By on July 9, 2011

We didn’t want to mention it when we wrote about GM’s buy a car, get free insurance deal. If we would have said it, it would have been the nasty B-word all over again. The rest of the media showed less compunction. “The worse you drive, the bigger the deal” headlined MSN Money. The deal can be staggering under the right or wrong circumstances, says MSN Money:

“For a busy Seattle family with two teenage boys — one of whom has a speeding ticket? We ran comparison quotes on a shiny new 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ. The lowest premium we found was $4,890 a year; the highest was $10,300.”

MSN interviewed Jessica Caldwell  of Edmunds.com (video here, no embed,) and she had this to say:

“It looks like anyone can qualify. So if you are that 22 year old living at home, and your mom and dad have disposable income and want to buy a Camaro, sign up for it.”

So is that what he meant when GM spokesman Tom Henderson said that many potential new car buyers found it difficult to afford insurance for a new vehicle?

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23 Comments on “GM’s Bad Driver Appreciation Program...”


  • avatar
    mike978

    Bertel – I wouldn`t have used the b word if your comments (which you didn`t make) were backed up by facts. I am personally very surprised by the lack of limitation (although does anyone know what eligible cars are?)

    The point about b*** that you might have missed is that it means inconsistency (to me at least). If you would applaud company A for doing X but if company B did X you criticize then that is b***.

    I agree bad drivers (who can afford a new car) will benefit, but most people buying Chevrolets will have a good driving record. So lets not get carried away and think that 1 million DUI drivers will suddenly buy Chevy.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      We could have a story on the upcoming $3,700 Plus Performance package on the 2012 Prius. Fancy spoilers, and lowering springs with offset rims, OH MY!!!

  • avatar

    So now I’m being criticized for comments I did not make?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Bertel – I think you misunderstand me, or I was not clear enough.
      I wouldn`t have criticised you for saying that the lack of limitations allowed “bad” drivers to take advantage of this program becuase it would have been based on facts rather than assumption.

      Any bias you have/or don`t have comes about if two companies do the same thing and one is lauded (or at leats not criticised) and the other one is. That is just a matter of consistency.

      So to reiterate you were not being biased in this article in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s reassuring.

        And we all can do without Mike978′s bias rating for each article. Please refer to yesterday’s article on the topic.

        Imagine you are having guests, and someone keeps saying after each sentence you say:

        “This was a hypocritical remark.”

        “This was a hypocritical remark.”

        “This was no hypocritical remark, thank you.”

        “Hypocritical remark again.”

        “You could have made a hypocritical remark here, but you did not.”

        What would you do with that guy?

      • 0 avatar

        I’m glad you’re biased.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        I’m still chuckling as I type. Very witty, Bertel.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Well Bertel at least I don`t get slapped down by the current editor’s father in that banning piece!
        We can also all do without your anti-Americanism as witnessed by your infamous remarks earlier this year about people in Detroit salivating over the Japanese earthquake (I paraphrase).

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        mike978,

        By ‘we’ and ‘all’ do you mean an organized group of professionally blogging UAW shills? I, and I can only speak for myself, wouldn’t even know that Bertel engaged in anything other than honest reporting if I didn’t have a small pool of people constantly trying to frame his work as partisan. From my perspective, it still just seems like he merely reports things that various people don’t want to see in print.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        CJ- lol. And to think that I had respect for you and your comments (which were usually fair and accurate). I did think about the terms “we” and “all” which I don`t usually use but since Bertel did first I thought, if Bertel does it then it must be right!

        As for the ludicrous and completely inaccurate comment about me being a professional UAW shill (which is where you lost my respect) – I am a research scientist in North Carolina, not part of a union and British. So what part of that would lead me to perform paid advocacy for a motor company union? It really weakens any contribution you make to a discussion if you hurl abuse (which happens to be flat out wrong). It does take some imagination to see everything bad and evil (which this free insurance isn`t) as being UAW inspired. This article was about a free insurance offer, nothing to do with the UAW.

        As for the part about not knowing that Bertel could possible have a certain point of view (all humans do and Bertel I am assuming is human) could it be that you just share the same perspective he does and therefore do not notice any b***? Most of the articles he posts are fine and the facts stand for themselves – as with most people (as judged by comments) I come here for Michael Karesh’s reviews, Murilee and Jack’s amusing articles and Ed has interesting articles (where he at least engages in discussion with people who comment and doesn`t leap to ban words).

