Is GMC’s safety rating for large trucks better than Nissan’s?

Neither the GMC nor the Nissan large trucks got good safety ratings. Insurance for the GMC Sierra is $133 a month, compared to $122 a month for the Nissan Titan.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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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...

  • The 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 trucks and Nissan Titan trucks are well-equipped, but they fall short in safety ratings in some ways
  • One of the criteria that auto insurance companies review before issuing insurance premium quotes is safety ratings
  • The Top Safety Pick for 2017 from the IIHS is the Honda Ridgeline

It is easy to feel safe and secure riding in a large truck, but even the largest vehicles on the road can be in accidents from time to time.

Many accidents are caused by bad road conditions or unsafe weather conditions, but they can also be caused by reckless or distracted driving, inexperienced drivers, and other factors.

When you are looking for a new truck to purchase, analyzing the safety ratings issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Data Loss Institute is a smart idea.

Many truck buyers are drawn to the 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 models as well as to the Nissan Titan truck. These are both well-made, durable trucks that have excellent comfort and convenience features.

However, before you finalize your plans to buy a specific type of truck, you need to be aware of safety ratings. More than that, you need to analyze auto insurance costs for the trucks that are at the top of your list of options.

Compare car insurance quotes today to see what the safety features on the truck you’re considering could save you. Enter your ZIP code above to get started.

What truck has the best crash rating?

You may be inclined to think that most trucks on the market today have similar safety ratings, but this is actually not the case.

In fact, some trucks rank at the “poor” level in several key safety categories, and at least one truck model ranks in the “good” level for most of the safety categories.

With a closer look at the safety ratings issued by the IIHS, you can better determine how to proceed with your truck buying plans.

The IIHS analyzed a dozen vehicles in the large truck category, and this includes the Nissan Titan as well as the GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab and the GMC Sierra 1500 double cab.

These three vehicles that you may be thinking about buying had mixed ratings in the eight safety categories analyzed by the IIHS.

Because safety ratings will affect your auto insurance cost for the entire time that you own the truck, you must understand the safety ratings.

Remember that even the safest drivers with a stellar driving record could receive higher premium quotes if they are driving a truck that has mediocre or poor safety ratings.

These eight categories are placed in three main IIHS groups.

  • crashworthiness
  • crash avoidance and mitigation


Crashworthiness is a group with five categories; each subcategory tells us how well a vehicle can protect its occupants from harm in a collision scenario.

The Sierra 1500 had an “average” rating for Headlights and Front Small Overlap, and it ranked at the “good” level for all other safety categories in this group, including:

  • Side
  • Head Restraints and Seats
  • Roof Strength
  • Front Moderate Overlap
  • Front Small Overlap

The Sierra crew cab a “marginal” rating Front Small Overlap, and a “good” rating for the other categories. The Titan Front Small Overlap rating was “marginal,” and all of the other safety categories in this group had a “good” rating.

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

The Crash Avoidance and Mitigation group has two categories, and these indicate the vehicle’s ability to avoid or reduce accidents.

The GMC Sierra 1500 double cab and crew cab both had a “basic” rating for Front Crash Test Prevention and an “average” rating for Headlights. The Nissan Titan was not reviewed for the Front Crash Test Prevention category, and it had a “poor” Headlights rating.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

LATCH is a category that stands independently, and it indicates how easy the child seat anchors are.

The GMC Sierra 1500 double cab had a “marginal” rating for the LATCH safety feature, and the crew cab had a “poor” LATCH rating. The Nissan Titan had an “average” rating for the LATCH feature.

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2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+

Unfortunately, the two GMC Sierra models and the Nissan Titan were not honored by the IIHS with the Top Safety Pick award. Only one truck model received this coveted honor in 2017, and that model is the Honda Ridgeline.

The 2017 Ridgeline had a “good” rating in all areas except the LATCH safety category, and it received an “average” rating for this category. In addition, the Ridgeline was the only vehicle in this class of trucks to receive a “superior” rating for the Front Crash Test Prevention category.

How to Decide between the Nissan Titan and the GMC Sierra Models

While some truck buyers are drawn to the Ridgeline because of its stellar safety rating by the IIHS, others are still trying to decide between the Titan and GMC models. These models are popular in the market today in large part because of their commanding presence on the road.

Because these three models have similar safety ratings in most areas, you may consider expanding your comparison of the trucks to include an analysis of price, features, and fuel economy.

Taking a test drive at your local dealership is also a wonderful idea to consider so that you can compare the overall driving experience of each truck model first-hand.

The safety features in the truck, the power of the truck’s engine, and other vehicle-related factors can affect your auto insurance premium. In some cases, the difference in insurance cost between seemingly similar models can be tremendous.

Your truck insurance premium is a regular aspect of your budget for the entire time you own the vehicle.

Take your time to explore safety ratings, premiums, and free insurance quotes before buying. In a short amount of time, you can weigh all your options and get the best deal on the perfect car for you. Enter your zip code below to compare right here!

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