Is Car Insurance A Fashion Accessory?
Self image and the ability of marketing to influence how we view ourselves are powerful tools in the armoury of advertising and marketing. Can this be applied to car insurance? Could a site, such as 50+ insurance site  or no-deposit car insurance site ever be made to seem sexy? If we see ourselves as calm, sensible people, who are untainted by the continual media pressures that call on us to be in with the latest, down with the coolest, up with the best and out there in front, then perhaps not. Perhaps it is possible to focus solely on the hard facts, the naked figures, and the manner in which our questions are answered and our queries responded to. But having done so, it is likely, given the number of different companies out there, that we will still have to apply some other filters to make a choice.

All things being equal regarding the cost and cover provided, why not get your child a novelty gift unavailable from anywhere else? Or perhaps a reminder of the advertising campaign that first led you to a company you ultimately bought insurance from gives you a sense of achievement, security and consequently calmness. The novelty gift in the back of your car may comfort your children, and therefore make you feel grateful somehow. The Churchill dog reminds you of the fact that you are insured and therefore hopefully protected as he nods away on your rear parcel shelf; the meerkat toy your child cuddles whenever feeling sick on a car journey may give you some light relief and the little plastic robot called whatever, you can’t remember, may simply say you’re insured, relax.

How susceptible we are to the equation of a character, free gift, novelty or symbol with a good deal, security and peace of mind depends ultimately upon who we are and how we function. Given the variety of human characteristics and individuality it is unlikely that any one advertising campaign will convince everyone. But are there some themes that make more of us than others susceptible to marketing techniques?

Home, family, reliability and honesty are themes most would find appealing. The love of animals, children and loved ones and their protection from vulnerability and harm are also very appealing to those who are in search of insurance; and insurance is all about protection – of ourselves, our loved ones, and our property.

So can car insurance become – or has it already? – a fashion statement, an accessory to our lifestyle and our self image?

Just as the supermarket we shop at may define us as consumers of a certain income bracket, can car insurance do the same? Clearly people are not going to want to pay more for car insurance than necessary; but can they be convinced – or convince themselves – that extra cost can equal a better, more upmarket insurance product? Does it say something about the car we drive if it costs more to insure than a friend, relative’s or neighbour’s car? And do we want to advertise this by sporting a badge, sticker, carrying a toy or mascot?

Insurance companies may well soon plum the depths of novelties and associations that endear themselves to would-be consumers and solicit their custom, and where do they look to next?

Take an average car park and take a guess at which cars may be insured with which companies, or which drivers may choose certain companies as you assess them by their looks and manner. Is the next step to offer customers novelties and items that can be displayed – just like the nodding dog – in cars to announce that the driver is part of an elite group of customers who made the right choice and bought insurance from company C rather than A or B? Is such loyalty to be rewarded by linking purchase of policies to purchase of other goods in other places?

Environmental issues are another area not yet fully explored by car insurance markets. How does one make a car insurance policy environmentally friendly or link it and the provider with a high profile, easily recognisable environmental issue?

As the market tries to compete in an ever more discerning and competitive social whirlwind ruled by advertising, social media and ever shifting trends, perhaps the assimilation of car insurance into a whole package of eco-friendly, fashion-conscious but ‘will never go out of style’ brand names will follow. These could be made synonymous with not just car insurance but other day to day issues of such importance that, of course, why would one go to anyone other than …?

Android or iPhone, Orange or Virgin, smoking or non, car insurance may soon become a similar choice as products are linked and become associated inextricably with a whole package of life style choices rather than as stand alone products.

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