According to news reports, State Farm and Progressive claim they have stopped writing new policies in certain areas due to a rise in theft claims.
After online videos revealed how easy it was for older cars to be stolen, theft rates shot up. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a TikTok social media challenge has led to at least 14 fatalities and eight crashes.
Many of the vehicles affected don’t have anti theft computer chips in the ignition systems. This makes it easier for thieves and carjackers to steal them.
Automakers responded by distributing steering wheels locks and offering a free anti theft software upgrade to approximately 3.8 million Hyundais, 4.5 million Kias, and the rest of the U.S.
The key takeaway: If your Hyundai or Kia is 2022 or older, you might want to check if you can get anti-theft upgrades from the automakers. Also, you may want to consider insurance shopping.
Why is it easier to steal these models?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), many 2015-2019 Hyundai and Kia vehicles do not have electronic immobilizers that prevent thieves from bypassing the ignition system.
According to the nonprofit, the anti-theft technology is a standard feature on almost all vehicles manufactured by other manufacturers at that time.
The impact of Hyundai and Kia car thefts
- Loss claims are rising. According to a bulletin from the 2022 Highway Loss Data Institute, Hyundais and Kias of the 2015-2019 model years were stolen twice as often than other vehicles of the same age in the second half 2021.
- Insurance companies bow out. State Farm stated in a statement that it had temporarily stopped writing policies in certain states. Progressive, however, said in an email statement to CNN that they had increased rates and limited the sales of policies in certain geographic areas.
How is Hyundai and Kia responding to this?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Hyundai Motor Group and Kia offer free software upgrades for vehicles without an immobilizer. These updates will increase the duration of the alarm sound by one minute, and will require that the key be in the ignition switch to turn the car on.
Car owners get technology updates from dealers
- Hyundai. The automaker stated that the software updates will take less than one hour and will be performed by Hyundai dealers. To show that the vehicle is equipped with enhanced anti theft technology, each vehicle will be given a window sticker. For more information, visit www.hyundaiantitheft.com.
- Kia. According to the NHTSA, Kia is completing its software updates in stages. Kia owners can reach the company at 800-333-45442 for more information.
What can you do
You can check the owner’s manual of your Hyundai or Kia to see if it has an engine immobilizer.
Other anti theft and insurance advice
- Get a free lock. According to the NHTSA, Hyundai and Kia distributed more than 26,000 steering-wheel locks to 77 law enforcement agencies across 12 states. They are being given away by police to owners of Hyundai and Kia.
- Protect your car. Lock your doors and park in well lit areas. Aftermarket theft prevention devices such as pedal locks or kill switches can be used.
- Get insurance. There are many things you can do in order to find the best insurance policy for you. Comparing auto insurance policies online is one of the easiest ways to shop around.