Hybrids cost insurers more

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by zenMachine, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    Insurance companies often give discounts to drivers of hybrids, perhaps because the image of a tree-hugging environmentalist suggests a cautious type who is a good risk to insure. But hybrid drivers rack up more miles, more tickets and costlier accidents than conventional car drivers, according to a study released Wednesday.

    "High-mileage drivers seem to be attracted to [hybrid] vehicles," said Raj Bhat, president of Quality Planning Corp., the San Francisco firm that conducted a study of 360,000 vehicle-insurance claims made to 12 U.S. insurers over the last two years, comparing hybrid and conventional vehicles. Quality Planning is a unit of Insurance Services Office Inc., a closely held group of companies that provides data, analytics and other services.
    ...

    The study found that hybrid-vehicle owners who buy cars for noncommuting purposes drive an average of 25% more than non-hybrid drivers. Hybrid and non-hybrid car owners who listed their cars as commuter vehicles both drove about the same amount. For owners of Toyota's Prius, one of the most common hybrid models, drivers racked up 65% more traffic tickets than their conventional-car peers.

    A typical hybrid owner is a woman, older, more affluent than the average driver and more likely to live in a city, which U'Ren said could account for some of the higher ticket statistics.

    What we don't know is whether owning a hybrid vehicle encourages people to drive more miles each day or take more pleasure trips," Bhat said.

    Article - WSJ.com
     
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  2. EZW1

    EZW1 Active Member

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    Hmmmm..... My '09 Prius was cheaper to insure than the '06 Mazda 5 I traded for it.... by about $350 a year.
     
  3. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    Prius accidents do appear to be substantially more expensive on average. Plus the cost of Toyota dealers and OEM parts is such that one is more likely to file a claim with a Prius if "minor" damage occurs.

    No surprise at all as a hybrid makes far more sense for those who drive more miles than for those who drive fewer.

    Maybe it is all the PC'ers who threw out their radar detectors? Actually, I'm not surprised. It has been my experience that you are more likely to get stopped near or below the speed limit than well above it.

    Honestly though, I've been behind quite a few other Prius drivers on entrance ramps and such, they are NOT taking it slow. Other drivers might think we will slow them down, but they are mistaken.

    We drive more miles in our Prius, fewer in other vehicles. A more complete analysis would look at the before/after mileage in other vehicles. The Prius does also make many 30-90 mile trips very cheap, so we are less reluctant to make those trips.
     
  4. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Detailed analysis of total cost of ownership shows insurance costs to be relatively large for Prius, and not easy to reduce. This is the owners' perspective.

    I have yet to see an insurance company without a deluxe hq building and highly paid upper staff. So, when I hear their complaints my response is 'cry babies, show me you know how to control costs in your own operation'
     
  5. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    It helps to read the original press release to understand their methodology. What is interesting is looking at another data source.

    "2009 Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information Booklet" February 10, 2009. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
    The reason this is a document of interest are the Prius and Honda Civic numbers:
    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
    0 Make Four-Door Models 121
    1 Ford Focus 86
    2 Toyota Prius[/B] 103[/B]
    3 Volkswagen Rabbit 106
    4 Honda Civic Hybrid 107[/B]
    5 Honda Civic 111[/B]
    6 Volkswagen GTI 112
    7 Toyota Corolla 115
    8 Nissan Versa 118
    9 Subaru Impreza 122
    10 Kia Spectra 126
    11 Hyundai Elantra 127
    12 Chevrolet Cobalt 130
    13 Suzuki Reno 133
    14 Nissan Sentra 135
    15 Suzuki Forenza 136
    16 Mazda 3 138
    17 Nissan Versa 139
    18 Honda Civic_Si 143[/B]
    19 Suzuki SX4 151
    20 Nissan Sentra_SE-R 203
    21 Subaru Impreza 224
    22 Mitsubishi Lancer 241
    So on one side, we have a report by a private company and the other, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting something else. Funny how that works out.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  6. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    This is the comment I left with WSJ:
     
  7. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Wow, Bob! Thanks for clearing that up with government data. That's the new kind of attack on hybrids.
     
  8. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Well if a household has two vehicles and they replace one with a hybrid, chances are, they're gonna use the hybrid more, right? So why is that surprising?
     
  9. Evilshin

    Evilshin Member

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    Oh C'mon, it's all those street racers that have been using Prii... :p

    Step 1) Replace rear axle with two 50hp electric motors.

    Step 2) Add 5 kW-hr in NiCad batteries to rear cargo area, cool with PCBs.

    Step 3) Win Race.

    Step 4) Sell opponent's Subaru and buy more NiCads... ;)
     
  10. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    There is one interesting data point from this group:
    What is the distribution of traffic tickets? Are they parking or are they moving violations? Are hybrids getting HOV tickets because the driver didn't realize they needed a special HOV sticker, not just driving a hybrid?

