Who is making our car insurance so high?

I think you’d be very surprised by some of the stats that have come out of a recent study into Auto Insurance and what vehicles get pulled over more than others.

In the press release below you can see that middle aged WOMEN driving Mercedes Benz SL-Class were the biggest violators… by over 400%!

Also, interestingly enough, you don’t see BMW on the list anywhere. Which is odd, because I almost always see a BMW driver going way over the limit when I’m out and about… does this mean they just never get caught?

Also, the fact that all of the top three “Spirited” driven vehicles were mostly driven by women. I guess the movies were wrong when I learned that mostly men are the speeders on the roads.

The stats on the slowest drivers are pretty obvious. Buick SUVs and minivans round out the bottom 10 with safety ratings going through the roof. After all it only makes sense that the drivers who buy super safe vehicles would drive the same way.

What can we learn from this study?

Well, mainly it would seem that the drivers with “Baby on board” in their back window actually do drive more cautiously… and that annoying driver in that annoyingly bright yellow hummer is probably going to be paying through the nose with higher insurance, higher gas bills, and of course a regular ticket to pay off every 6 months.

What do you think about this study? Let us know in the comments below.

Auto Insurance Analysis: Does What We Drive Affect How We Drive?

In its second annual study of vehicle types, their driver profiles, and the frequency of traffic violations, auto insurance analytics firm Quality Planning debunks conventional wisdom that high-performance cars attract the most tickets.

SAN FRANCISCO, October 12, 2010: Quality Planning (QPC), a Verisk Analytics company that validates policyholder information for auto insurers, has released updated findings from its original study, published in 2009, that explored the relationship between the cars people drive and how people drive them. Newly expanded to include available statistics, the study examines various vehicle makes and models and quantifies the propensity of each to be ticketed by law enforcement based on the number of moving violations per 100,000 miles driven.

Quality Planning found that the origins of vehicles in the “Spirited Vehicles” category were predominantly those of foreign manufacturers but not necessarily of German or Italian heritage. Drivers of the Mercedes- Benz SL-Class roadster topped the list, with four times the number of violations compared with the average.

But, not surprisingly, the car Toyota designed expressly for Gen ‘Y’ers, the Scion, had not one but two entries in the top ten. The big Hummers and the Pontiac Grand Prix rounded out this category. Consistent with the findings of last year’s study, SUVs and hatchbacks showed lower violations on average than traditional two- and four-door vehicles.

Table 1: “Spirited Vehicles” (vehicles with highest percentage of violations)

Make Model, Body Style, Violations*, Average Age, % Male
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, Convertible, 404%, 53, 41%
Toyota Camry-Solara, Coupe, 349%, 50, 39%
Scion TC, Coupe, 343%, 30, 39%,
Hummer H2/H3, SUV, 292%, 46, 73%
Scion XB, Hatchback, 270%, 37, 40%
Mercedes-Benz CLS-63 AMG, Sedan, 264%, 46, 58%
Acura Integra, Coupe, 185%, 33, 60%
Pontiac Grand Prix, Sedan, 182%, 40, 41%
Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG, Sedan, 179%, 47, 44%
Volkswagen GTI, Hatchback, 178%, 40, 44%

Violations/100,000 miles driven, expressed as percentage of average.

For a complete list, see below.

Looking at the gender breakdown, 73 percent of Hummers tended to be driven by men, generally between 30 and 60 years old. Also of interest, only the Mercedes CLS sedan and the Acura Integra coupe were more likely to be driven by men than women. Conversely, Camry-Solara drivers were 61 percent female, with only 26 percent younger than 30.

Those vehicles that Quality Planning classified as “Cautious Vehicles” offered an interesting contrast. With respect to body type, eight of the top ten were either an SUV or minivan. This suggests that carrying passengers, and possibly younger passengers in car seats, makes a noticeable difference in how one drives.

Interestingly, 60 percent of SUV drivers in this category were women, whereas for minivans, 51 percent of these drivers were women. In two instances – the Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan and the Buick LaCrosse SUV – the drivers were split 50/50 across gender but differed dramatically in age, with Buick showing 81 percent of ticketed drivers over 60 years old compared with just 8 percent of Silhouette drivers.

Table 2: “Cautious Vehicles” (vehicles with lowest percentage of violations)
Make Model, Body Style, Violations*, Average Age, % Male
Buick Rainier, SUV, 23%, 61, 71%
Mazda Tribute, SUV, 26%, 36, 29%
Chevrolet C/K- 3500/2500, Pickup, 26%, 40, 86%
Kia Spectra, Sedan, 27%, 40, 44%
Buick Lacrosse, SUV, 32%, 65, 50%
Saturn Aura Hybrid, Sedan, 37%, 59, 14%
Oldsmobile Silhouette, Minivan, 37%, 41, 50%
Chevrolet Uplander, Minivan, 38%, 40, 54%
Hyundai Tucson, SUV, 38%, 47, 40%
Pontiac Vibe, SUV, 39%, 41, 32%

*Violations/100,000 miles driven, expressed as percentage of average.

For a complete list, see below.

“These findings and the corresponding trends they reveal are very interesting,” said Bob U’Ren, senior vice president of Quality Planning. “Besides the sociological aspect of ‘who drives what,’ the manner in which private passenger cars and trucks are driven has a meaningful bearing on how much individuals and families pay for auto insurance.”

Study Methodology

Traffic code violations data for a one-year period from February 2009 through February 2010 were used for the study. Vehicles that were discontinued for more than ten years were not included in the analysis.

Violations were then standardized based on the number of violations per 100,000 miles driven for each model. That standardization accounts for the differences in average annual miles driven by different models. Then, each vehicle model’s violation count per 100,000 miles was compared with the average across all the models to identify the 25 models with the highest and lowest violations.

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