The General Accident brand has been taken out of retirement to provide an online car insurance service. Parent company Aviva uses the brand to provide a presence on the price comparison websites that it avoids.
Defaqto rating: 4/5 stars
In 2020, General Accident's general car insurance business was awarded four out of five stars by Defaqto, the independent financial research and ratings company.
Note: Not all Defaqto products with the same star ratings have the same covers and terms.
Trustpilot rating: 1.3/5 stars
General Accident gets generally unfavourable reports on the consumer review website Trustpilot. Its rating of just 1.3 stars reflects the fact that out of 410 reviews only 5% gave it an 'excellent' rating and 89% gave it a 'bad' rating.
A caveat, however, must be made here – many of the 'bad' reviews appeared to be from disgruntled Telematics insurance policy holders venting their frustration about poor scores awarded for their bad driving.
General Accident offers the usual range of policies and benefits and also has a telematics – or black box – insurance scheme to help reduce costs for careful drivers.
Although it is largely an online-only policy provider, the company offers telephone support for the first 28 days after first buying a policy: "If people have questions, it's usually in the early days of buying their new policy," the company says.
Contact Uswitch: 0800 688 8557
General Accident was originally founded in Perth, Scotland, in 1885 but was acquired by Commercial Union in 1998, which itself was then merged with Norwich Union to form Aviva, Britain's largest general insurer.
The brand was dropped by Commercial Union in 1999 but was resurrected by Aviva in 2013 after being found to be a respected brand name with a strong legacy.
Its website is uncluttered but easily navigable and quotes are provided quickly, with the minimum of fuss. All policies provided by General Accident are underwritten and administered by parent company Aviva.
General Accident provides quotes and policies for the following types of car insurance:
Third party, fire and theft
It does not insure vans and will only provide cover for cars worth £70,000 or less for comprehensive, and £5,000 or less for third party, fire and theft.
The company also offers telematics insurance – so-called 'black box insurance' – where a device is fitted to your car to measure how carefully you drive.
General Accident offers telematics insurance to reward careful drivers.
Under black box or telematics insurance, your car – if suitable – will be fitted with a monitoring device, and if you can demonstrate safe driving behaviour throughout the period of your insurance you may receive a discount off your premium when it comes up for renewal.
Here's how it works:
Once fitted, the telematics device will record your driving patterns and give General Accident risk assessors a better understanding of your skills and behaviour on the road. The device can record:
Abrupt and fast cornering
You must download the telematics app on your smartphone and connect up with the device in your car. You can then see your points being awarded for careful driving.
Should you score below 50 for any journey, you will be warned via SMS and email to improve your driving. If you score below 50 three times in any 30-day period General Accident may cancel your policy.
General Accident offers the following benefits, as standard, with its fully comprehensive insurance cover.
Although much of the managing of your cover is done online, the claims process is a simple telephone call.
If your car is less than 12 months old and is unrepairable following an accident or act of vandalism it will be replaced with one of the same make and model.
While your car is being repaired you will be provided with a courtesy car (subject to availability).
Medical costs and compensation for injury for you and your partner covered up to £5,000.
Damage to possessions inside the car covered up to £150.
Stolen audio equipment covered up to £500.
Repairs incur £15 excess, while a replacement windscreen carries a £115 excess (prices July 2020).
Providing comprehensive cover for up to 90 days when driving your car on the continent.
In addition to its standard package of services General Accident offers a range of services that can be added to your insurance policy for an additional premium.
A protected no claims discount is a way of keeping your discount for not claiming, even if you are forced to make a claim on your policy following an accident. Certain types of claim, such as emergency medical treatment and glass repair or replacement, do not affect your discount.
You will be provided with a Keycare fob and all keys attached are covered for loss or theft. Also covered are locksmith charges should you lock your keys inside your house or vehicle, and transport costs home should you be stranded following the loss of your keys.
Six levels of breakdown cover, all provided by the RAC, are available:
Roadside – car fixed at the roadside or taken up to 10 miles to the nearest garage if it cannot be fixed at the roadside
Roadside and Home – as above, with the addition of cover if your car breaks down at home
Roadside and Recovery – as per roadside, but if your car cannot be fixed you will be taken to any single destination in Great Britain
Roadside, Recovery and Home – as per Roadside and Recovery, with the addition of cover if your car won't start at home
Roadside, Recovery, Home and Onward Travel – as above, with the addition of hire car provision or alternative transport for one day while your car is fixed or overnight accommodation
Roadside, Recovery, Home, Onward Travel and European – as above, with the addition of cover in Europe for up to 90 days
In addition to the standard courtesy car, if you select this optional extra, one of General Accident’s approved repairers will provide you with a hire car for the duration of your claim and any subsequent repairs – up to a maximum of 21 days.
Up to £40,000 cover for you, or £20,000 each for you and your partner in the event that an accident involving your car causes you loss of limb, sight or life.
General Accident prides itself on its legacy of more than 100 years in the insurance business, and while the reviewers may be lukewarm about its services, it is designed for drivers who want help from a human to navigate the purchase and understanding of their policy.
The company provides a reasonably well-regarded telematics insurance scheme – if you discount the comments from consumer reviewers on Trustpilot – which scores four out of five stars on both Defaqto and Moneyfacts.
Four-star Telematics scheme
Human touch through telephone support
Backing of insurance giant Aviva
In April 2020, parent company Aviva pledged support in the form of deferred payments for General Accident policyholders experiencing financial difficulties due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In early July 2020, Amanda Blanc was appointed new chief executive of parent company Aviva following the retirement of Maurice Tulloch.
Blanc had previously been in board positions with Zurich and AXA after starting her career in insurance with former General Accident parent Commercial Union.
The Financial Ombudsman Service received 239 car insurance complaints about General Accident owner Aviva in the first half of 2020. That gave Aviva less than 5% of complaints but the insurer has nearly 13% market share so it received a much smaller proportion of complaints than might be expected for its size. To put complaints in context, 67 firms had 10 or more complaints each and those totalled 4,550 complaints. Nearly 200 firms had fewer than 10 each, sharing just 479 complaints between them.