Progressive and State Farm, two of the largest auto insurers in the United States, are refusing to write policies in certain cities for some older Hyundai and Kia models that have been deemed too easy to steal, according to the companies.
Various reports say that companies have stopped offering insurance for these vehicles in cities including Denver, Colorado and St. Louis, Missouri. The insurance companies did not tell CNN which cities or states were involved.
The Highway Loss Data Institute released insurance claims data last September that confirmed what several social media accounts had been Said: Some Hyundai and Kia models from 2015 to 2019 are about twice as likely to be stolen as other vehicles of a similar age, why many of them lack some of the basic auto theft prevention technology included in most other vehicles in those years, according to the HLDI.
Specifically, these SUVs and cars do not have electronic immobilizers, which rely on a computer chip in the car and another in the key that communicate to confirm that the key actually belongs to that vehicle. Without the correct key, an immobilizer should do just that – keep the car from moving.
Immobilizers were standard equipment on 96% of vehicles sold for the 2015-2019 model years, according to HLDI, but only 26% of Hyundai and Kia had them. At that time. Vehicles that have push-button start systems, instead of relying on metal keys that must be inserted and turned, have immobilizers, but not all models with turnkey ignitions do.
Stealing these vehicles became a trend on social media in 2021, according to HLDI, when car thieves began posting videos of their thefts and rides and even videos explaining how to steal the cars. In Wisconsin, where crime first became prevalent, Hyundai and Kia theft reports were up more than 30 times 2019 levels in dollar terms.
“State Farm has temporarily stopped writing new business in some states for certain model years and trim levels of Hyundai and Kia vehicles because theft losses for these vehicles have increased dramatically,” the insurer said in a statement provided to CNN. . “This is a serious issue that affects our customers and the entire auto insurance industry.”
Progressive is also cutting insurance on these cars in some markets, spokesman Jeff Sibel said in an emailed statement.
“Over the past year, we have seen theft rates for certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles more than triple, and in some markets, these vehicles are almost 20 times more likely to be stolen than other vehicles,” he wrote. “Since we price our policies based on the level of risk they pose, this explosive increase in theft in many cases makes these vehicles extremely difficult for us to insure. In response, in some geographic areas we have increased our rates and limited our sale of new insurance policies on some of these models.”
Progressive continues to insure those who already have policies with the company, he said. Progressive also gives you tips on how to protect your vehicles from theft.
Michael Barry, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, said it was highly unusual for auto insurers to simply stop issuing new policies for a given make or model of vehicle.
“Usually they want to expand their market share depending on where they are doing business,” he said.
Hyundai and Kia operate as separate companies in the United States, but Hyundai Motor Group owns a large stake in Kia and several Hyundai and Kia models share much of their engineering.
Engine immobilizers are now standard on all Kia vehicles, according to a statement from the automaker, and the company says it has been developing and testing security software for vehicles that were not originally equipped with an immobilizer. Kia said it has begun notifying owners of the availability of this software, which is provided free of charge.
Hyundai said it is providing free steering wheel locks to some police departments across the country to give local residents who have easily Stolen Hyundai models. Hyundai dealers are also installing free safety kits for the vehicles, the company said.