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Vehicle safety, claims sizes a key factor in auto insurance rates

Posted On Thu, August 20, 2009

With vehicle safety a factor that can determine one's auto insurance rates, drivers may be interested to learn that some micro and minicars are considered to be safer than others.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Smart Fortwo car turns out to have the strongest roof when it comes to surviving rollover crashes and minimizing crashes. The Chevrolet Aveo was said to have the weakest roof. Both are 2009 models.

Other smaller models said to be earning acceptable ratings in roof safety include the Mini Cooper, the Hyundai Accent, the Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris. Still, other studies have found the smallest cars to have limited safety in high speed crashes with larger vehicles.

"Small cars should have an easier time with the roof strength test. Their light weight means their roofs don't have to work as hard to keep the structure around the occupants intact in a rollover," said IIHS president Adrian Lund.

The institute reports that about 10,000 motorists die each year in rollovers, often because the vehicles tend to have crushed roofs during such accidents. People who fail to wear seatbelts are also said to be in greater danger of being ejected from the vehicle and suffering even more serious injuries than they would otherwise.

Lower accident claims and less serious injuries can mean savings for auto insurance customers.

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