Some car insurers refuse to cover some Hyundai and Kia models
Progressive and State Farm, two of America’s largest auto insurers, are refusing to write policies in certain cities for some older Hyundai and Kia models that are considered too easy to steal, the companies said.
Several reports say companies have stopped offering insurance for these vehicles in cities they include Denver, Colorado and St. Louis, Missouri. The insurance companies did not tell CNN which cities or states were involved.
The Highway Loss Data Institute publishes insurance benefits data last September this confirmed what the various social media accounts were saying: Some 2015 to 2019 Hyundai and Kia models are roughly twice as likely to be stolen as other vehicles of a similar age, because many of them lacked some of the basic anti-theft technology included in most other vehicles in those years, according to 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 communicating to confirm that the key really belongs to that vehicle. Without the correct key, the immobilizer is supposed to do just that – stop the car from moving.
Immobilizers are standard equipment on 96 percent of cars sold for the 2015-2019 model years, according to HLDI, but only 26 percent of Hyundais and Kias have them at this time. Vehicles that have push-button start systems, rather than relying on metal keys that must be inserted and turned, have immobilizers, but not all key ignition models do.
The theft of these vehicles took place trend in social media in 2021, according to HLDI, as car thieves started posting videos of their thefts and entertainment and even videos explaining how cars are stolen. In Wisconsin, where the crime first became widespread, claims for thefts of Hyundais and Kias jumped to more than 30 times 2019 levels in dollar terms.
“State Farm has temporarily stopped taking new deals in some states on certain model years and trim levels of Hyundai and Kia vehicles because theft losses for those 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 reducing insurance on those cars in some markets, spokesman Jeff Siebel said in an emailed statement.
“Over the past year, we’ve 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,” it said he. “Given that we price our policies based on the level of risk they pose, this explosive increase in theft in many cases makes these vehicles extremely challenging for us to insure. In response, in some geographic areas we have increased our prices and restricted the sale of new insurance policies for some of these models.”
Progressive continues to insure those who already have policies with the company, he said. Progressive also provides them with tips on how to protect their vehicles from theft.
Michael Barry, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, said it’s very unusual for auto insurers to simply stop writing new policies for a particular make or model of vehicle.
“They generally want to expand their market share depending on where they do 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 various 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 is developing and testing security software for vehicles 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 around the country to give local residents who have easy stolen Hyundai models. Hyundai dealers are also installing free security kits for the vehicles, the company said.
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