The General: The Inside Scoop

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You may know The General from its commercials with its white-mustached mascot in the green army helmet. The General is an insurance agency, meaning it sells insurance from other companies. They are:

  • Permanent General Assurance Corp.
  • Permanent General Assurance Corporation of Ohio
  • The General Automobile Insurance Co.

The General specializes in insurance for drivers who have had car accidents, moving violations, a lapse in insurance coverage or poor credit. It sells only auto insurance.

The General's headquarters are in Nashville.

The General car insurance

Every insurance company must file its rates and policies in each state where it operates. We reviewed filings made by the insurers that sell through The General to bring you the inside scoop about coverage options, fees, discounts and surcharges.

The General offers liability, comprehensive, collision, uninsured motorist, rental car reimbursement, and emergency towing and labor coverage. Here's a look at whether you can buy other types of auto insurance from The General.


SR-22 filings

Proof of financial responsibility filing.

Yes
Usage-based insurance
Insurance with rates based on driving habits, such as hard braking.
No
Non-owner insurance

Liability insurance for people who don't own vehicles.

Yes
Rideshare insurance

Extra coverage for Uber drivers and others.

No
Source: EverQuote research. Product options might not be available in all states.

The General's fees

Price is important to many insurance shoppers, so be aware of fees you may be charged in addition to your premium. Here are examples of fees charged by The General.

  • Policy fee: $35 per policy term
  • SR-22 filing fee: $25 per policy term
  • Reinstatement fee if a policy lapses: $15 if company will reinstate it
  • Returned check fee: $25
  • Installment fee: Fees for paying by installments, depending on the policy length and number of payments. For example, if you pay for a six-month policy in five installments there is a $9 fee.

The General car insurance discounts

We reviewed state filings to find the details of The General's auto insurance discounts. Note that these discounts might not be available in all states.


Homeowner
For customers who own a house, condo or townhouse.

Senior driver training
For customers age 55 and older who complete an approved accident-prevention course.

"Clean DUI" 
For a driver who has one DUI and no other chargeable incident in the last three years.


Daytime running lights 


Multi-car 
For insuring more than one vehicle.

Transfer 
For new customers who can verify they had previous coverage in force for at least six months.

Liability only 
When no vehicles on the policy have comprehensive or collision coverage.

Paid in full or quarterly 

Double deductible
New customers can get a discount on comprehensive and collision premiums by selecting the "double deductible" option. If you have a comprehensive or collision claim within the first 45 days of having the policy, you're responsible for double the deductible amount selected. For example, if your deductible is $500, your insurance check would be reduced by $1,000 for the double deductible.

The General surcharges

Auto insurance companies typically raise rates if you have certain problems, such as tickets and at-fault accidents. Insurers must disclose these types of surcharges in state filings. Here are situations that will bring surcharges, based on our review of The General's filings. These might vary by state.

All violations such as speeding tickets, running a red light, etc.

All at-fault accidents. Accidents are considered at-fault unless the customer proves it was a not-at-fault accident. You can prove you weren't at fault with documents such as a police report, court document or letter from a previous insurer. Examples of not-at-fault accidents include:

  • Accidents where the driver did not cause the accident, or was not 50% or more at fault.
  • Damage to a vehicle that was legally parked at the time of the accident.
  • Accidents caused by flying gravel, falling objects and hitting birds or animals.
  • Damage from being rear-ended and where you did not get a moving violation related to the accident.
  • If the other driver was convicted of a moving violation for the accident.

Business use: Surcharge if the vehicle is used for business purposes.

Excluded driver: Surcharge if one or more drivers are excluded from coverage.

Unacceptable risk: Certain risks will receive a surcharge. This could include risks based on the driver, the vehicle or the use of the vehicle.

Unverifiable driving record: If your driving record cannot be verified through the DMV.

Insurance filings source: S&P Global Market Intelligence

Posted Nov. 7, 2018

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