he Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offers consumers valuable data about current automobiles. By compiling and analyzing claims information, the data help drivers choose the safest vehicle available when considering what car to purchase.
The most recent issue of the IIHS Status Report, published on Sept. 20, contains a table of personal injury protection (PIP) claims for cars manufactured between 2009 and 2011. It also ranks the 10 most dangerous cars on the road by that metric.
The data show that smaller cars were involved in accidents with the most frequency. This is partially a matter of physics, since a small car is more likely than a large car to sustain damage in the event of a collision. But according to Matt Moore, vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute, a driver’s income, location, and rate of use can also come into play.
“Smaller vehicles are more likely to be in urban areas, and smaller vehicles are likely to be driven more frequently because they’re owned by a single person in a given household,” he said in an interview. “Large cars tend to be owned by drivers who have two or three cars garaged, or more cars than people per household.”
Since a small car is more likely to be driven by a person who is the sole owner, it tends to get driven every day, he said. This increases its odds of being involved in an accident, where a car that’s driven only once a week is exposed to less risk.
Read ahead to see the 10 unluckiest cars in the U.S., according to the IIHS Status Report. All vehicles are 2009-2011 models, and all claim frequencies cited are per 1,000 insured vehicle years. By Daniel Bukszpan