If you live in the states of Washington or Oregon and are shopping for a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac, we’ve got some good news for you. Through September 6, residents of those states who buy a new 2010, 2011 or 2012 GM product will get one year of auto insurance coverage at no charge.
The policy is provided through MetLife, and includes coverage for both liability and physical damage in excess of state requirements. It also includes new vehicle replacement coverage for the first year or first 15,000 miles, which guarantees owners a new vehicle without any applied depreciation should theirs be totaled in an accident.
As you’d expect, there’s fine print. The deal doesn’t apply to commercial or fleet buyers, and isn’t valid if you transport people or goods for income (which, we suppose, would fall under the commercial exclusion). The insurance is good for a twelve-month period from the date of purchase, after which time MetLife has the option of offering the buyer a renewal or cancelling the policy, which could potentially leave those with less-than-clean driving records scrambling to find coverage.
You can opt out of the program if you're happy with your current policy, but GM won't give you any discounts or credits for doing so.
To qualify, buyers must have a valid drivers license and must live within either Washington or Oregon. The policy isn’t transferable if the vehicle is sold within the first year, but it does extend to cover drivers who operate the vehicle with the owner’s permission, excluding employees (again, tying back to the commercial vehicle exclusion). The fine print regarding the buyer’s age and current driving record seems to indicate that GM will pay the insurance bill for even high-risk drivers.
It's an interesting concept, but it's unclear how many drivers with established insurance company relationships (and clean driving records) will see this as a selling point. Many have car insurance linked to homeowners policies, or have multi-vehicle insurance policy discounts, which means that even this "free" insurance comes at a cost.