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        You assumed GM had numerous exclusions on their insurance program and said it was a positive thing, as it would keep people with bad driving records from making the promotion expensive and attracting drunk drivers to GM vehicles. When it turned out that GM didn’t have exclusions for driving records, you said that was good and now the program couldn’t be criticized. I’d already criticized it for being what it is, an incentive that will primarily appeal to people with high insurance rates. You seem to be the one being inconsistent in your efforts to advocate for a particular company. Whatever they do, in your writing it is a good thing. That’s inconsistent when you incorrectly make assumptions in order to make a pro-GM point and keep saying the policy is a good one when it turns out you were wrong.

        It is funny that you singled out Karesh’s reviews for praise. I rarely comment on them, and I only read them to confirm that they contain unjustified barbs at car companies that he regularly pans while they dominate their competitors on his own reliability tracking website. It is comic relief. If, as you said, you come here for certain authors’ work, why do you engage in a campaign against the writers that you disagree with? If I see an item I know won’t contain much of interest, I don’t waste my time with it. If you think someone is writing with a consistent agenda that ruins the quality of their reporting, maybe you should do the same.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        CJ – This will be a longish post but since you make accusations they should be answered.

        I “singled out” Karesh along with three others (so maybe not quite singled out) in part because as I said many people in the comments section say things like “great review”, “thanks, very informative” – just look yourself. That was not me projecting. I wouldn`t even know Karesh engaged in anything other than honest reporting if I didn’t have a small pool of people (well just you actually) trying to frame his work as unjustified (partisan). Funny how you see b*** in some articles/authors and not others. Just as you accuse me of.

        As for your point about GM (at least you have moved on from the UAW, although you never acknowledge when wrong, you just move onto something else) – I have said in other articles (where relevant and just search if really interested) that GM made a mess of quite a few things. Such as
        a) aligning Opel with Saturn when they have such different price points (Buick makes more sense).
        b) relying too much on trucks, having uncompetitive cars until recently,
        c) allowing the Impala to languish and be a fleet queen.
        d) and many others.
        Now the accusation could easily be reversed if I really wanted to and say that you have always been pro-Toyota and never say anything “bad” about them.

        Now onto the point about the “free” insurance program (so I cannot be accused of not answering any comments you raise). I am surprised by the no exclusion and admitted I was wrong. Although there is still the point about what are “eligible” vehicles. So if that does mean V series cars, Camaro ZL1 etc are excluded then I won`t be totally wrong. I think GM is wrong to have no exceptions based upon driving record, but it is for them to make the decision (they have more data than you or I). It is a trial so they may be making the bet that the potential increase in sales outweigh the cost of insuring some risky drivers. Time will tell. I have said they should be applauded for trying but there is risk. Just as Hyundai took a risk with their reassurance program which in the end only ended up taking back <200 vehicles from what I read. So very little financial cost compared to the publicity. Of course they could have been criticized for allowing people with poor job prospects to get a car!

        As much as discussing with you is fun (!) I think this will turn into a sterile discussion (if it hasn`t already). So lets move onto the next day’s automotive news.

      • 0 avatar
        GarbageMotorsCo.

        “By ‘we’ and ‘all’ do you mean an organized group of professionally blogging UAW shills?”

        Hey!!! I represent that…..

        I mean resent that, oops. (well no a UAW shill but I was a dealer shill)

        Unfortunately, TTAC is just one of the automotive enthusiasts sites that have been targeted by the shills, and their precense is getting stronger and more pronounced everyday. Back before the bailouts, I was one of them too. We did everthing possible to shoot down and belittle any poster who anything negative to say about GM who at the time was fighting CH11 and shoving out “Road to Redemption” campaigns to save their image as a failing company.

        As history revealed tho, our “forum police” as I called it did little to sway the public and GM went CH11 anyways, because the truth is, there are a lot of former burned customers who will never buy a GM vehicle again, and the ones that actually were active online readers was minimal the attempts to convince them of their mistake of leaving GM never had a podium.

        Now, it appears that with the bailouts and GM attempting to re-emerge from the ashes, they have also revved up the internet policing 10 fold and they have become absolutely vicious in their words. ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING, anywhere, any site (even ones outside the auto sites) are being monitored, and any negative remarks about GM or Ford or anything remotely positive about an imports is immediately dispelled and those posters are keyboard whipped till they just stop posting.

        That was the idea before, it’s certainly the goal now. And this time around there are more of them than there are of us.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    I thought that the free insurance would only be for the purchaser, no?

