CAR INSURANCE

Cars with the worst safety records

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Porsche drivers could be three times more likely to be involved in an accident on the road than Daewoo drivers, research suggests.

Recent research by British comparison service Tiger has revealed that the overall accident rate for Porsches is 23.6 percent, while only 7.3 percent of Daewoos are involved in accidents.

Dispelling the myth of being the choice of older, more cautious motorists, Volvo drivers had the second worst accident record, the survey found – their overall accident rate was 21.4 percent.

Rounding off the top five, Lexus had the next poorest record with an overall accident rate of 21.1 percent ahead of Jaguar, with a rate of 20.4 percent, and Mercedes-Benz with an accident rate of 16.8 percent.

In a separate Australian survey conducted in 2005, insurer GIO looked at 46,000 claims and found that drivers of luxury European cars were more likely to have been involved in a crash than those driving cheaper cars. At the time, GIO found Audi and Land Rover drivers were the worst of the lot, topping the list of those who had the most single car collisions (running into stationary objects such as trees, or poles) and for those involved in at-fault-vehicle accidents. The remainder of the top five was made up of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru drivers.

Soames Job, executive director of the National Road Safety Council, told Fairfax that the over-representation of luxury cars in accidents might be accounted for partly by the fact the owners of these cars are more likely to have car insurance and to make a claim.

"However, when it comes to the vehicles themselves, most accelerate at a very high rate with a minimum of road noise," Dr Job said. He questions the need for vehicles capable of reaching speeds in excess of 200km/h when the maximum limit in most Australian states is 110km/h.

Ian Luff, principal of Drive to Survive, a defensive driving school, said often drivers of luxury vehicles forget to concentrate on actually driving.

"I was once teaching a very prominent Sydney businessman in his Bentley and he got a bad phone call from his broker and had to rush away. You can be sure he wasn't thinking about the road," he said.

By definition, car accidents are an often unintentional and unexpected part of life. They can be potentially quite harrowing for some people too. On its website Buzz Insurance offers this advice for drivers involved in an accident:

  • Don't admit you're at fault; leave that decision to the insurance adjuster. They will ultimately make that call based on the pre-determined criteria in the Insurance Act. However, it's important to not to lie when providing your statement or making a report the police or insurance company.
  • Before taking your car to a post-accident repair centre, or authorising any major repairs to your vehicle, contact your insurance provider. Your provider may have arrangements with specific vehicle repairers in your area that will ensure you have a guarantee on your repairs.
  • Finally, always report the accident to your insurance provider. It isn’t necessarily the case that reporting an accident will impact your rating or premiums.