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Status Report, Vol. 52, No. 10 | December 28, 2017 Subscribe

Loss leadersLuxury cars dominate list of models with highest collision losses

Two eco-friendly vehicles are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to collision losses for 2014–16 model passenger vehicles, the latest claims information from HLDI shows. The Smart ForTwo electric has the lowest overall collision losses, while the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid has some of the highest, second only to a trio of Bentley Continentals.

Sorting loss results by vehicle size and type, luxury cars, a group that includes the i8, have higher than average collision claim costs, while pickups and SUVs have lower than average costs. When it comes to injury claims, minicars or small cars have the most frequent claims for injuries to their occupants, while very large pickups have the lowest.

Collision coverage insures against damage to a driver's vehicle if he or she is at fault in a crash. Collision claims data give consumers an idea of how expensive it is to repair a vehicle, while injury data help fill out the safety picture.

HLDI also analyzes claims under comprehensive coverage, which covers theft and damage not caused by a crash, and property damage liability, which pays for damage that an at-fault driver causes to another vehicle. Analysts use this data to gauge the real-world loss experience of vehicles, and it is a valuable comparison tool for car buyers.

"Whenever consumers are on the hunt for a new vehicle they should consult two key resources: safety ratings from IIHS and insurance loss results from HLDI," says Matt Moore, HLDI's senior vice president.

"Combined, they give a good picture of a vehicle's overall safety and insurance costs."

Insurance data are unique in that they include many crashes that don't result in injury. In particular, data for collision claims include many crashes that don't get reported to police. More than half of collision claims for passenger vehicles cost less than $3,000, with the largest number falling in the $1,000–$1,999 range.

Loss information reflects both a vehicle's attributes and how it is driven. HLDI controls for factors such as driver age, gender and marital status; calendar year; model year; the number of registered vehicles per square mile at the garaging location and state. Collision losses also are adjusted for deductibles. A deductible is the amount of money a policyholder must pay for a claim before an insurer will expend money to settle the claim. The most common deductible is between $251 and $500. For this report, cargo vans were excluded.

BMW i8 (left) and Smart ForTwo (right)

The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid has above-average losses for collision coverage, while the Smart ForTwo electric has much lower than average losses.

Collision losses

Overall losses are a combination of claim frequency, or how often claims are made, and claim severity, or how much is paid per claim.

The two-door Bentley Continental GT four-wheel drive has the highest overall collision loss experience among 2014–16 passenger vehicles. The Continental GT's overall collision losses are 6½ times the average ($390) for all passenger vehicles. Overall collision losses top $2,500 for the GT.

All but one of the cars with the 10 highest collision losses are luxury models. The exception is the Maserati Granturismo. It is classified as a two-door large sports car, though its price tag is bigger than that of most luxury vehicles. The Granturismo's overall collision losses are 4 times the average for all passenger vehicles.

The average loss payment per insured vehicle year of the i8, a midsize luxury car, is just slightly higher than that of the Granturismo. Within its own vehicle class, the i8's collision losses far outstrip those of other midsize luxury cars, most of which have high overall losses.

"The above-average losses for luxury cars are driven by their high claim severities," Moore says. "They are expensive to buy and to repair."

Among the 10 vehicles with the lowest overall collision losses, there are four pickups, three station wagons, a sports car, a small SUV and a microcar, the ForTwo.

The ForTwo electric's overall collision losses are 58 percent lower than other passenger vehicles. The next best vehicle is the Ram 1500 long-wheelbase four-wheel drive, a large pickup whose overall collision losses are 53 percent lower than the average; followed closely by a very large pickup, the Ford F-250 four-wheel drive; and the Kia Soul electric, a small station wagon.

Not everyone can afford a Bentley, so HLDI also tabulated results for 2014–16 models that sell for less than $30,000. Small and midsize cars accounted for more than half of the vehicles with the highest collision overall losses in this price group, and nearly all of the vehicles on this high-loss list are marketed for their performance.

The Hyundai Genesis midsize coupe had the highest relative overall losses, followed by the Scion FR-S, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Subaru BRZ — all sporty two-doors.

In the under-$30,000 group, the ForTwo remains atop the best list, followed by the Jeep Wrangler small SUV (the two-door, short-wheelbase, four-wheel drive version), the midsize Subaru Outback, both with and without EyeSight, Subaru's front crash prevention technology; and the Ram 1500 long-wheelbase four-wheel drive.

Injury losses

When it comes to injuries in crashes, medical payment insurance pays for injuries to an at-fault driver or passengers in that driver's vehicle, while bodily injury liability insurance pays for injuries that an at-fault driver causes to occupants of other vehicles or others on the road. Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is sold in states with no-fault insurance systems. This coverage pays for injuries to occupants of the insured vehicle, no matter who is at fault.

Losses for both medical payment and PIP reflect in part how well a vehicle protects its occupants. Consumers can compare injury losses based on the coverage they need.

Looking at PIP, the Mitsubishi Lancer, a small four-door car, has the highest frequency among 2014–16 models — at 36 claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years, or about twice the average. The Scion iA, a mini four-door car, comes next with 32 claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years. Most of the vehicles with the highest PIP frequencies are minicars or small cars, with the exception of the midsize Chrysler 200 and the large Dodge Charger.

The Porsche 911 Carrera, a two-door midsize sports car, had the lowest frequency among the models studied, at one-quarter of the all-passenger vehicle average. The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 coupe was next best, at one-third of the all-passenger vehicle average.

Injury claim frequencies are affected by a number of factors, including how often a vehicle is driven and on what kind of roads. A vehicle with a low injury claim rate isn't necessarily among the safest. In general, larger, heavier models and those with good safety ratings offer the best protection for their occupants.


