Major insurers plan to drop insurance coverage for two car models due to theft
At least two major auto insurers are reportedly refusing to cover certain Kia and Hyundai models because they lack the anti-theft devices commonly found in today’s cars.
Both State Farm and Progressive confirmed to CNN that they no longer write policies for some Kia and Hyundai models made between 2015 and 2019.
In September 2022, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IHHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute reported that vehicle theft claims for 2015-2019 Hyundai and Kia vehicles were almost twice as common as for the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.
“Auto theft increased during the pandemic,” HLDI senior vice president Matt Moore said in the report. “These numbers tell us that some vehicles may be targeted because they’re fast or worth a lot of money, and others because they’re easy to steal.”
The report also found that the stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicles lack electronic mobilizers, which can defeat a thief’s ability to steal a car by simply breaking into the car and bypassing the ignition. Once immobilizers were added to cars, Moore said, vehicle thefts from Kias and Hyundai “dropped in”.
The report also notes that immobilizers were standard on 26 percent of Kia and Hyundai car models in 2015, but standard on 96 percent of all other manufacturers.
State Farm and Progressive did not immediately respond to requests for additional information about the claims.
In a statement to CNN, State Farm confirmed it was temporarily halting the issuance of insurance policies in some states for some Kia and Hyundai model years and trim levels.
Progressive also confirmed to CNN that they would be making changes. In some areas, Progressive is raising rates and restricting the sale of new insurance policies for those who have Kias and Hyundais that fit in the slot of vehicles that are at significant risk.
Kia and Hyundai vehicle thefts have increased by as much as 300% in some cities over the past two years.
Videos posted on social media show people starting the vehicles without a key but with the tip of a phone charger or USB cable, and the trend has prompted youth across the US to try to steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles, to take a spin.
Manufacturers are working off the thefts, with Hyundai offering steering wheel locks through communities like Clearwater, Florida.
Another solution making the rounds was developed by the Suntrup Automotive Group of St. Louis, Missouri, which included a redesigned off-the-shelf Bluetooth switch that could be hardwired to the car to immobilize the ignition.