    BTW, based upon the Prius sales, a rate of 0.38 violations perf 100,000 miles would result in about 37,500 tickets per year ... Hummmm, sounds like the basis of a poll, don't you know. <GRIN>

    Bob Wilson
     
  11. Mike Dimmick

    Mike Dimmick Active Member

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    In the UK, the Gen 2 Prius is rated at group 7 out of 20, apart from the top-spec T Spirit model with Nav, Bluetooth, IPA etc, which is group 8. On the new range, all cars are group 7E, which is saying that it would be group 8, but the security is higher than the standard for that group so it's been reduced by one. Lower numbers mean cheaper insurance.

    The group does at least partially reflect the purchase (and therefore replacement) cost of the vehicle. The Auris (hatchback Corolla) is anywhere from group 4 to group 7 in the normal range, then there are SR180 and T180 'hot hatch' models equipped with ~180hp 2.2L diesel engines, which are in group 12 and 13 respectively.

    The competition (Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia) have at least some models in group 7, but the 2.0L models are generally in group 8. Honda's current Civic seems to have a hole in the range - 1.4L engines are group 4 or 5, then there's a big jump to 1.8L in group 9, 10 or 11 depending on trim (source). Our Civic hatch is quite a bit smaller than the saloon model that the HCH is based on - that is in group 7.
     
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  12. Evilshin

    Evilshin Member

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    From a very cynical point of view: How many insurance companies have their fingers deep in oil? In the old days, insurance companies take your money, bank it and payout when they have to... Now a days, they take your money and put it in some form a direct investment. (ie. equities.) How much of that is in oil companies? :eek:
     
  13. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    With the economic slow-down, there has been a slacking of oil demand and fewer miles driven ... at least for the non-Prius folks. It is likely a lot of gas cars have been retired and taken off of the insurance roles ... saving the owner's insurance premiums. Although we don't need to go into it much, someone who just has unemployment to live on may find the insurance premium ... a budget item of marginal value. Also, there may be a desire by some to sustain their industry by the "gloriously wealthy and not too bright hybrid owners" who seem to be making regular premiums and adding cars. ... Pure, paranoid speculation, of course. ... Couldn't happen and I'm not Richard Belzer (plays detective munch in Law and Order.)

    Bob Wilson

    ps. Anyone seen my foil hat around here?:peep:
     
  14. DFWPrius2009

    DFWPrius2009 New Member

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    That's odd. Our new 2009 Prius is $7 a month cheaper to insure than the Corolla it replaced....
     
  15. jburns

    jburns Senior Senior Member

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    OK that settles it. We need leather jackets and bandannas made available in the Priuschat shop. Time for the Prius Posse to roll!!!!!
     
  16. Evilshin

    Evilshin Member

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    Are you sure that isn't just you getting old? ;)

    Seriously, my insurance company for our company van (a chevy lumina) wanted about twice for the prius compared to the lumina. The company that I now insure the prius with wants about 1.5 times more to insure the lumina...

    It's all a matter of which insurance company. Without a track record, an insurance company just guesses on much of the math...
     
  17. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    They mentioned hybrid drivers doing more "pleasure" driving and I'm reminded:

    • lower noise
    • less vibration
    • reliable
    • safe
    • excellent A/C and heating
    • comfortable seats (for those who like them)
    • plenty of space for 'stuff'
    • excellent cruise control mileage
    I would call this pleasurable driving but "Quality" may have a point.

    To end "pleasure" driving, we need to have all cars revert to the past practices of the Big-3 that led to their loss of market share:

    • noisy
    • vibration
    • unreliable
    • safe
    • poor A/C and heating
    • uncomfortable seats (remember having to take stretch breaks)
    • poor use of space with awkward or limited access
    • mileage was always bad
    Perhaps we need to offer to make the "Quality" vehicles 'uncomfortable' so they too will stop "pleasure" driving. Yes, it is time to make their vehicles into human endurance test cells and having many years of Model A Ford driving, I know exactly what is needed. <GRINS>

    All seriousness aside, I found this quote in their mission statement:
    These folks are critics of Insurance companies and near as I can tell, do not underwrite or offer insurance policies. They are a 'gadfly' tilting at those in the business. So part of their business model requires they prove the 'in house guys are wrong' and this report is just another marketing ploy not backed up by publicly available empirical data.

    Bob Wilson
     
  18. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    This "study" looks like another "Hummer greener than Prius" article in disguise. However sadly, it's making its way into the auto blogosphere, as one might expect.
     
  19. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    I noticed but some of them just reprint trash and have no clue. If any of my regular sources: GreenCarCongress, Consumer Reports, or Cars.Com echos the story, I'll put in the facts and data. But I don't see any value in dealing with Edmunds and the other anti-hybrid crowd.

    This may seem mean and cruel but some people deserve what they pay for. <WINK>

    Bob Wilson
     
  20. Tech_Guy

    Tech_Guy Class Clown

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    Where can I get the gun rack option ?

    Keith :)
     
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