Best and worst collision claims for 2014–16 passenger vehicles,
ranked by overall losses

Claim frequencies are per 100 insured vehicle years. Claim severity is average loss payment per claim. Overall losses are average payments per insured vehicle year. Vehicles are 2014–16 models unless otherwise noted. Cargo vans are excluded.

Lowest overall losses Vehicle size and type Claim frequency Claim severity Overall losses
Smart ForTwo electric 2-door microcar 3.3 $4,921 $162
Ram 1500 LWB 4WD large pickup 4.5 $4,065 $185
Ford F-250 4WD very large pickup 3.8 $4,940 $187
Kia Soul electric small station wagon 5.0 $3,786 $189
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 convertible midsize sports car 2.8 $7,145 $204
Jeep Wrangler 2dr SWB 4WD small SUV 3.1 $6,555 $205
Ram 2500 crew cab SWB 2WD very large pickup 6.2 $3,451 $215
F-350 SuperCab 4WD very large pickup 4.6 $4,789 $221
Subaru Outback 4WD with EyeSight midsize station wagon 5.9 $3,750 $222
Subaru Outback 4WD midsize station wagon 6.0 $3,692 $222
Highest overall losses Vehicle size and type Claim frequency Claim severity Overall losses
Bentley Continental GT 2dr 4WD very large luxury car 7.1 $35,744 $2,536
Bentley Continental Flying Spur 4dr 4WD very large luxury car 8.1 $28,816 $2,338
Bentley Continental GTC convertible 4WD very large luxury car 6.5 $29,478 $1,923
BMW i8 plug-in hybrid 2dr 4WD midsize luxury car 7.7 $21,588 $1,657
Maserati Granturismo 2dr large sports car 8.5 $18,785 $1,597
BMW M6 2dr large luxury car 8.6 $17,436 $1,498
Audi RS7 4dr 4WD large luxury car 8.7 $16,013 $1,401
BMW M3 4dr midsize luxury car 8.0 $16,866 $1,359
BMW M4 2dr midsize luxury car 10.0 $13,499 $1,349
Maserati Ghibli 4dr 4WD large luxury car 10.1 $13,272 $1,339
Average all passenger vehicles Claim frequency Claim severity Overall losses
7.4 $5,256 $390
LWB: long wheelbase / SWB: short wheelbase

Best and worst collision claims for 2014–16 passenger vehicles
priced under $30,000, ranked by overall losses

Claim frequencies are per 100 insured vehicle years. Claim severity is average loss payment per claim. Overall losses are average payments per insured vehicle year. Vehicles are 2014–16 models unless otherwise noted. Cargo vans are excluded.

Lowest overall losses Vehicle size and type Claim frequency Claim severity Overall losses
Smart ForTwo electric 2-door microcar 3.3 $4,921 $162
Jeep Wrangler 2dr SWB 4WD small SUV 3.1 $6,555 $205
Subaru Outback 4WD with EyeSight midsize station wagon 5.9 $3,750 $222
Subaru Outback 4WD midsize station wagon 6.0 $3,692 $222
GMC Canyon extended cab small pickup 5.2 $4,298 $223
Ram 1500 LWB large pickup 5.4 $4,384 $236
Volkswagen Golf electric 4-door small car 5.1 $4,644 $236
Jeep Wrangler 4dr 4WD midsize SUV 3.5 $6,774 $240
Ford F-150 large pickup 3.9 $6,190 $240
Mazda CX-5 4dr small SUV 6.3 $3,903 $245
Highest overall losses Vehicle size and type Claim frequency Claim severity Overall losses
Hyundai Genesis 2-door midsize car 11.4 $6,755 $769
Scion FR-S 2-door small car 12.1 $6,197 $753
Ford Mustang 2dr midsize sports car 10.3 $6,622 $686
Chevrolet Camaro 2dr large sports car 10.2 $6,469 $659
Subaru BRZ 2-door small car 10.5 $6,215 $656
Dodge Challenger 2-door large car 10.6 $5,906 $628
Kia Optima hybrid 4-door midsize car 10.5 $5,614 $592
Mitsubishi Lancer 4WD 4-door small car 10.2 $5,787 $591
Dodge Charger 4-door large car 11.4 $4,997 $571
Mitsubishi Lancer 4-door small car 11.2 $5,027 $563
LWB: long wheelbase / SWB: short wheelbase

Personal injury protection claims for 2014–16 passenger vehicles

Claim frequencies are per 1,000 insured vehicle years. Vehicles are 2014–16 models unless noted. Cargo vans are excluded.

Lowest claim frequency
Vehicle size and type Claim frequency
Porsche 911 Carrera 2dr midsize sports car 4.4
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 2dr midsize sports car 5.1
Porsche Boxster convertible small sports car 5.2
Mercedes-Benz E-Class station wagon 4WD large luxury car 5.5
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class convertible midsize sports car 6.3
Porsche Cayman 2dr small sports car 6.8
Land Rover Range Rover 4dr 4WD large luxury SUV 6.9
Chevrolet Corvette 2dr midsize sports car 7.0
Chevrolet Corvette convertible midsize sports car 7.1
Tesla Model S 4dr electric 2WD large luxury car 7.1
Highest claim frequency Vehicle size and type Claim frequency
Mitsubishi Lancer 2WD 4-door small car 36.0
Scion iA 4-door minicar 31.6
Nissan Versa 4-door small car 31.2
Kia Rio 4-door minicar 30.8
Chevrolet Sonic 4-door small car 29.8
Chrysler 200 2WD 4-door midsize car 29.7
Kia Forte 4-door small car 29.7
Scion iM small station wagon 29.4
Dodge Charger 2WD 4-door large car 29.1
Kia Rio
mini station wagon 28.6

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