In the UK, the credit crunch seems to be having an intriguing affect on car insurance companies. In a bid to appeal to cash strapped customers, it seems that each company is offering an incentive to be sure that their own policies are the ones we go for, and cash back offers are the current trend. But are car insurance incentives really as good as they sound?
Cash back is a simple method to tempt customers, and it seems that the majority of car insurance companies (as well as some general insurance companies) are using the tactic, with the most recent being Tesco, who offer £50 to all club card holders, whilst Halifax go further offering £50 initially, following with another £50 payment every year you renew.
Of course, some such cash back offers have been met with sneers of derision from finance commentators, newspapers, and other insurers alike – warning that such incentives may well confuse customers into taking out policies which may well have been cheaper with a competitor in the long run. Simply, many are arguing that the very mention of cash back is another factor to add into the equation of working out the price, whilst taking in the basic cost, and then considering such frills as a courtesy car or breakdown cover – for it is these latter factors that differ so greatly in price between insurers.
Additionally, others are warning that customers must be careful to ensure that their cash back is included if you proceed to buy through comparison sites, as well as direct – or even if you have to do so over the phone. Similarly, there are also insurers who stipulate that you must activate the payment yourself, in the hope that you forget the offer after a few months.
Thinking about the trend in the context of price comparison websites, one can’t help but wonder whether insurers have begun such incentives specifically in order to hinder the efficiency of such sites. Following another recent, but less publicized, trend in which insurers have begun incorporating their own comparison sections on their sites to increase user traffic (and subsequently conversions), this notion doesn’t seem so far-fetched. And one wonders how far these incentives will go over the next year as insurance companies compete with each other tooth to tooth. One also hopes that too many customers aren’t duped by callous companies offering great deals and perks, but masking other essential charges.