By Tara Kasica, senior vice president of Polly
The car-buying experience is changing. Buyers are spending more time researching vehicles and completing steps of the car-buying process online than time in-market shopping or visiting the dealership. This has altered the in-store experience dramatically. Today, that experience centers on the deal more than ever before and as a result includes other aspects of car ownership — financing, warranties and aftermarket products, as well as other options. We can start to think of this experience like an all-inclusive resort — a customer shows up for the vacation, or in this case the vehicle, and the dealership caters to every aspect of the car-buying experience, for an all-in price.
And even though dealers act like all-inclusive resort managers by incorporating other aspects of car ownership into the car-buying process, too many hang on to prior conceptions about one option that could cost them additional dollars: insurance. It’s an all-too-common belief that car buyers who know how much car insurance costs on their new vehicle will spend less at best or at worst leave the lot empty handed. That’s simply not the case — at least not anymore. We recently commissioned study where it was found that 65% of car buyers said they considered the price of car insurance when buying a car, and 72% said they would like the opportunity to get auto insurance at the dealership.
Today’s buyers arrive at the dealership having researched not only the vehicle they’re interested in buying, but also trade-in options, financing options, and yes, even insurance pricing. They know their “all-in” monthly budget before they even set foot on the lot, and they’re simply there to complete the transaction. In that same 2022 study, we found that total cost of ownership continues to be top of mind for consumers, with over 86% saying it was important to them.
While buyers are increasingly well researched, often their research on insurance is more of a guess rather than an actual quote, or they’ve received only a single quote from their current provider. These buyers have an all-in monthly cost in mind, and they’ve calculated how much they can spend on the vehicle with a rough estimate for insurance, leaving room for dealers who offer access to an insurance marketplace during the car-buying experience to open buyers’ eyes to alternative options that could save them money.
And, for dealers, incorporating an insurance marketplace during the sales process can have an unanticipated effect: buyers could spend more money with the dealer. In some cases, marketplaces can save car buyers a few dollars, but in many cases, savings can add up to hundreds annually. That could also increase the amount the buyer spends at the dealership on what matters most to the dealer — the car!
Just as car buyers are no longer loyal to dealerships, those same car buyers are no longer loyal to their insurance providers. Insurance marketplaces incorporated within the car-buying experience present buyers with competitive pricing for comprehensive insurance. When buyers’ eyes are opened to how much they can save on the same coverage they’re already overpaying for, they often spend those savings on a more expensive car, more warranty coverage or more aftermarket products at the dealership. While they’ll likely spend the same all-in monthly amount, dealers will have greater margin and customers will walk away happier, not just feeling like they received a better deal, but appreciating the time saved from not having to deal with insurance details after the fact. That’s a win for everyone.