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Insurance data reveals the best and worst cars for injuries, overall damage claims

Consumer Reports News: October 01, 2012 04:08 PM

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) recently released their claims data showing which vehicles have the highest and lowest overall insurance losses. The safety research organization found that even though many vehicles now do well in crash tests, the role of vehicle size is important.

Minicars and those models with powerful engines have more injury claims than other vehicle types, while sports cars and luxury vehicles incur the greater damage costs. The IIHS also says that larger vehicles protect people better than smaller ones in real-world crashes.

The vehicles with the lowest overall losses for 2009-2011 include the Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid and two-door Jeep Wrangler. On the other end, the highest losses went to some of the most expensive models--Ferrari California and Maserati GranTurismo.

On models priced under $30,000, the Mitsubishi Lancer AWD and Hyundai Genesis coupe had the highest losses. The Jeep again is on the lowest list, as well as the Toyota FJ Cruiser.

Best and worst cars for personal injuries

Lowest claim frequency: Personal injury protection
Vehicle Vehicle size & class Claim frequency
Porsche 911 (2-door) Midsize sports car 32
Chevrolet Corvette (2-door) Midsize sports car 38
Chevrolet Silverado 2500 crew 4WD Very large pickup 39
Mercedes-Benz SL-class convertible Midsize sports car 42
Jeep Grand Cherokee Midsize SUV 42
Lexus LX 570 4WD Large luxury SUV 42
Land Rover Range Rover 4WD Large luxury SUV 44
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Large pickup 44
Ford F-150 4WD Large pickup 44
Cadillac Escalade ESV 4WD Very large luxury SUV 45
Highest claim frequency: Personal injury protection
Vehicle Vehicle size & class Claim frequency
Toyota Yaris Mini four-door car 201
Suzuki SX4 Small four-door car 187
Chevrolet Aveo Mini four-door car 183
Mitsubishi Galant Midsize four-door car 179
Kia Rio Mini four-door car 175
Hyundai Accent Mini four-door car 173
Nissan Versa Small four-door car 173
Dodge Avenger Midsize four-door car 167
Nissan Sentra Small four-door car 162
Chevrolet Aveo Mini station wagons/minivan 157

Affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), HLDI claims information is helpful for car buyers to know how expensive a vehicle will be to repair and how much their premiums will cost, but there is more to the purchase decision than insurance claims in the event of a crash.

Consumer Reports provides the full cost of vehicle ownership, which include depreciation, fuel, interest on financing, insurance, sales tax, and average maintenance and repair costs. Insurance makes up only about 10 percent of ownership costs over five years. Depreciation (48 percent), fuel (24 percent), and interest on a typical loan (11 percent) are all greater cost factors. Further, our data shows that SUVs and luxury vehicles overall are more expensive to own. The least expensive vehicles include small cars such as the Honda Fit and Toyota Prius C.

Before you make a purchase decision on a new car, it's important to look at a variety of factors such as how the vehicle performs in Consumer Reports' tests, its reliability, crash test ratings and cost of vehicle ownership. By looking at the total picture, a car buyer can be prepared to know not only how much a vehicle is to buy, but also to maintain for many years.

Liza Barth

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