Unsafe at any screed
Last month I was chatting in the church parking lot with friends when a Prius pulled out. The bumper was bare. On person in the group asked "What gives? I thought those things came from the Toyota factory with an Obama bumper sticker."
The surprising result: Hybrid drivers typically drive farther, get more tickets, and have significantly more expensive insurance claims.
The firm looked at several common use categories used by insurers-including "pleasure use" (everyday driving) and "high commute" (commuting more than 15 miles a day). The long commuters traveled about the same distance whether they drove a hybrid or not, but the everyday drivers of hybrids drove about 25 percent (2,000 miles) farther than those of non-hybrids-largely offsetting any petroleum savings.
Looking at moving violations, Quality Planning found that Toyota Prius drivers get 0.38 violations per 100,000 miles driven, compared to an average of 0.23. Collision loss costs are also much higher for hybrids-with comprehensive coverage loss about 17 percent higher than average. Furthermore, two-the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid-have among the highest collision loss costs. For 2006 hybrid models, the costs to the insurer of comprehensive coverage were 75 percent higher than average.
"High mileage drivers appear to be attracted to these vehicles, so insurers should take steps to verify the intended use of hybrids and validate actual miles driven whenever possible," said Dr. Raj Bhat, the president of Quality Planning......."A 25-percent increase in miles driven or a 30-percent differential in loss costs is very significant," said Bhat.