Insurance Losses Point To Risky Drivers More Than Vehicle Safety Page 2

October 19, 2010

2009 Mitsubishi Lancer

The Dodge Charger stands out as having an unusually high level of collision claims along with all types of injury-related claims, while sedans or wagons that rank especially well include the Ford Taurus, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Subaru Outback. The Honda Odyssey and Chrysler's Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans have insurance losses that are well below average.

A number of small and mid-size SUVs ranked in the average-to-better-than-average range, though the one exception is the Suzuki Grand Vitara, which ranked worse than average. The Honda Pilot, Hyundai Veracruz, and Toyota 4Runner were among the top-ranked vehicles, along with the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia. In the luxury SUV realm, the Acura RDX and Volvo XC90 stand out as having better than average loss rates, and the XC90 is the only SUV to rank 'substantially better than average' in all three injury-related categories.

Moving up to luxury models, the clear trend is that collision and comprehensive claims are high across the class but injury and property-damage claims are quite low. Again here, the results are likely being skewed by more experienced drivers, yet high repair costs.

Shopping for a new or used car? Check these numbers.

"These insurance loss results generally are good predictors of the experience of current versions of the same vehicle models," the HLDI says, though they point out that this doesn't hold true for completely redesigned models.

So, for instance, just because losses have been high with the outgoing Kia Optima, don't assume they'll be that way for the completely redesigned 2011 Kia Optima, which might attract an entirely different type of buyer.

Although these ratings might not be the first place you should consult if you're looking for the safest vehicles—official NHTSA and IIHS crash-test ratings should—you should certainly take a look and consider avoiding some of the vehicle models with the highest claims rates; even if it's a very safe car, you may end up having to pay for the mistakes of others.


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