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National General Insurance Summary
Formerly known as GMAC Insurance, National General Insurance is a nationwide insurer founded in 1920 that began as a part of General Motors, and is the only insurance company to successfully be spun off from an auto manufacturer. The company’s headquarters are in Winston-Salem, NC, and they currently employ over 3,500 people in the US.
During the economic downturn, the GMAC business unit was separated from General Motors, and subsequently bailed out by the Federal Government. Since then, the banking and lending division was re-branded as Ally Financial, and as of July 2013 the insurance division has taken a new name, National General Insurance.
National General’s primary business is auto insurance. Their policies offer the same coverage types found with just about every other major insurer, including comprehensive, collision and liability protection. Unlike most other insurance companies we have reviewed, their “unique features” actually have some benefits not commonly found. These are primarily used as marketing gimmicks, but drivers may actually find something with National General that they cannot get anywhere else:
- SmartServices® – This feature is packed with a lot of standard stuff including a rental car that will pick you up (usually just Enterprise Rent-a-car) , roadside assistance, and additional equipment coverage for any extra features you might add to your vehicle. SmartServices® also comes with a few services not commonly found. SmartInspect® provides inspections after a car has been repaired in order to verify it is in working order. SmartReplacement® is a service that assists in finding the exact car a driver wants after their’s is totaled in a covered loss. Another great feature is their Guaranteed Claims Service Satisfaction. If you are not 100% satisfied with your service they can waive your deductible by up to $250.
- SmartDiscounts® – The discounts offered by National General Insurance contains a pretty typical list that you would find with many other companies. They include things like paid-in-full, multi-vehicle, safe-driver, and multi-policy. But they also offer a few discounts that are unique to their customers. Policyholders that have other GM or GMAC products (like a GM card, mortgage, or GM vehicle) can get a discount. Policies that contain only GM cars (more than one) can also get a discount. Even people who subscribe to OnStar can get a reduction in their premiums.
National General offers homeowners insurance, but they do not actually underwrite the policy. Similar to companies like Progressive and GEICO, home, renters and condo insurance can be purchased and serviced through them, but there is a different company that is actually paying the bills. Because of this, specific details will vary by state. However, the vast majority of plans will come with standard protection like personal property and home liability.
Recreational Vehicle (RV) Insurance
National General Insurance has a fairly large base of RV customers that get coverage from them. Their plans are similar in nature to their car insurance, and they offer a lot of the same features. There is an Optional Full Replacement Cost coverage that is available in case your RV is totaled or stolen. This feature is appealing and might offer piece of mind in case of such unfortunate experiences. The policies are actually underwritten by National General Insurance.
National General Price (Rates)
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According to our rate test, National General was about 9% higher than the other insurance companies we have tested using the same details. It looks like the extra features the car insurance policies come with adds to the cost. Anyone interested in National General Insurance is invited to get their own quote, since it can certainly vary. Drivers of GM cars may also see a reduction, since they give a discount for them.
Reporting a claim can be done three different ways; file it online, call 800-325-1088 and report it directly, or use their iPhone app. The claims department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Once the claim is started, a representative will be assigned to assist during the process. Pictures and supporting documents of the loss can be submitted through an online portal on their website, and the progress of the claim can also be tracked.
Consumer Research and Complaints
In 2016, JD Power did a study of the US auto insurance industry that focused on the overall satisfaction of the major insurance companies. National General received 2 out of 5 for “Overall Satisfaction” which meant about average. Their overall score in categories First Notice of Loss (FNOL), Service Interaction, and Settlement was 2 out of 5. US Insurance Agents website gives the company an overall score of 2.5 out of 5 with many of the complaints being poor customer service and issues with claims.
The Better Business Bureau’s website gives the company an A+ rating. Within the last three years there have been a total of 381 complaints that have been closed, with most complaints regarding service.
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National General Insurance does offer a few unique features with their auto insurance policies, but you will pay for it. Their premiums came in almost 10% higher than all the other companies we have tested. As of 2016 including the 4 years prior, the A- rating from AM Best implies that the financial strength of the the company is stable, which is definitely a pro. If you are weighing the pros versus the cons when searching for an insurance company, there seems to be a lot more complaints when dealing with National General Insurance than positive reviews.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.