NHTSA's New Car Crash Damage Susceptibility Ratings


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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has provided the information in this booklet in compliance with Federal law as an aid to consumers considering the purchase of a new vehicle. The booklet compares differences in insurance costs for different makes and models of passenger cars, station wagons/passenger vans, pickups, and utility vehicles on the basis of damage susceptibility. However, it does not indicate a vehicle's relative safety.

The following table contains the best available information regarding the effect of damage susceptibility on insurance premiums. It was taken from data compiled by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) in its December 2005 Insurance Collision Report, and reflects the collision loss experience of passenger cars, utility vehicles, light trucks, and vans sold in the United States in terms of the average loss payment per insured vehicle year for model years 2003-2005. NHTSA has not verified the data in this table.

The table presents vehicles' collision loss experience in relative terms, with 100 representing the average for all passenger vehicles. Thus, a rating of 122 reflects a collision loss experience that is 22 percent higher (worse) than average while a rating of 96 reflects a collision loss experience that is 4 percent lower (better) than average. The table is not relevant for models that have been substantially redesigned for 2006, and it does not include information about models without enough claim experience.

Although many insurance companies use the HLDI information to adjust the "base rate" for the collision portion of their insurance premiums, the amount of any such adjustment is usually small. It is unlikely that your total premium will vary more than ten percent depending upon the collision loss experience of a particular vehicle. If you do not purchase collision coverage or your insurance company does not use the HLDI information, your premium will not vary at all in relation to these rankings.

In addition, different insurance companies often charge different premiums for the same driver and vehicle. Therefore, you should contact insurance companies or their agents directly to determine the actual premium that you will be charged for insuring a particular vehicle.

PLEASE NOTE: In setting insurance premiums, insurance companies mainly rely on factors that are not directly related to the vehicle itself (except for its value). Rather, they mainly consider driver characteristics (such as age, gender, marital status, and driving record), the geographic area in which the vehicle is driven, how many miles are traveled, and how the vehicle is used. Therefore, to obtain complete information about insurance premiums, you should contact insurance companies or their agents directly.

Insurance companies do not generally adjust their premiums on the basis of data reflecting the crashworthiness of different vehicles. However, some companies adjust their premiums for personal injury protection and medical payment coverage if the insured vehicle has features that are likely to improve its crashworthiness, such as air bags.

Test data relating to vehicle crashworthiness are available from NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). NCAP test results demonstrate relative frontal and side crash protection in new vehicles. Information on vehicles that NHTSA has tested in the NCAP program can be obtained by calling the agency's toll-free Auto Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 and through NHTSA’s Web site at www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

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