UPDATED: Jun 17, 2022

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Written By: Rachel BodineReviewed By: Jeffrey JohnsonUPDATED: Jun 17, 2022Fact Checked

Since we’re just a week removed from the mass hysteria exhibited by the press over a General Motors Chevrolet Volt caught fire three weeks after it was crash-tested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), one might think electric vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles and other hybrids aren’t safe.

The NHTSA took the incident as a credible reason to begin an analysis of the safety of electric vehicles, and that investigation should continue until early next year. The federal government agency will be examining if the batteries in hybrids and electric motor vehicles pose significant risks.

Of course, the Chevrolet Volt is a bit of an oddity, since it isn’t a hybrid vehicle, nor is it just an electric car. The Volt offers a compromise between different worlds, since it features the ability to plug in and be operated entirely on battery power, and it can also use gasoline via a standard internal combustion engine.

We said at the time that we didn’t believe the Volt fire was indicative of any safety concerns for drivers, and we’re not convinced hybrids are somehow lacking in safety, either. The Toyota Prius, for example, is now in its third generation, so it isn’t as if there isn’t plenty of data available to check hybrid safety.

And a newly released report from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), which is part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), has found that hybrid models are 25% safer for their occupants than standard cars. The analysis used data on 25 hybrid-conventional vehicle pairs (such as the Ford Escape, which is offered in both traditional and hybrid forms) from 2003-2011.

But it isn’t some sort of new tech or safety equipment that makes hybrids safer. Rather, it’s the weight of their batteries – which make the typical hybrid 10% heavier – that give them the edge in collisions.

“This extra mass gives them an advantage in crashes that their conventional twins don’t have,” Matt Moore, HLDI vice president and one of the authors of the report said.

We’re guessing this will do little to spur hybrid or electric vehicle sales, but we can’t argue that we’d ever mind having more safety when we’re on the road.

Before making any final decisions on your insurance company, it is important to learn as much as you can about your local insurance providers, and the coverages they offer. Call your local insurance agent to clear up any questions that you might have. Questions to consider asking include, “What is the best coverage plan for me/my family/my situation?” “What are the minimum coverage requirements in my state and what form of coverage do you recommend?” “Do you guys offer any bundle discounts if I take out both my auto insurance and home insurance with you?” and “What is the average rate of insurance quotes you guys offer?”

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson