Hagerty might not be the auto insurance company for you. For example, if you’ve got a great brand-new car that you drive every single day, you’re not going to be interested in what Hagerty offers. But among classic car collectors, Hagerty’s is a top choice – in fact, Craig Fitzgerald, the editor-in-chief at Car Talk says that even though there are some limits on what the policies cover, the benefits offered by Hagerty makes it difficult to look elsewhere.
What are these benefits? Fitzgerald calls out the Hagerty’s Driver’s Club magazine specifically as beautiful and entertaining. Additionally, Hagerty’s Driver’s Club is actually a full suite of services, including unlimited classified ads and vehicle valuation lookup – hugely important to people who are continually buying and selling vehicles and vehicle parts as their primary form of recreation. There’s also a robust roadside assistance program with flatbed towing – that’s the only kind of towing acceptable for many classic cars. And Driver’s Club members get early access to exclusive automotive events.
So is Hagerty a Cult Brand?
While definitely not for everyone, Hagerty does demonstrate a deep understanding of their specific customer. By specializing in collectible vehicles, Hagerty is able to offer their customers lower premiums. They also offer a very different approach to compensation, in which the vehicle owner and insurance company come to an agreed-upon value for the vehicle that’s much higher than traditional insurance companies would offer.
Additionally, and this is the benefit that really demonstrates the deeper level of customer understanding going on here, in the event of a claim, Hagerty will pay for you to do your own repairs.
If you’re not a recreational knuckle-buster, that may not seem like a big deal. But if you know you know – it’s bad enough that your car is damaged, never mind finding someone you trust enough to work on it! Car people generally strongly prefer to do their own work, and Hagerty knows that.
So yes, I’d say they’re on their way to becoming a Cult Brand. Other factors that caught my eye include:
The Attention to Detail
One of the first things you see when you visit Hagerty’s website is the data collection pop-up – the typical notice letting you know that cookies are collected, yadda, yadda, yadda. But Hagerty’s pop-up doesn’t include the typical cut-and-paste text you’ve seen a million times. Instead, it’s been customized to appeal to the classic car enthusiast Haggerty is trying to attract, referencing how the site has been built to function like a finely-built motor. It’s a small detail, but only the first of many examples of how Hagerty continually reinforces the idea that they’re for car people.
Where do Hagerty’s customers go when they want to have fun? To classic car shows and other events where they can show off all the work they’ve done on their car. Hagerty has a merch shop full of smile-provoking apparel for this setting. Where else are you going to get a T-shirt that says Shift Happens?
The Support of Driver Education
Hagerty isn’t just about cars, it’s about classic cars. A strongly nostalgic story, the world of classic cars often talks about the freedom and independence these drivers experienced upon getting their license and first cars. Hagerty puts a portion of the proceeds from their sales into Driver Education programming, helping their current customers feel like they’re doing something to help the next generation feel the same joy they feel.
Will Hagerty ever have the broad, mass-market appeal we see in Cult Brands like Apple and Ikea? Probably not. They by definition are in a limited arena – but in that space, they are a dominant brand. If the Cult Brand status hasn’t yet been fully realized, Hagerty is well on the way there.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if there are brands you’d like me to take a look at in terms of Cult Brand potential, just drop their names in the comment below. As time allows, it would be my pleasure!