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Direct General Insurance Review

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018

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Direct General is an auto insurance and life insurance company with a focus on higher risk markets. They provide coverage for drivers with a variety of driving history issues.

About Direct General

Direct General Group is the parent company of Direct Insurance Company, which was founded in 1991 in Nashville, Tennessee. The company expanded throughout the southeastern states, focusing on providing non-standard insurance for drivers who are considered high-risk due to driving history, credit history, or other issues.

Direct also writes term life insurance and provides travel auto insurance in Mexico, along with a few other services. They sell products online and through local storefront offices.

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Direct General Products

Direct General’s main product is auto insurance for high-risk drivers, but they also offer motorcycle and life insurance as well as a few other related products.

Auto Insurance

Direct General’s auto insurance program is aimed at high-risk drivers such as those with multiple tickets and accidents, drivers requiring an SR-22, and drivers with poor credit. Their program is comprehensive and includes many options seen at larger companies, unlike some other non-standard insurance companies that offer only the basics.

Insurance policies can be purchased as basic, liability-only to meet state legal requirements, or as full coverage policies that include comprehensive coverage and collision coverage to pay for damage to the driver’s vehicle in both not-at-fault accidents and for theft, vandalism, and other damage.

Additional options include rental reimbursement, towing and labor, and accidental death coverage.

There is a good list of discounts offered by General Direct, including military, senior, homeowner, multi-policy, and a good student discount. They also offer an affinity discount for customers who are members of affiliated groups, although there is not a list of these groups available online.

Direct General’s auto insurance program offers a flexible payment system that allows customers to select how and when they want to pay for their insurance.

Motorcycle Insurance

Like the auto insurance program, Direct General offers liability coverage and full coverage policies for motorcycles. Their policies include all of the expected coverage choices as well as optional coverage for custom parts and the choice to add replacement cost coverage.

Life Insurance

Direct General offers very basic, simplified term life insurance policies. Term lengths are six or twelve months, with a maximum death benefit of $15,000.

The company offers guaranteed renewal at the same rate for two years, and policies can be renewed on an ongoing basis. There is no medical exam for these plans, and Direct General offers the option to purchase with no additional down payment to customers who purchase life insurance along with auto insurance.

Other Products

Direct General also offers a standalone Roadside Assistance program and car insurance for coverage in Mexico. They also write Commercial Auto.

Additionally, they offer Prepaid Mastercard services, which goes along with their target market of drivers who may have credit issues.

Rates

The website offers a basic chart showing life insurance costs. $10,000 worth of coverage on a 12-month term for an insured aged 18-50 has a listed cost of $118 per year or $9.83 per month. We have seen simplified life with ten times the coverage for a longer term for not much more than this, so while this seems very affordable, more coverage can be had elsewhere in a similar price range.

Direct General does not write insurance in California, where we run our sample rate tests for comparison. This means we are unable to compare their rates to other companies we have sampled. They do have an online quoting system, which is somewhat unusual for a non-standard insurance company. The system appears easy to use and straightforward.

Because this is a non-standard insurer writing for higher risk drivers, we would not expect the rate to be comparable to standard insurance companies. The rates to insure a high-risk driver are always higher than standard.

Claims

Direct General does not currently offer online claims reporting, although the website states this service will be available in the future. At the time of this review, a toll-free claims line is the only option for reporting a new claim. The service, at 1-877-GO-DIRECT, is not available 24 hours, but only open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The absence of an after hours or emergency line for claims is surprising and unusual, even for a small regional insurer.

The claims process is broken down very clearly on the website. An adjuster will be assigned to investigate and survey the damage, and repairs begin upon approval.

There is a Direct Repair network of preferred repair shops, but customers can select their own repair shop if they prefer.

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Ratings and Consumer Reviews

Direct General has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). There have been 160 complaints filed in the past three years, and 57 of those were closed in the past 12 months. That is a higher complaint volume than we like to see for a company of this size.

Review site My Three Cents has 15 reviews of this company with a 1.5-star rating overall. The complaints tend to focus on poor customer service and difficulty contacting people, as well as claims issues.

Complaints Board has a long list of complaints from customers and even more than one from former employees. These complaints include claims issues and customers stating they had options added to their policy and billed without their knowledge.

It is not usual for a non-standard insurance company to see a lot of complaints, but the complaint volume and the repeated comments about poor service, along with the input from former employees, does raise red flags.

The Bottom Line

Direct General is only likely to be considered as an option for non-standard insurance, and even then there may be better options. The complaints against this company are concerning in both volume and content, and while they appear to offer a good auto insurance program, they do not seem to back it up when it comes to claims and customer service.

For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.

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Review Information

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Direct General
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About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

2 Comments

  1. This company is causing extreme pain and suffering to my sister-in-law while she is going through chemo treatment for cancer.

    High anxiety, sleeplessness etc while she needs all her strength to fight cancer.

    Their insured driver rear-ended her and was charged with reckless driving.

    She was in her new car she had purchased so she would have reliable transportation to her chemo infusions.

    Direct General blamed her for the accident even though their insured driver caused the accident and was charged with reckless driving.

    They had the nerve to only offer 40% of the cost to repair her car.

    All she wants them to do is pay to fix her car.

    She lives in Jacksonville, FL

    Help her Lord

    Claim – Beranda Mock

    Reply
  2. My vehicle was hit by a customer with direct general on 6/15,

    direct generals appraiser came to check my car on 6/20,

    I took my car into the repair shop and was told 3 days as the initial time frame,

    the adjuster told me to go ahead and secure my rental and be reimbursed,

    after checking the car the repair shop says it will be until 6/15 until I get my car back,

    the adjuster informed me once again to secure the rental and be reimbursed later, I don’t have the monies to do that, and have not been able to speak with the adjuster or anyone else qualified/licensed to help me with this matter….

    has it always been the claimant’s jo to secure their own rental in situations such as this?

    Reply

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