Is The General Car Insurance Legit?

Last Updated on August 30, 2023

The General is one of America’s best-known cheap car insurance providers. The company’s commercials, with its cartoon military general mascot or with Shaquille O’Neal, its spokesman, can frequently be seen on TV.

Because of The General’s far-reaching advertising campaign and low-cost insurance policies, the company is gaining popularity throughout the United States. But is The General a good place to buy car insurance? Is The General car insurance legit? Or is this car insurance too good to be true? Keep reading to find out.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The General is a legitimate car insurance provider specializing in high-risk car insurance, offering affordable rates to individuals who might be denied coverage by other companies due to their risk profile.
  2. The General operates with a direct sales model, reducing operating costs by doing most of its business online rather than through full-time salaried salespeople. This allows the company to offer competitive pricing.
  3. The General services a variety of niches, providing coverage not only for high-risk drivers but also for non-owners who frequently rent or borrow cars, and individuals with exotic or collector vehicles. This diverse portfolio helps balance the overall risk pool.
  4. The General’s policies include options for basic liability insurance, full coverage including collision and comprehensive insurance, and the provision of an SR-22 in most states. The company also offers a unique double deductible discount and a comprehensive roadside assistance program through a partnership with Nation Safe Drivers.
  5. Insurance Panda rates The General 3.6/5

What Is The General?

The General is a legitimate car insurance provider. They’re regulated and licensed across the United States. They’re a reputable company specializing in a specific car insurance niche: high-risk car insurance.

If you have been in multiple at-fault car accidents or if you have a DUI, then you might be considered a high-risk driver. Car insurance companies charge higher rates to high-risk drivers. Some car insurance companies might even deny any type of coverage.

When mainstream providers fail to provide fair or affordable quotes to high-risk drivers, The General steps in to serve. The General specializes in offering relatively affordable car insurance to high-risk drivers.

Even if you’re not a high-risk driver, you may be able to find affordable car insurance prices from The General – especially if you’re just looking for bare minimum liability insurance that allows you to legally drive on the road.

The General is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. The company has provided car insurance since 1963. In 2012, The General was acquired by American Family Insurance. Today, The General functions as a separate brand underneath the American Family Insurance umbrella.

How Does The General Make Money by Providing High-Risk Car Insurance?

Obviously, there’s a reason high-risk drivers pay more for car insurance: they’re more likely to get involved in an accident and make a claim. Claims cost car insurance companies money.

How can The General offer affordable rates when it caters to some of the riskiest drivers in America? How can The General possibly be a profitable company?

Well, The General is able to offer affordable car insurance to high-risk drivers through careful marketing and intelligent business practices.

The General, like any car insurance company, will charge higher rates to higher-risk drivers. If you’re more likely to make a claim, then you’re going to pay higher insurance premiums. Lower-risk drivers will pay lower insurance premiums.

The average policyholder with The General pays around $1,093 per year for minimum coverage. This is slightly higher than other major car insurance providers, but when you consider the fact that The General mostly targets high-risk drivers, this is actually quite low.

The General also has two major differences with other nationwide car insurance companies, and those differences allow The General to offer cheap car insurance while still being a profitable company.

What’s the Difference Between The General and Other Nationwide Car Insurance Providers?

There are two major differences between The General and other car insurance providers. These differences allow The General to save a lot of money and then pass those savings onto consumers.

Difference #1: The General Focuses on Direct Sales Instead of Employing an Army of Salaried Salespeople

One distinction between The General and a traditional car insurance provider is that The General focuses on direct sales.

Customers can purchase a policy online, then print the proof of insurance immediately. This is very convenient for drivers who need car insurance right away, but it also saves The General a huge amount of money: they don’t need thousands of full-time salaried insurance salespeople to interact with customers.

Most of The General’s business is done online through a form – not through salespeople. Most of your interactions with your car insurance policy from The General will take place online – either through the website or the mobile app. You can make payments, get an auto insurance ID card, and view your policy online without talking to any employee from The General.

Difference #2: The General Focuses on Under-Served Car Insurance Niches

We’ve already established that The General focuses on providing high-risk car insurance to high-risk drivers. However, this is just one of the niches served by The General. The General sells non-owners auto insurance coverage to drivers who frequently rent or borrow cars, but do not have vehicles of their own. The General also targets those who need exotic and collector car insurance, for example.

Typically, the drivers who own exotic and collector cars are some of the safest, least-risky drivers in the world. By insuring these drivers, The General is able to balance out the risk of its insurance pool. The end result is an insurance pool with a risk factor similar to other nationwide providers.

What Discounts Does The General Offer for Car Insurance?

