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Insurance data shows which cars are worst for injuries, damage

The HLDI has released insurance claims data showing which vehicles have the highest and lowest overall insurance losses, showing the vehicle size still plays a big role in crash survival.


The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), a part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), has released its annual report detailing which vehicles have the lowest and highest number of claims for injuries and damages through accident reporting data. The list highlights some surprises in common perceptions and solidifies the notion that smaller cars are generally less safe.

Of the top five cars on the list of personal injury claim frequency all but one are compact vehicles:

* Toyota Yaris
* Suzuki SX4
* Chevrolet Aveo
* Mitsubishi Galant
* Kia Rio

The next five on the list, in order of appearance, are also all compact cars with the exception of one. They include the Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa, Dodge Avenger, Nissan Sentra, and Chevrolet Aveo wagon. So out of the top 10 cars with the highest frequency for personal injury protection claims, only two - the Galant and Avenger - are not compact or mini cars.

The lowest claim frequencies for PIP after a crash go to a mixture of sport utility vehicles, luxury sedans, and (surprisingly) powerful sports cars. In fact, the car with the lowest claim frequency was the Porsche 911 followed by the Chevrolet Corvette. The Chevrolet Silverado 2500 crew-cab comes in next followed by the Mercedes-Benz SL-class convertible. The rest of the list is made up of SUVs and pickups.

Damage losses - i.e. cost per accident in damage repairs - are highest in very expensive vehicles, of course. The top contenders there include the Ferrari California and the Maserati GranTurismo. Looking past those towards vehicles in the "regular person" ownership range, we see vehicles like the Hyundai Genesis coupe and Toyota FJ Cruiser plus other, similar vehicles (think Jeep) as being the lowest-cost in repairs after an accident.

The IIHS crash test ratings are a metric for making an educated guess as to how well a vehicle will do in an accident, but real world data such as that given by their subsidiary at HLDI shows how well the vehicle performs in life. This should help consumers make choices in future purchases as one of many things to consider before buying that new car.

Of course, telling your wife that the 911 is one of the safest cars on the road may not actually convince her that you should own one, but.. well, it can't hurt.


Anonymous (not verified)    October 5, 2012 - 5:17PM

The problem with this type of report is that it doesn't look at the type of person who usually drives that type of vehicle and how it's usually used.

Certain vehicles may attract more competent drivers.
Certain vehicles are commonly used in safer conditions.

911 may be the "safest" simply because their drivers are enthusiasts who are more skilled, and therefore get into less severe accidents.

Let's get a bunch of 911s and drive them head on into some 1 Ton pickups under controlled circumstances

The reports are usually just so much unscientific BS with some intentional of unintended bias.. Just like the stories that deny and confirm that drinking wine is good for you.

Is this case I think that all we can say for sure, is that basic physics always applies.

Aaron Turpen    October 5, 2012 - 5:56PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

These reports are REAL WORLD and therefore are reflecting what you're saying. Remember, these reports are meant for the insurance industry and people who are concerned about safety when purchasing a new vehicle. If a certain type of person is attracted to a specific car, then that person inherently makes that type of car less safe because most of those cars purchased are by that "certain type of person." In other words, a car is made less safe by its driver and if a specific model attracts less safe drivers, then that model is less safe as a result. Hence insurers are more likely to raise rates for that model.

The second-safest car on their list was also a sports car, but is the cheaper Chevrolet option that is often driven by muscle car enthusiasts and younger drivers. Which kind of blows your "911 theory" out of the water.