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ByMichelle Clardie Contributing Writer

Michelle Clardie has an MBA in management and strategy, and has worked in real estate. Her work has been featured on sites like Yahoo! News and Inman.

National General Auto Insurance Review

National General Insurance, formerly owned by General Motors, is the only insurance company to come directly from the automotive industry. Previously GMAC Insurance, it rebranded in 2013 as National General Insurance and retains its relationship with GM owners and employees by offering substantial discounts to those groups.

National General may not provide the best auto insurance coverage for everyone. Coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers, for instance, is limited. There is no coverage specifically designed for this group, although there are small-business coverage options in 13 states that may serve as an alternate form of coverage. Customer service scores have also historically been on the low side, with multiple customer complaints about response times. But this could be changing. National General Insurance has rolled out a claims service satisfaction guarantee, which will hopefully help boost customer satisfaction going forward. Still, if customer service is a high priority for you, it may be worth looking at companies with a better track record.

The Claim

National General Insurance claims that “getting a lower rate on your car insurance doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the level of protection and service you get for yourself, your family, and your vehicles.”

Is it true?

Kind of.

National General Insurance offers extensive, nationwide coverage; it includes roadside assistance at no additional cost, and it guarantees customer satisfaction when it comes to claim service. But this satisfaction guarantee only extends up to $250 in waived deductibles for an unsatisfactory experience — which is a drop in the bucket if big claims are mishandled — and National General’s history of poor customer satisfaction gives us little confidence in the company as a whole.

Things get even iffier with the company's claim of lower rates. Many customers report higher premiums with National General than with competitors. But there are many discount programs for drivers to take advantage of. If you qualify for enough of these discounts, it's possible to get a lower rate without skimping on your levels of protection. This is particularly true for customers who already have a relationship with GM; there are discounts for GM employees, owners of GM vehicles, and drivers who subscribe to OnStar (which is owned by GM).

Product Overview

  • In business since: 1920 (started as Security Life and Trust Company, then became part of GMAC Insurance before becoming National General Insurance in 2013)
  • A.M. Best financial strength rating: A-
  • Moody’s financial strength rating: Not rated
  • S&P Global financial strength rating: Not rated
  • J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study score: 2/5
  • States served: 50
  • Pros: Substantial discounts available, guaranteed satisfaction for claims service
  • Cons: Limited ride-share coverage and history of poor customer satisfaction

Features

Standard coverage
Bodily Injury Liability
Property Damage Liability
Collision
Comprehensive
Medical Payments
Uninsured Motorist
Underinsured Motorist
Personal Injury Protection
Roadside Assistance
Accidental Death and Dismemberment
Auto Protection Plan
Advertised discounts
Safe Driver
Low Mileage
Paid-in-Full
Multi-Vehicle
Motorcycle
Affinity
Multi-Policy
Anti-Theft
Autopay

Lots of discount programs

As with all kinds of insurance, your premium depends on your age, your location, and more. With that said, customers report that National General's premiums tend to be on the high side. The good news? The company has plenty of discounts to help bring down your initial quote. These range from standard discounts — a safe driver discount, a multi-vehicle discount, and a multi-policy discount, to name a few — to more rare options, like a discount for maintaining a low mileage on your car. While none of the discounts are entirely unique, there are enough of them that it may be possible to bring your rate down to a more reasonable level.

Affinity discounts

On top of the many discounts available to the average driver, National General Insurance also offers affinity discounts to drivers who have a relationship with General Motors. National General Insurance has the unique position of being the only insurance company to come out of the automotive industry, and, to this day, it offers discounts to drivers who own GM vehicles, who work for GM, or who subscribe to OnStar. Additionally, it extends affinity discounts to people at organizations that are affiliated with GM.

Guaranteed satisfaction for claims service

After receiving many complaints of slow customer service, National General Insurance is in the process of improving its claims service. It claims that its representatives are now “experienced, friendly, and always available.” According to its website, “most small claims are paid within 48 hours of reporting.” It even offers a guarantee for satisfactory claims service: If you’re not satisfied, National General Insurance will waive your deductible up to $250 (not applicable in Washington State). While this commitment to improvement is promising, we recommend considering National General's history of higher-than-expected customer complaints when deciding whether this insurer is the right fit for you.

Possible drawbacks

Limited ride-share coverage

While National General provides many of the standard auto insurance coverage options, it will not cover ride-share drivers (drivers who use their vehicles for services like Uber and Lyft). National General Insurance does offer small-business auto insurance in 13 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Depending on your state laws, this small-business auto insurance might work for your ride-share business, but there are better options. State Farm, for example, has coverage specifically designed for ride-share drivers in 42 states, so you don't need to worry about taking out an entirely separate policy.

Poor history of customer satisfaction

Since National General Insurance was established in 2013, the company has struggled when it comes to customer satisfaction. In J.D. Power’s 2019 Auto Insurance Study, National General landed in the bottom for customer satisfaction in the Southeast region (the only region in which it was considered). It also came dead last in J.D. Power's 2019 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, raising red flags about whether National General can be trusted to take care of you when you need support the most. If excellent customer service and claims support are important to you, we would recommend requesting quotes from industry leaders Amica or ERIE.

The Competition

  National General State Farm Travelers Allstate
Our review Our review Our review
A.M. Best financial strength rating
A- A++ A++ A+
J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study score
2/5
"The rest"
3/5
"About average"
3/5
"About average"
3/5
"About average"
Customer complaints*
More complaints than average Fewer complaints than average More complaints than average More complaints than average
24/7 claims support
Number of states served
50 50 50 50
Pros
GM affiliate discounts Ride-share coverage
Strong online resources
Broad coverage options
Accident forgiveness
Range of discounts
Strong online resources
Cons
No ride-share coverage
Poor digital and claims experience
Fewer advertised discounts
Glitchy app
Fewer discounts Generally higher rates
Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote

*Customer complaints are registered by the NAIC and measured relative to the company's market share.

National General Auto Insurance FAQ

What do I need to get an auto insurance quote from National General Insurance?

You can get a quote online in minutes from National General. You just need some basic information on hand to make the process as quick and easy as possible: your current auto insurance policy, the driver’s license number for each person you plan to list on your policy, your vehicle’s VIN number, and the lienholder's name and address if the vehicle is leased or financed.

How can I get the lowest auto insurance rates possible?

To get the lowest rates possible, start by reviewing the discounts available from National General Insurance. If you’ve enrolled in all of the discount programs that apply to you but you’d still like your monthly rate to be lower, you have two options: choose higher deductibles and/or lower coverage limits. Just know that these options will result in you paying more out of pocket if you need to file a claim. Remember not to cut back on the coverage you need just to save a little money each month — it's much more important to have adequate coverage than to find the lowest possible price.

Will my premium go up if I’m in an accident?

An accident doesn’t automatically mean your premium will go up, but it could. National General Insurance considers several factors before deciding whether or not an accident warrants a premium increase. It will look at your claims history to see if you’ve made previous claims, the cause of the accident to see if you were at fault, and the severity of the claim to see how much damage was done.

The Bottom Line

National General's auto insurance may be a good fit for a few groups: If you're affiliated with GM in any way, for instance, it's possible that National General could offer you a competitive premium. However, for many, National General likely isn't the best option. It has a poor track record for customer service and doesn't offer the breadth of coverage of many other big-name providers, so it's worth weighing your priorities and getting a few other quotes before making your decision.

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