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Study: Injuries/Insurance Claims More Often Reported for Drivers of Small Cars

Wrecked car.jpgSmall cars and cars with powerful engines have the most frequent insurance claims for injuries to their occupants, while high-end sports cars and luxury vehicles rack up the most expensive claims for damage. These are just a couple of the insights that can be gleaned from the latest claims information published by the Highway Loss Data Institute.

The industry group looked at insurance statistics for the model years 2009-2011.

The Toyota Yaris has the highest number of injury claims with 28.5 personal injury claims for every 1,000 cars on the road, while the Suzuki SX4 with 26.6 injury claims per 1,000 insured vehicles was second. The Chevrolet Aveo, Mitsubishi Gallant, Kia Rio, and Nissan Versa and Sentra were all among the poorest scorers. The Chevrolet's Aveo scored particularly badly in the category of medical payment loss.

On the opposite end of the scale is the Porsche 911, which saw just 4.5 injury claims per 1,000 insured. Also among those with low injury rates are the Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Silverado, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lexus LX570, Mercedes Benz SL Class convertible, Ford F-150, Land Rover Range Rover and Cadillac Escalade.

The institute looked at the results for vehicles that are priced under $30,000. The Mitsubishi Lancer ranked poorly both in claims frequency and the amount of damage inflicted per incident. One car that gets driven -- and crashed -- more often is the Mitsubishi Lancer. The four-wheel-drive version tops the list for the highest overall collision losses for vehicles priced under $30,000. The Lancer is a good example of what the HLDI data can reveal to consumers: Its high relative losses make it an outlier among small four-door cars. The Lancer is a small sporty sedan, and its powerful engine and fun-to-drive image attract drivers who like to go fast. The Lancer averaged $6,221 per claim. Its losses average $707 per insured vehicle year. Claim severity is average loss payment per claim. Overall losses are average payments per insured vehicle year. Other vehicles that had high claims and losses were the Hyundai Genesis coupe, the Suzuki Kizashi four-wheel drive sedan and the Subaru Impreza WRX.

High-dollar cars also saw high-dollar damage costs. Not surprisingly, the $200,000 Ferrari California fared the worst. Although there were just 2.6 claims per every 100 of the Ferraris, each claim averaged $82,112. The runner-up in this category, the Maserati Granturismo, suffered an average $16,150 of damage in a collision.

The composite also shows broad trends among vehicle types. For example, the vehicle types with higher than average collision losses include small and midsize two-door cars; small, midsize and large sports cars; all luxury cars; and large luxury SUVs. Comprehensive losses, usually for theft, are highest for all luxury cars, large two-door cars, large and very large luxury SUVs and very large pickups. Injury losses, as measured by PIP, are highest for mini, small and midsize four-door cars, and small and midsize two-door cars.

A spokesman for the industry group said studies such as these are important because "injury claims data show something that crash test results can't, and that's the role that vehicle size plays." Because crash tests are typically conducted using a fixed barrier, their "results are comparable only among similar vehicles." Injury claims better reflect the real world, the spokesman explained.

Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz has helped victims of negligence for many years. Call us at 410-234-0100 or email us for a free consultation and let us assist you.

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