to an A (also considered excellent). At the same time, the Long-Term Credit Issuer Ratings were downgraded from an A to an A-. Overall, the outlook for The General was downgraded from positive to stable. Another ratings agency, Fitch, gave American Family Insurance (the parent company of The General) an overall rating of A+ (considered strong) in the Insurer Financial Strength Ratings. Since American Family Insurance is one of the most well established companies in the industry, the company stability of The General should be considered strong.

Am Best

Value for Price

Value for price is difficult to determine because “value” is different for everyone. But it is undeniable that auto insurance rates vary widely, that the details of coverage are different in every policy, and that customer service is a large element of value. Put differently, a policy might be incredibly affordable but offer bare bones coverage and rude/difficult service. Conversely, a policy might be more expensive than the competition but provide confidence and peace of mind that makes the extra investment worthwhile.

Based on customer reviews of The General it is easy to conclude that the company does not provide good value for price. Many policyholders noted that their monthly premiums actually went down when they switched companies. And many noted that they struggled to get the insurer to pay claims in full in a timely manor. At the exact time when The General needed to provide value it fell short. It should be noted, however, that The General is willing to insure drivers that have been denied coverage by other companies. If you are eager to get behind the wheel but finding it difficult to secure state minimum coverage, the willingness of The General to forgive your driving record could be considered quite valuable.

Who is The General Best For?

Based on the available information, The General is a solid option for drivers who have multiple accidents, tickets, or reckless incidents on their driving record. In many cases, auto insurers refuse to work with these drivers because they present so much risk. That forces someone with mistakes in their past to either forego driving or drive illegally. The General is one of the few auto insurers that is willing to work with these drivers, almost regardless of how severe their past mistakes were. Be aware, however, that in exchange for accepting this risk The General charges inflated monthly premiums. And, as hundreds of past policy holders have pointed out, The General is not always stellar when it comes to processing and paying claims.

What to Look Out For

Policyholders who have worked with The General and commented online about their overall satisfaction warn drivers to look out for these kinds of issues:

  • Incomplete Refunds – When a policy is canceled or transferred it is common for policyholders to receive a refund. In multiple instances The General delayed the refund or provided only a fraction of the promised compensation.
  • Unannounced Changes – It is common for the details of coverage to undergo minor revisions or for rates to be increased at a reasonable rate. Many customers complained that their rates were inflated without warning, that they were subjected to unjustified fines or fees, or that the terms of coverage were altered without adequate explanation.
  • Unauthorized Additions – When drivers sign up for auto insurance they are typically asked to provide information about other drivers who may have access to their vehicle, including drivers on the cusp of legal driving age. In several instances The General added drivers to policies without informing the original policy holder or asking for consent.

What to Look for in an Auto Insurance Company

The auto insurance industry is vast and varied. On top of that, drivers have different wants/needs when it comes to coverage, and every state has different regulations, mandates, and minimums in place. For all these reasons it’s important for drivers to carefully consider their options and compare/contrast policies before making any final commitments. Here are some tips for identifying the right auto insurance company and policy for you:

Determine how much insurance coverage your state requires you to have and what types of coverage your policy must include.

Consider how much you are able to pay each month in terms of premiums. Also consider the financial impact of having less coverage than you need after an accident.

Check on the present status of your driving record. Pay close attention to the number of points you currently have on your license and whether there are any outstanding tickets.

Look into how much you are paying for your current policy (if applicable) and the exact terms of the coverage.

Get auto insurance quotes from multiple companies. Requesting quotes online makes this process relatively quick and easy.

Locate any additional information you need to make sense of the quotes you have. Be sure to also inquire about discounts, deductions, and other deals that could lower you monthly premiums.

Seek out reviews and evaluations, like the one outlined above, to determine how stable and customer-centric a company is. Find out whom your friends and family rely on for insurance and how satisfied they are with the experience.

Review the details of any policy that interests you in detail. You will want to focus on things like the type of auto parts an insurer will pay for following an accident. There may be significantly holes in the quality or quantity of the coverage lying hidden in the details.

Cancel your old insurance policy if you decide to switch companies. Then immediately print our your new insurance card and put it in your vehicle.