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The National General Home Insurance Review
National General can cover all of your insurance needs, whether it’s a home, car or even an RV. You can bundle them together and save, or take advantage of any of their other numerous discounts available. And if you’re Earth-conscious, you’re in for a treat (see ‘Restore with Sustainable Materials’ in coverage options below).
When it comes to performance, things get murky. Sites such as the Better Business Bureau consider it to be an A+ insurance company, whereas sites such as J.D. Power think there is room for improvement— considering it to be below average.
Where’s the truth? What should you believe? As with all things, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
National General Home Insurance overview
|Price||Varies by location, home and other factors|
|Best for||Discounts and bundling options|
|Not for||Anyone who has unique insurance needs|
|Discounts||Age of home, bundle with auto, claims free, college educated, gated community, HOA, insurance to value, prime time, protective devices, construction quality|
|AM Best Rating||A|
|Standout Features||Earth-friendly coverage options|
|In business since||1920|
National General claims to offer home insurance for every possible type of home— meaning it’s an insurance company that doesn’t just cater to rich or low credit homeowners, but services anyone looking for a good deal.
Is it True?
Yes. National General isn’t just looking to insure a niche market – they’re truly out to insure the average American.
However, compared to other insurance companies on the market, National General just doesn’t stack up— at least when its J.D. Power ranking is compared to other companies’. J.D. Power is a customer satisfaction research company, and its results are considered pretty reliable. Each year it studies and reviews how well each company performs in relation to one other and releases its results to the general public.
In 2019 National General received two out of five stars with J.D. Power. Specifically, it received a 772 point score out of a possible 1,000 points.
Here’s how J.D. Power considers the value of each star total:
- Five out of five: Among the best
- Four out of five: Better than most
- Three out of five: About average
- Two out of five: The rest
Therefore, according to J.D. Power, National General is a below average home insurance provider.
Why so low? Well, when you read through complaints posted on other sites, such as the Better Business Bureau’s site, some people feel the company isn’t great at fulfilling claims. In the past three years National General has had over 653 complaints listed with BBB, with 200 being closed in the last year.
Here’s a breakdown of complaints against National General listed on its page with the Better Business Bureau:
|Advertising/ Sales||12 complaints|
|Billing/ Collections||138 complaints|
|Delivery Issues||12 complaints|
|Guarantee/ Warranty||11 complaints|
|Problem with a product or service||480 complaints|
Keep in mind that J.D. Power doesn’t use BBB when ranking companies and that the two research companies each use their own data. When it comes to BBB, National General actually fares pretty well, and has repeatedly received an A+ rating with the company. Plus, many insurance companies have a lot more complaints than 653. Especially nationwide ones.
The National General home insurance coverage options
National General offers the following coverage options:
- Guaranteed and Extended Replacement of Your Home
Should your home be declared a total loss, National General will cover all rebuilding expenses even if the cost to do so actually exceeds your home’s original value. Most insurance companies don’t offer this type of protection, so this is actually a pretty big deal.
- Restore with Sustainable Materials
If your home is damaged in a covered peril and you want to rebuild with green, sustainable materials, National General offers $50,000 in coverage to help you do so.
- Open Perils Coverage
Should your home be damaged by wind or fire (some of the most common perils that can befall a home), this coverage will protect your home financially. Just keep in mind that open perils coverage does not include flood protection. Flood insurance is a separate policy altogether.
- Water backup protection
This type of coverage protects your home against sewer, drain and sump pump backups.
Difference between replacement cost and actual cash value
When looking at policy options with National General, you’ll notice that you have a choice between replacement cost and actual cash value. The difference between these two is actually pretty significant and one that you’ll want to spend a fair amount of time thinking about.
- Replacement cost: A replacement cost policy is more expensive than an actual cash value policy, but with this type of policy National General will pay the full cost for replacement. As long as the damage was caused by a covered peril, National General will cover the cost of replacement.
- Cash Value: A cash value policy is cheaper than a replacement cost policy. The difference is that depreciation is taken into account when deciding what your payout will be. This means the product’s age and condition prior to the covered peril affects how much money you get. For example, the homeowner of a fifteen year old roof will receive less money than the owner of a five year old roof after a catastrophic event.
- Note: replacement cost and cash value policies are not unique to National General. Whether you choose National General or not, you’ll have to choose between these two. To choose the best one, you’ll want to do a housing inventory. How old is your home’s roof? What is the cash value of all of your home’s belongings? These are just some of the questions you’ll want to ask yourself.
The National General home insurance add ons
- Coverage for Belongings Beyond the Home
Want to protect your fine furs, jewelry, trailers or watercraft? With this coverage option you can do so. National General offers multiple tiers to help you protect your cherished belongings at a cost that won’t break the bank.
