How Safe is Your Car? Insurance Institute Crash Ratings!

What do you consider when buying a new or new-to-you car?  Is it style, comfort, or enough room to run the kids to school or soccer practice with their friends?  What about color and features?  Maybe it’s pickup, handling, and how it feels when jumping on LBJ when there’s no one there?  Whatever it is that moves you toward a particular vehicle, have you considered the safety of the vehicle you’re considering and its crash rating?

Most people typically don’t think about being in an accident.  Based on the conversations I have with clients and prospects, I believe most people think it won’t happen to them.  However, if you live in the Dallas area you have the likelihood of being in an accident about once every 7 years.  Including a car’s crash rating along with your other criteria only makes good sense for Dallas drivers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released their list of Top + and Top Safety picks for 2014.  Thirty nine vehicles earned top safety honors from IIHS.  In order to be picked, the vehicles had to earn at least a “good” in the following four safety tests:

  • Moderate front overlap
  • Side impact
  • Roof strength
  • Head restraint

In addition, the vehicle had to earn an “acceptable” rating in the small front overlap crash test.  The IIHS began testing vehicles with this crash test in 2012 to see how vehicles would perform in an accident similar to hitting a tree, telephone pole, or if clipping a car.

These combine to test how well a car protects its occupants in a crash with varying degrees of frontal impact, side impact (when it gets “T’d”), and rear ended.  In order to qualify for a Top +, the vehicle also had to score an acceptable rating in the small front overlap test and be equipped with a front crash avoidance system that would signal the driver of an impending front crash.  If the driver didn’t respond to the warning, it automatically applies the brakes to avoid hitting a stopped or slower moving vehicle.

The vehicles that earned Top + honors include:

Honda   Civic 4-door Mazda   3 built after 10/13 Toyota   Prius built after 11/13
Ford   Fusion Honda   Accord 2-door Honda   Accord 4-door
Mazda   6 Subaru   Legacy Subaru   Outback
Infiniti   Q50 Lincoln   MKZ Volvo   S60
Acura   RLX Volvo   S80 Mazda   CX-5 built after 10/13
Mitsubishi   Outlander Subaru   Forester Toyota   Highlander
Mercedes   Benz M Class built after 8/13 Volvo   XC60 Honda   Odyssey
Acura   MDX


In order to be honored with a Top + rating, if the crash avoidance system is optional, it would need to have the included.

The vehicles that earned Top Safety Pick rating include:

Chevrolet   Spark Dodge   Dart Ford   Focus
Honda   Civic 2-door Hyundai   Elantra Scion   tC
Subaru   Impreza Subaru   XV Crosstrek Chrysler   200 4-door
Dodge   Avenger Kia   Optima Nissan   Altima
Toyota   Camry built after 12/13 Volkswagen   Passat Acura   TL
Mitsubishi   Outlander Sport Volvo   XC90


The best accident is not being in an accident, however, that’s not always possible to avoid.  When an accident can’t be avoided, being in a safe car with a Top + or Top safety rating that protects you and your occupants is a great decision!  For more information on the testing the IIHS conducts, visit their website at

What do you drive and what went into picking it?  Share your story, thoughts, and questions with me in the comments section of our blog or on our Google + and Facebook pages.  I’d love to hear from you.

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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