When Ford released the 2015 F-150 into the wild, some predicted that insurance costs on the truck could increase over prior years. Unsubstantiated or not, many thought durability and repair cost concerns over the truck’s new aluminum body would cause insurers to up their monthly premiums.
But as customers have taken delivery of their new F-150s they haven’t seen much of an increase at all. In fact, some have even reported seeing their premiums drop. So, are insurance companies more confident in the aluminum body than anticipated?
As it turns out the aluminum body currently has nothing to do with how those costs are being determined. And by the time it does, Ford says they should remain about the same or even decrease thanks to enhancements to the design of the truck’s parts.
In a report from Truck Yeah!, analysts with TrueCar said all automotive insurance premiums are calculated based on historic claims. Which means the current premium on a 2015 F-150 is based on claims made on the 2014 model and prior. Here’s what analyst Penny Gusner told Truck Yeah!:
“Because the truck’s changes are so new, the insurers have their previous claims experience to go off of for the rates we were given. If claims start to cost more to insurers for the F-150, due to pricier repair costs, then I’d expect to see the rates go higher for it in the future. The insurance companies first need their claims experience data to show the need to increase rates for the vehicle.”
So, while premiums are fairly unchanged at the moment, if the number of expensive repair claims should increase in the next few years, all of that could change.
That would be especially true if F-150 owners were to see the type of repair bills editors at Edmunds got after taking a sledgehammer to the side of the truck’s bed.
The demonstration resulted in a nearly $3,000 repair bill and quickly gained controversial attention due to the fact that the repair was done by a body shop that had yet to be certified by Ford to perform aluminum repairs. Ford spokesman Mike Levine told us that the repair should have taken half the time as Edmunds was billed for and said the aluminum panel replaced costs the exact same amount as its steel counterpart.
However, the report still did a good job illustrating the importance of paying careful attention to who you entrust the truck to when it comes time for a repair.
In regard to TrueCar’s explanation of the rates as told to TruckYeah!, Levine said because Ford has worked to ensure repair costs on the aluminum F-150 are as close as possible to those on the older steel models, customers shouldn’t expect too much fluctuation between those previous models and the 2015 F-150.
“As we’ve said since the all-new Ford F-150 was introduced, we expect insurance rates to be comparable with the previous F-150 and other full-size pickup trucks in the light-duty segment,” Levine said in an email.
He added that Ford has actually made sections of the 2015 model easier to repair than previous models, including the apron tube, floorpan, rocker panel and B-pillar. That means F-150 owners might actually see their premiums drop if those design changes result in cheaper repair claims over the next few years.
Levine also noted that customers should not overvalue insurance costs in the scheme of the truck’s total cost of ownership.
“Insurance rates represent only about 11 percent of the average cost of ownership for F-150 customers, while fuel and depreciation costs represent about 68 percent of ownership costs,” he said. “With improved gas mileage and a higher residual value expected from the use of advanced powertrains and high-strength materials, we expect cost of ownership for the all-new F-150 will remain similar to or less than today’s levels.”