2015 Ford F-150: Insurance Rates Hold Steady, Despite Aluminum Body

March 23, 2015

Wise people often say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", and if ever there was a vehicle that wasn't broke, it's the Ford F-150. That pickup has been America's best-selling ride for nearly 40 years.

And yet, for 2015, Ford upended conventional wisdom by "fixing" its hugely popular truck, ditching the vehicle's steel body for one made of aluminum.

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The change was meant to make the F-150 lighter and thus, more fuel efficient, but many worried that moving away from steel would cause repair costs to skyrocket. According to Auto News, though, some clever design has kept prices in check -- at least for now.

It's true that repairing aluminum is more expensive than repairing steel. Replacing the front door of a 2015 F-150 costs $1,020.95, while the same repair on similar trucks ranges from $475.92 (for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado) to $869.50 (for the 2014 Toyota Tundra). Making that fix on a 2014 F-150 runs $854.93, though interestingly, repairing the hood on 2014 and 2015 models is the same price: $880.

Thankfully for Ford, the company's designers took those higher prices into account when re-envisioning the iconic truck. As a result, the new F-150 allows body work and repairs to take place on a smaller scale. So, for example, instead of replacing a very large aluminum panel, the owner of a dinged-up F-150 can often replace a smaller, cheaper segment.
The truck's thoughtful design has held down insurance premiums, too. And maybe they'll stay that way -- after all, there wasn't much of a jump in rates when other automakers began making vehicle bodies from aluminum, as Jaguar did with the XJ in 2004.

Then again, (a) it's only March, and (b) the F-150 far, far, far outsells the XJ -- meaning that (a) relatively few 2015 F-150s have gotten into accidents just yet, and (b) when they do, they're likely to have a much greater impact on insurance companies' bottom lines. Luckily for F-150 owners, insurers won't adjust rates until they've gathered ample data to identify trends, and that could take a year or more. Stay tuned.


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