SUV Bumpers vs. Standard Bumpers - The Results are Damaging

By Insurance.com Posted : 07/12/2006

Everywhere you drive these days you see more SUVs. People are buying these vehicles for their sleek style, ability to haul just about anything and the luxury of having an elevated perspective of the road - the last of which can potentially cost SUV drivers and other vehicle owners dearly, in the event of a rear-end collision.

Bumper standards for some and not for others
By federal standards, car bumpers are required to lie within a 16-to 20-inch range from the ground up. This regulation helps ensure that when two cars collide at a reduced speed, the bumpers will touch, helping to absorb the impact and prevent damage. However, there are no such requirements set for SUVs, which is why these vehicles often come with flimsier bumpers or possibly no bumpers at all - leaving all parties susceptible to costly repair bills.

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted a study involving five pairs of vehicles with distinct differences in bumper heights. Each pair consisted of a car and a midsized SUV from the same manufacturer. The contenders included the Ford Taurus vs. the Explorer, the Chevrolet Malibu vs. the Trail Blazer, the Dodge Stratus vs. the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Nissan Altima vs. the Murano and the Volvo S40 vs. XC90.

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During this test, the IIHS drove the car at 10 mph in to the back of the SUV and then drove the SUV in to the back of the car. The results were surprisingly costly, ranging from $1,250 to more than $6,000 in damages. Some of the SUV and car bumpers bypassed each other all together, creating tremendous damage to the vehicle, including leaks, broken radiators, smashed hoods and other damage that could potentially make the vehicle un-drivable. "In instances where there was an underride or override between the car and SUV bumpers, we saw damage much more expensive to repair than most people would associate with a 10 mph impact." stated an IIHS executive.

Almost a perfect match
Out of all the various models and manufacturers, Ford had the least repair costs. This was because the bumpers on the two Fords matched up better than any of the other manufacturer's bumpers. There was virtually no damage to either vehicle as a result of the Explorer-into-the-Taurus collision.

SUV vs. SUV
Mismatched bumpers are a problem even in accidents involving multiple SUVs, and the damage is just as costly. For instance, in an IIHS test involving two Toyota RAV4's, this smaller sized SUV did more damage upon impact than any of the car-into-SUV or SUV-into-car test crashes.

An IIHS executive noted that, "when the RAV4 struck the other SUV, it didn't engage the rear bumper because the RAV4 doesn't have a rear bumper. Instead, the striking SUV hit the spare tire mounted on the RAV4's tailgate. This spare tire was the 'antibumper', but it didn't absorb any energy and it didn't prevent any damage. In fact, it caused most of the damage to both vehicles. The spare tire damaged the hood and grille of the striking SUV and crushed the tailgate of the struck RAV4."

Auto Insurance Deductible
When purchasing an SUV, you will want to be especially aware of your auto insurance deductible. Depending on what your deductible is, you might end up paying the majority of the repair costs - which can potentially add up to a substantial amount of money!

If you are interested in lowering your insurance deductible logon to Insurance.com's auto comparison module. Here you will be able to evaluate the rates and deductibles of up to 12 insurance providers, helping you find the best insurance rate for you and your budget.

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