- Identity Protection
National General offers a free identity protection service called Identity Theft 911 to all of its customers. Identity Theft 911 offers up to $15,000 in coverage to help you restore your identity. Identity Protection is one of the most common crimes in the United States right now. Most other insurance companies charge for this type of protection.
- Loss of Use
If your home is damaged by a covered peril, this coverage option will pay for any of your alternative living arrangements— including travel and dining expenses that exceed your normal expenses.
- Ordinance Protection
If building your home costs extra because of new construction codes in your city, this add-on will pay for any additional costs.
The National General home insurance discounts
The National General offers the following discounts:
- Age of home— the newer your home is, the less you’ll pay for insurance
- Bundling— opt to also get auto insurance with National General, and you’ll receive a bundling discount
- Claims free— go a while without filing a claim and you’ll receive a discount
- College education— if you have a college education then National General considers you a safer customer
- Gated community— Gated communities often have lower crime rates, and it is for this reason that National General will give a discount
- HOA— As with the above, a house in an HOA neighborhood is considered to be safer in regards to crime rates
- Insurance to value— Purchase more insurance than your home needs, and you’ll receive a discount
- Protective devices— Install smoke detectors and security systems to receive a discount
- Construction quality— Brick homes in good condition often receive better rates than homes with wood siding
National General home insurance rates
As with any insurance company, National General bases its rates on the following factors:
- Your state
- Your home’s location (for claim frequency and crime statistics)
- Age of home
- Construction of home
- Condition of home
- Size of home
- Credit score
- Security system
- Protective devices in home
- Your marriage status
How National General weighs the above factors is not public knowledge. This is a standard policy with insurance companies. For example, your credit score may be a major contributing factor with one company, but may not be with another. Each company has its own pricing algorithm, which is why it’s so important to shop around for the lowest rate.
National General’s Competition
- Amica Mutual: For years J.D. Power has considered Amica Mutual to be the pinnacle of homeowners insurance. Scoring 5 out of 5 (or 861 out of 1,000), there’s not a single thing J.D. Power thinks Amica could do better. They have a strong customer support department, as well as numerous coverage options and discounts.
- State Farm: State Farm scored a 3 out of 5 with J.D. Power, putting it in the ‘about average’ category. Point wise, however, it’s not far behind Amica with 825 out of 1,000. State Farm has a solid online presence, as well as a stellar app, which you can use to update your policy, make a payment or file a claim.
- Allstate: Allstate is basically on par with State Farm for all of the same reasons. Great online presence, as well as an outstanding app (which is not actually all that common with an insurance company). Allstate also has a 3 out of 5 with J.D. Power, scoring 822 out of 1,000.
- The Hartford: Hartford is best suited for AARP members, so if you’re 50 years or older you can take advantage of numerous discounts and benefits only available to older members. If you’re not, you can probably find a better company. Like State Farm and Allstate, Hartford scored a 3 out of 5 with J.D. Power (but was a few points lower with only 817 out of 1,000).
What others are saying
The general insurance reviews are a bit all over the place. Here’s a sampling of both positive and negative reviews National General has received from Consumer Affairs:
- “I got a home insurance through National General. I’ve had them for a little while. I called them with whatever my issues were, probably about my payment or something with my insurance, and they were always very courteous, kind, and polite. They were very efficient as far as that goes. I feel secure because I’m covered and safe. I’d recommend!”
- “My National General insurance plan’s coverage has a lot of flexibility. … The rep I interacted with was very friendly, helpful and he went above and beyond. When we started talking, it was past his work time and he ended up staying late to work through it. … I would recommend National General.”
- “I had National General Insurance for almost 2 years and I wish I never ever gave them my business. I attempted SEVERAL times to contact them regarding my policy and NEVER received a response. Once I absolutely needed to get a hold of someone I had to wait on hold and get transferred THREE times to finally get to the right place. I then cancelled my policy because I was so dissatisfied with the whole experience. Best part is they have a sneaky cancellation fee they COMPLETELY FAIL TO MENTION among the many phone call transfers and run around. I then called to complain and the man in billing couldn’t even get me through to customer service! ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!! Someone needs to stop this company!!”
- “National General is a rip off. Sure, they will provide you with a policy and collect from you your premium every year, but the moment you file a claim, boom, you get a non-renewal agreement. Furthermore, I asked for an extension on my policy while the repairs were being done to my house as my policy date ends prior to the repairs being complete. They denied and I cannot obtain insurance while my house is under repairs. I also found out that if you have a claim over 5K for whatever reason, they will cancel you. I highly recommend avoiding this company.”
Even though there is no consensus, National General reviews about the same as other insurance providers with consumers.
Every customer is going to have a different experience with any company, no matter what it does. However, whenever someone has an issue with an insurance company, there is often confusion about policy exclusions.
Always understand what your policy does and does not cover, as well as any policy limits that apply— meaning how much money your provider will pay for something to be repaired or replaced. If you are confused about anything, speak to an agent before signing anything.