The General offers the following discounts for auto insurance:

  1. Multi-car discount: Save for insuring more than one car on the same policy.
  2. Homeowner’s discount: Save if you own your home instead of renting.
  3. Previous insurance discount: Save for maintaining car insurance consistently, without any gaps in coverage.
  4. Good student discount: Save if you have at least a “B” average and meet additional eligibility criteria set by your agent.
  5. Passive restraint discount: Save for having factory-installed passive restraint devices like motorized seatbelts.
  6. Defensive driver discount: Save for taking an approved defensive driving course.
  7. Pay in full discount: Save for paying your entire premium upfront.
  8. Safe driver discount: Save if you have had 3-5 years of a clean driving record.
  9. Double deductible discount: In some states, save on your premium if you allow your comprehensive and collision deductibles to be doubled for the first 45 days of your policy.
  10. Military discount: Save if you are an active duty member of the military (available in select states).
  11. New customer discount: Save if you were with a previous insurance company for five years before switching to The General.
  12. Restricted driver discount: Save by excluding certain high-risk drivers from your policy.
  13. SR-22 Insurance discount: Save if you are a high-risk driver requiring an SR-22 certificate.

Please note that the availability of these discounts may vary by state and individual circumstances. It’s always a good idea to check with The General’s customer service to determine your qualifications.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Getting Car Insurance from The General?

Basic Liability Insurance: Your online quote from The General will cover basic liability insurance for your vehicle. If the quote seems low, then remember that this is the lowest amount of insurance required to drive on roads in your state legally. To see the minimum coverage requirements for your state, click here.

Full Coverage is Available: Your initial quote from The General might include just basic liability insurance. However, you can add optional coverage – like collision and comprehensive coverage – to your policy with The General just like you would with any insurance company. Full coverage auto insurance, unlike the name suggests, does not cover absolutely every event that could happen to you on the road. However, an insurance policy with liability coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage, otherwise known as “full coverage” auto insurance, will have you covered for almost every accident.

You Can Get a Double Deductible Discount: Want to bet that you won’t make a claim within the first 45 days of your policy? The General offers a unique discount. Customers can choose to double their deductible for comprehensive and collision coverage. If you need to make a claim in the first 45 days of your policy, then you’ll pay double the deductible. In exchange, The General gives you a discount. If you don’t make a claim in the first 45 days, then you’ll save a lot of money.

SR-22 Insurance: The General can provide an SR-22 in most states, which is a document proving that you have sufficient car insurance coverage. SR-22 forms are typically required if you’re considered a high-risk driver – say, after a DUI or multiple at-fault accidents. SR-22 auto insurance is usually more expensive than other basic types of coverage, but The General can help you find affordable SR-22 coverage if your situation requires it.

Roadside Assistance: In partnership with Nation Safe Drivers (NSD), The General’s roadside assistance program provides 24/7 nationwide coverage for its policyholders. This includes services like towing, flat tire changes, vehicle jumpstarts, lockouts, delivery of essential supplies, and rental car reimbursement. For around $10 to $12 a month, policyholders can enjoy these benefits and five complimentary service calls per year. The program also offers additional perks such as theft and hit-and-run protection, rental car discounts, and concierge services based on the policyholder’s location.

Our Review of The General

The General is an auto insurance provider specializing in coverage for high-risk drivers, offering competitive rates where other companies may deny coverage. With its focus on direct online sales and serving diverse insurance niches, the company is able to provide affordable insurance options. The General’s policies include basic liability, full coverage, SR-22 provision, and a comprehensive roadside assistance program.

Customer Experience


The General auto insurance is a specialized provider catering to high-risk drivers who may struggle to secure coverage from other insurers. However, this focus on a niche market comes with its own set of drawbacks. The company’s rates are notably higher than average, and it has garnered a significant number of customer complaints, particularly regarding its claims process. While The General does offer a range of coverage options and some discounts, these are limited compared to what’s available from larger, more mainstream providers. Therefore, while The General may be a viable last resort for high-risk drivers unable to find coverage elsewhere, most drivers will likely find better value and service from other insurance companies.


Final Word on The General Insurance

When you read about Nationwide’s car insurance, you might picture Peyton Manning humming, “Nationwide is on your side” due to the popular TV commercials. When you think of GEICO, you might think of the gecko. When you think of State Farm, you might think of “Jake.” The General, meanwhile, has been running the same distinctive commercials for over two decades: “For a great low rate, you can get online, go to The General and save some time.”

The General’s slogan is true! The company specializes in providing cheaper rates on car insurance to high-risk drivers, and you can buy that car insurance online today and print off an insurance card immediately. Since 2012, the company has been owned by American Family Insurance – one of the country’s largest and best-known car insurance providers. So yes, The General is a legitimate car insurance company – and it might be the best option for your car insurance needs. Contact The General today to see how they can help you.

The General Contact Information
Address2636 Elm Hill Pike, Suite 100
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
Customer Service Phone Number888-333-2331
Claims Service Phone Number800-280-1466
Website URL
James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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