Auto insurance and the new GM offer

There’s never really anything new in the world of marketing. The same ideas that sold three bottles of wine for the price of two in ancient Rome still work today. We all like to think we’re getting good value for money. The most usual approach is to offer volume for a discount. The more you buy, the less you pay. In the insurance world, we see bundles on offer. Pay less if you buy both an auto and home insurance policy. There will be further discounts if you insure multiple vehicles or several different “homes”, e.g. when your teens go off to college and need cover for their possessions. This is simple commercial sense. Unless your family is particularly unlucky, you are paying an increasingly large amount of premium income to the insurer which turns into more profit when you make no large claim. That earns a discount to reward you for your loyalty.

Well, here comes a new experiment from the motor industry. General Motors is flexing its muscles now it’s recovering from the Chapter 11 reorganization. During the last ten years, its reputation has taken a beating and sales of its brands has been declining year-on-year. The last financial year, 2010, was the first time it showed a profit since 2004. It has also shown a slight increase in sales volumes — the first increase after ten years of losing market share. To boost sales this year, it’s offering one year’s free insurance if you buy one of the eligible models. Before you all get too excited, this only applies to the good folk who live in Oregon and Washington, and the offer expires come September. But we can assume more of these offers will be made if sales in the models shows significant increase. So why is this potentially a good thing for you?

Not everyone manages to drive for years without getting into an accident. Once you have a claims record, rates tend to rise. The rates will also be high if you fall into a high-risk group, e.g. you are a teen or have the misfortune to pick up a conviction for DWI/DUI. This offer of auto insurance is “as of right”. If you buy the vehicle, you are insured. Although there are questions asked by the insurer, this is not to refuse you cover. All insurers like to know who you are. GM is also promoting the plan as “good” for other drivers. We have an increasingly large number of uninsured drivers on the road. GM says this is “free” insurance and the number of uninsured drivers will fall. Well, that’s less than honest because most everyone who can afford to buy a new vehicle can afford to insure it. Most of the uninsured drivers cannot afford the high premium rates, even for basic liability cover. That said, this is a convenient way of buying a new vehicle. It’s one-stop shopping. At the end of the year, the insurer will send you a renewal notice. Whether you renew is up to you. It’s at that time you should get online auto insurance quotes from as many companies as possible. That way, you’ll find out whether the renewal offer is a good deal or not.

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