Is Ford’s safety rating for large trucks better than Chevy’s?

Ford's and Chevy's large trucks have about the same safety ratings. Expect to pay $110 a month for the Ford F-150 and $123 a month for the Chevy Silverado.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • There are multiple reasons why you should investigate a truck’s safety rating before buying a new pickup
  • When it comes to safety ratings, insurance actuaries rely heavily on ratings compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, IIHS
  • A truck’s IIHS safety rating can significantly affect the cost of insurance


If you are in the market for a new truck, there is more to consider than style, features, and popularity. A truck’s safety rating should also weigh heavily on your final decision.

At the moment you are comparing Ford’s large truck safety ratings against Chevy’s, but do you truly understand how significant a safety rating is when making your own final choice?

You might even be wondering why one truck within a given category costs more to insure than others with similar features. No matter which truck you chose, make sure to use our free quote tool above! 

The answer to these questions begins with an understanding of how safety ratings are compiled, and by looking at how insurance actuaries use this information.

Did you ever stop to think of how factors such as:

  • Torrential rain
  • Snowstorms
  • Newly licensed drivers
  • Rough terrain

And other situations can lead to accidents, some of which can be quite serious?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, IIHS, along with the Highway Loss Data Institute, HLDI, take all of these factors into consideration when rating the safety of any given vehicle and when comparing makes and models within any given year.

Why You Should Rely on IIHS Safety Ratings

Altogether too often buyers look at trends in vehicles when in the market for a new large truck, and they might even glance at the safety ratings on lists like the early forecast for Best Trucks in 2017 compiled by US News. That would actually be a grave error in judgment on more than one level.

It is true that truck and auto magazines may look at IIHS rankings, however, safety always seems to take a back seat to style and trending features.

Since you are questioning if Ford’s safety rating for large trucks is better than Chevy’s, pay close attention to the criteria used in any list of top picks.

If you compare the US News Best Picks for 2017 with rankings from a nonprofit insurance institute, for example, you may find some commonalities. However, you will also notice there is a huge difference in factors leading to their respective rankings.

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Why Safety Is of Ultimate Importance to the IIHS and HDLI

Each of these nonprofit organizations is tasked with providing vehicle safety guidelines.

The HDLI undergoes a scientific evaluation of a given vehicle’s safety, after which the IIHS releases a list of those cars or trucks that ranked highly.

Insurance actuaries around the country rely heavily on these safety ratings because a vehicle’s safety rating is directly proportionate to the amount of risk an insurance underwriter carries.

In other words, safe trucks are less likely to be involved in accidents than trucks with known issues.

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How the IIHS/HDLI Rate the Safety of Vehicles

If you are looking for affordable insurance, it pays to understand how vehicles are rated for safety. Remember, the cost of insurance is impacted by a vehicle’s safety rating, so this can be a deciding factor.

Of course, you want to ensure the safety of the driver and passengers, but you also want to keep the cost of insurance as reasonable as possible.

When measuring the safety of trucks, 3 main categories are assessed. These include:

  1. Crashworthiness – How well a vehicle can withstand the impact of a crash
  2. Crash Avoidance and Mitigation – Design and technology for safe handling to avoid crashes
  3. LATCH – An acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children

Crashworthiness and LATCH categories are rated as being:

  • Good
  • Acceptable
  • Marginal
  • Poor

Alternately, Front Crash Avoidance and Mitigation will be rated as Superior, Basic or Not Available. It is important to understand these ratings so that you can make a well-informed decision when choosing one truck over another in terms of safety.

Obviously, the ultimate goal is to advise the general public on which vehicles are considered safest.

However, insurance companies also want to avoid paying unnecessary claims resulting from driving an unsafe vehicle. This is how they stay in business and can continue underwriting policies for consumers.

Are Chevy trucks better than Ford?

It could very well be that you are interested in an extended cab pickup but haven’t yet decided between the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado 1500.

Perhaps the IIHS Safety Ratings for 2017 will impact your decision. According to their criteria, the F-150 is 2 places higher on the list. Ford’s F-150 Extended Cab model comes in 3rd with Chevy’s Silverado 1500 listed in 5th place.

A look at key criteria reveals that both the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet 1500 rank “good”across the board in the Crashworthiness category, with both doing poorly on Crash Avoidance,and only “marginal” in the LATCH tests.

If you look at positions on the list, Ford large trucks fared much better. Two trucks, the F-150 Crew Cab and F-150 Extended Cab came in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Chevy’s Silverado Extended Cab held 5th place in safety rankings but still within the top 5 on the list. Chevy’s other model making the top 10 is the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab.

Can you see how a slight variation in body type, such as the difference between an extended and crew cab, can impact a vehicle’s safety rating?

In all, Ford would be the better option, given the fact that the F-150 held 2 of the top 5 in large truck safety. Even so, Chevy is still a tough competitor with 2 on the top 10 list.

Note that Ford’s ratings only apply to Super Cab models while Chevy’s ratings apply only to Double Cab models.

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Finding a Healthy Balance between Trend and Safety

While Ford was ranked higher than Chevy in the large truck category, Chevy held its own. With both companies faring better than companies like Toyota, Nissan, and Dodge, it’s simply a matter of choosing which manufacturer you have a personal preference for.

Sometimes fashionable trends can be the deciding factor when safety ratings are comparable.

Just remember that safety should always take the lead when choosing between Ford and Chevy large trucks because your life and the life of your passengers are of ultimate importance.

Is Ford’s safety rating for large trucks better than Chevy’s? Unfortunately, it really is too close to call! No matter which truck you choose, compare coverage with your free tool below! 

References:

  1. https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/best-2017-trucks
  2. https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/v/class-summary/large-pickups
  3. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/02/child-seats-latch-for-safety/index.htm
  4. https://www.nap.edu/read/9698/chapter/4
  5. https://www.autotrader.com/car-tips/buying-a-truck-crew-cab-extended-cab-or-regular-cab-217880

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