Report: Aluminum Ford F-150 Collisions Cheaper to Repair Than Steel Predecessor

2018 Ford F-150 Exterior
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By Brian Normile

There were fears when Ford made the switch from steel to aluminum on the 2015 Ford F-150 that the lighter but more fragile and expensive aluminum would result in higher costs for consumers. According to Automotive News, citing a recent study by the Highway Loss Data Institute, insurance collision claims for aluminum-bodied F-150s are about 7 percent less than the previous steel-bodied generation. However, that claim frequency is approximately 7 percent higher, leaving overall insurance losses for the latest F-150 unchanged from its predecessor.

Related: New F-150 Costs L-E-S-S to Repair

To clarify: HLDI's data is completely separate from insurance premium costs. Insurance premiums are determined by a variety of factors beyond simply whether or not the F-150 you're trying to insure has a steel body or an aluminum one. This study deals solely with insurance claim frequency and their resulting costs, creating insurance loss data that can educate shoppers on which vehicles are likely to be more or less expensive to insure. That also excludes any repair claims completed without involving an insurance company, because why would there be data about that?

How has Ford managed to keep the costs lower?

The Highway Loss Data Institute reports that the overall parts cost for 2015-16 F-150s is 16 percent less than a 2014 F-150; things like hoods, taillights and front bumpers cost less, although bedsides and rear bumpers cost more. Ford wouldn't comment to Auto News regarding parts cost but did praise the more modular design of the latest F-150, which allows for increased ease of repair.

Other theories about contributing factors include rebates Ford provided to dealers for new tools and training, and increased training for insurance claims adjusters regarding the new trucks. Ultimately, your insurance premium and claims costs will vary depending on several factors, but if you own an aluminum F-150 it seems somewhat unlikely to directly lead to higher costs.

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