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Car Insurance: New Report Ranks Vehicles With Highest and Lowest Insurance Losses

It’s no secret: When it comes to car insurance, expensive cars cost more to fix and more to insure. In the case of a complete loss, replacing an $80,000 car costs more than replacing a $30,000 car. It’s not rocket science.

When looking at similarly priced vehicles, however, other factors come into play, such as the insured’s driving record, location and so forth. Additionally, some vehicles simply cost more to repair or seem to be in more accidents than others. All these are risk factors that insurance companies weigh when establishing the annual premium we pay for insuring our cars, trucks and SUVs.

It always makes sense to reach out to your insurance company whenever you’re considering changing vehicles to determine, before purchasing, how the change will affect your annual premium.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent, nonprofit organization supported by insurance companies that is best known for crash testing and rating the safety of vehicles. An affiliate organization, HLDI (Highway Loss Data Institute) monitors car crashes, keeping track of the size and frequency of paid car insurance claims. In a report jointly released in December 2017, IIHS and HLDI list the cars with the highest and lowest losses based on the frequency and severity of those paid claims. It’s helpful information if the cost of insuring a car is part of your car-buying decision-making.

The December report is for 2014-2016 model-year vehicles. All collision numbers are per 100 vehicles, meaning for every 100 of that specific vehicle on the road. Consequently, it doesn’t matter that there are more Ford F-150 trucks on the road than the Subaru BRZ. Each is ranked according to claims and losses per 100 units of that nameplate on the road.

Overall losses are collision claims where a driver is at fault. The December report provided lists including all vehicles regardless of price, as well as lists for vehicles priced below $30,000.

All Vehicles

No surprise, the Highest list is populated with high-ticket cars. The overall loss number is determined by the frequency of claims per 100 cars multiplied by the average amount of the claims, and divided by 100. It’s a per-vehicle average within that 100 vehicles.

Topping the Highest list are vehicles like the Bentley Continental GT 2-door 4-wheel drive and the Flying Spur 4-door 4WD. The GT had average per-vehicle loss of $2,536, and the Flying Spur was a close second at $2,338. Surprisingly, the lowest overall losses were posted by the Smart ForTwo electric with an average loss per vehicle of $162, followed by the Ram 1500 4WD at $185.

Vehicles Priced Below $30,000

Because it’s priced below $30,000, Smart ForTwo electric leads the lowest pack here, too. Following behind is the Jeep Wrangler 2-door at $205, with the third spot going to Subaru Outback at $222.

At the top of the Highest list is the Hyundai Genesis Coupe at $769, followed by the Scion FR-S at $753. Earning the third spot is the Ford Mustang at $686.

Personal Injury Protection

Also included in the December report were lists for the highest and lowest personal injury protection (PIP) claims. PIP is sold in states with no-fault insurance, paying for personal injury claims regardless of who is at fault. Here the number is based on 1,000 insured-vehicle years rather than by 100 vehicles. The frequency of claims is a general measure of how well a car protects it occupants.

Among the vehicles with the lowest-claim frequency, the Porsche 911 Carrera leads the way with an average of 4.4 claims per 1,000 insured-vehicle years. Placing second is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 with 5.1 claims. The Porsche Boxster ranks third with 5.2 claims.

Highest-claim frequency honors goes to the Mitsubishi Lancer with an average of 36 claims. Behind it are the Scion iA at 31.6 average claims and the Nissan Versa at 31.2 claims.

What it means to you: Dealing in averages, the IIHS/HLDI report reflects crash and claim experience across the entire population of a nameplate. Basically, it provides a general idea of how well a vehicle holds up in a crash. For the entire report, follow this link:

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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