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The 10 vehicles that cause the most property damage

The largest versions of the 2013 Ford F-250 are 22 feet long, taller than the average man and weigh north of three tons.They need a wide berth. You should give it to them.

Workhorse pickup trucks like the F-250, full-size vans and large SUVs rack up the biggest damage claims and carry the biggest liability insurance bills of the 750-plus 2013 model-year vehicles examined by Insure.com.

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The rates charged for the property-damage liability portion of your auto insurance policy are generally a reflection of claims made againstowners of the same vehicle. Property-damage liability is the coverage that pays out when you are at fault and damage the property of someone else.

These vehicles carry the biggest liability bills, and thus are likely to inflict the most property damage:

1

Ford F-250

pickup

2

Ford F-350

pickup

3

GMC Savana G3500

van

4

GMC Sierra 2500

pickup

5

Dodge Ram 1500

pickup

6

Cadillac Escalade

SUV

7

Nissan Armada

SUV

8

Ford E-150

van

9

Infiniti QX56

SUV

10

Nissan Titan

pickup

Their front ends are to blame.

These vehicles have large sales of four-wheel-drive versions, where there's a fundamental mismatch between their bumper systems and the bumpers of passenger cars.

Kim Hazelbaker, senior vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute, says these vehicles are more prone to damaging other cars than smaller passenger cars are.

These pickups and SUVs are not subject to bumper-height regulations on passenger cars that are mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Physics will win out. These are heavier vehicles," Hazelbaker says. And "you have a heavy vehicle bumper system contacting what's essentially sheet metal in a passenger car, and that ends up in a claim for sheet metal damage."

The average property-damage liability claim is $2,800, says Hazelbaker, "If it's the front of the vehicle [impacted], you're talking about damaging and having to pay for some pretty expensive headlights."

2013 Ford F-250
The 2013 Ford F-250: Highest property-damage liability rates

"But the vehicles on this list double that figure," Hazelbaker says. "People will pay about twice as much as average in the property-damage liability premium for the pleasure of driving these vehicles. I wonder how many folks look at the various components of the bill and say, 'Why am I paying so much more for my big, heavy truck than my midsize passenger car?' The reason is insurers look at this data."

Least damaging to property

You might expect some tiny car like the Smart ForTwo to rank lowest for property-damage liability rates. But the unexpected last-place winner is the 430-horsepower Chevrolet Corvette.

A glimpse into the profile of the "typical" Corvette buyer gives clues to its low ranking.

Market research firm Strategic Vision notes that Corvette buyers are overwhelmingly male (89 percent), mostly married (70 percent) and an even mix of college grads and non grads (50-50). Significantly, the median age of a Corvette owner is 62, the median total family pre-tax income is $116,657 and their political persuasion is Republican (61 percent).

These data points reveal the typical Corvette driver as older, settled and conservative, with the kind of household income that doesn't correlate well with overall poor decision making - like driving really fast and crashing a lot.

A look at their interests confirms this profile. Corvette buyers say they are interested in "conversations with friends" (71 percent), fine restaurants and dining (68 percent), running, jogging and/or walking (59 percent) and family gatherings (54 percent).

While their interests seem low-key, they nevertheless want a little attention when they go out: 70 percent agree with the statement "I want my vehicle to stand out in a crowd."

Let's hope they don't start loaning out their Corvettes to their teenage grandsons - all the resulting claims would surely ruin their sweet liability rates.

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