  • avatar

    Hyundai Assurance vs GM Insurance. if you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    “For a busy Seattle family with two teenage boys — one of whom has a speeding ticket? We ran comparison quotes on a shiny new 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ. The lowest premium we found was $4,890 a year; the highest was $10,300.”

    Who the heck are they calling for insurance?!?!

    I live in Puget Sound – I own two cars (admitted don’t have a single ticket) and my insurance isn’t’ even 25% of the “lowest” bid; and I’m insured to the teeth.

    Maybe I have a Polyanna view on insurance and a really good deal? When I read about this yesterday I thought to myself, “so what, big deal, they’re going to give me maybe $600 for the year and rip me away from an insurance company I’m happy with.”

    Also, doesn’t the under writing department at Met Life have the final say? I mean if someone is applying for this program and they don’t meet under writing standards, GM forces Met Life to write the insurance? Is that what people are saying?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I mean if someone is applying for this program and they don’t meet under writing standards, GM forces Met Life to write the insurance?

      You should read the website of your beloved GM. There, you will see that if the vehicle is eligible and the purchaser resides in Oregon or Washington, then that purchaser gets the policy unless the purchaser chooses to decline it (and those who decline don’t receive anything else in lieu of the coverage).

      That being said, I doubt that this will be a magnet for bad drivers. Most of those would require a loan, and bad driving and credit risk often correlate, so some may be screened out through the lending process. The overall risk of the buying pool is probably not that high in comparison to those who ordinarily buy GM vehicles.

      Whether it’s a successful promotion is another matter. My guess is that this more for MetLife than it is for GM. This provides the insurer with a fairly large database of potential future customers; the majority of those drivers whom MetLife chooses to renew will probably keep the policy, so their customer acquisition costs will be low.

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        You should read the website of your beloved GM.

        Thank you for the constructive start to your dialog, of course I am now more than ready to listen you.

        There, you will see that if the vehicle is eligible and the purchaser resides in Oregon or Washington, then that purchaser gets the policy unless the purchaser chooses to decline it (and those who decline don’t receive anything else in lieu of the coverage).

        So you are saying General Motors finance department over rules Met Life underwriters. Wow. Truly stunned.

        That being said, I doubt that this will be a magnet for bad drivers. Most of those would require a loan, and bad driving and credit risk often correlate, so some may be screened out through the lending process. The overall risk of the buying pool is probably not that high in comparison to those who ordinarily buy GM vehicles.

        Whether it’s a successful promotion is another matter. My guess is that this more for MetLife than it is for GM. This provides the insurer with a fairly large database of potential future customers; the majority of those drivers whom MetLife chooses to renew will probably keep the policy, so their customer acquisition costs will be low.

        Now see, you could have just wrote that instead of being a tool.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        you could have just wrote that instead of being a tool

        You might want to keep that admonition in mind for yourself the next time that you try to insist that the Cruze couldn’t possibly have high fleet numbers, as you continually confuse fleet percentages with inventory days while claiming that I had no idea what I was talking about. (I note that you didn’t see the need to provide a mea culpa when I provided the hard numbers for April Cruze fleet sales, which were 27%.)

        So you are saying General Motors finance department over rules Met Life underwriters. Wow. Truly stunned.

        I don’t see why.

        GM should have decent data on the sales volumes that are generated by promotions that are similar to this.

        MetLife should have good actuarial data on the claims that are typical of such models during their first year.

        Combine that with some number crunching, and the two companies should be able to figure out what to pay whom for the resulting risk and the benefit that goes to GM for higher sales and to MetLife for the resulting customer base.

        Insurance is about pooling risk. An actuarial wouldn’t have a hard time figuring out what type of deal to cut for something like this. The fact that the press freaks out about it tells me that they don’t know anything about insurance or how insurers manage risk so that they are able to stay in business.

  • avatar
    MBella

    All I can say, is that If GM carries out this deal in Michigan, I will likely be buying a GM vehicle. Michigan has the highest insurance rates though, so I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    I remember VW trying this several years back. How did it work out for them?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Was it VW or Mazda? It wasn’t good for whoever did it and they killed the program as soon as they realized that insurance companies knew what they’re doing and weren’t unfairly overcharging drivers of their brand of cars.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    People with inexpensive car insurance might not see the value in this program, but you can bet people who are dealing with assigned risk premiums in the mid four to low five figure range will be thrilled!


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