Fender-benders in micro cars can be costly

WASHINGTON – New crash tests on those fuel-efficient mini cars suggest that crash repairs can be an expensive proposition.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that repairing damage to microcars in low-speed crashes of 3 to 6 miles per hour could cost anywhere from $474 to $3,701.

The Institute conducted low-speed crash tests on the front and back bumpers and the front and rear corners of seven 2009 vehicles. The Kia Rio racked up the most damage in the four tests, averaging $2,705.

The Smart fortwo had the lowest average bill of $899. The other vehicles tested included the Hyundai Accent, the Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris.

Institute senior vice president Joe Nolan says such damages should cost less than the typical $500 deductible for a collision and that "anything $1,500 or higher is egregious."