CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — Two major insurance companies have announced they will raise rates or limit new insurance policies for certain Hyundai and Kia models.
It comes after the Highway Loss Data Institute released data showing Kia and Hyundai models between 2015 and 2019 are about twice as likely to be stolen, compared to other cars of the same age.
WBTV reported on recent online challenges like the “KIA Challenge”, showing people how to easily steal older models using just a USB cable.
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“It’s a really extraordinary situation, auto insurance is such a competitive market,” Michael Barry of the Insurance Information Institute told WBTV.
Barry says it’s been a surprise to see companies like Progressive and State Farm put the brakes on policies.
In a statement, a Progressive spokesperson told WBTV:
Progressive is committed to providing affordable insurance solutions. Over the past year, we’ve seen the theft rates of some Hyundai and Kia vehicles more than triple, and in some markets these vehicles are nearly 20 times more likely to be stolen than other vehicles. Because we price our policies based on the level of risk they represent, this explosive increase in theft in many cases makes these vehicles extremely difficult for us to insure. In response, in certain geographies we have increased our rates and limited our sales of new insurance policies on some of these models.
We continue to insure existing customers who own these types of vehicles, but have taken steps to communicate this high risk to them and provide advice to try and prevent their vehicle from being stolen. We will continue to monitor this issue, and if we see a change in theft rates to more typical levels, we will adjust our pricing and acceptance criteria accordingly.
A State Farm spokesperson told WBTV:
State Farm has temporarily stopped accepting new customer applications in certain states for certain model years and trim levels of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, as theft losses for these vehicles have increased significantly. This is a serious issue that affects our customers and the entire auto insurance industry.
We take seriously our responsibility to manage the risk and impact of excess loss costs on all of our customers. In this case, it became necessary to act to protect our policyholders and our company.
We are monitoring this situation very closely and will adapt our approach if necessary.
“From a car insurance standpoint, if the car is not recovered, it’s a total loss,” Barry said.
Last week, David Chiarelli says WBTV about his Hyundai being stolen and later involved in a police chase.
Barry says if you drive one of these cars you should contact your manufacturer.
“Let them know you know this is a problem and what action are they taking,” he said.
A Kia spokesperson told WBTV:
Kia America regrets this decision by some insurers and its impact on owners and lessees of certain Kia vehicles, which we believe will be temporary. Engine immobilizers are now standard on all Kia vehicles and have always been standard equipment on Kia vehicles equipped with push-button ignition.
In addition, Kia has taken a series of measures to reduce the frequency of complaints associated with the affected vehicles. Kia has developed and tested improved security software for vehicles not originally equipped with an immobilizer and has begun notifying owners of certain models that this software upgrade is available at no cost to consumers. Kia plans to make software upgrades available for most affected vehicles by mid-2023. Kia also continues to provide free steering wheel locks, where possible, to interested law enforcement agencies across the country for distribution to local residents who own or lease the affected models.
Kia owners who have questions about their vehicle can contact our customer service team directly at 1-800-333-4542 (4Kia) or online through the owner portal at kia.com.
A Hyundai spokesperson told WBTV:
Hyundai Motor America regrets this decision by insurers and its impact on some owners and lessees of Hyundai vehicles, which we believe will be temporary. Engine immobilizers are now standard on all Hyundai vehicles produced from November 2021 – and have long been standard equipment on all Hyundai vehicles equipped with push-button ignition.
In addition, Hyundai has taken a series of measures to reduce the frequency of complaints associated with the affected vehicles, including an upcoming software update, which will be available from next month and provided to customers free of charge.
Hyundai also provides free steering wheel locks, where possible, to select law enforcement agencies across the country for distribution to local residents who own or lease the affected models. Owners can also take their vehicle to a local Hyundai dealer for the purchase and installation of a custom security kit. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to affected customers.
Hyundai is committed to ensuring the quality and integrity of all of its products through continuous improvement. Hyundai’s quality is among the best in the industry, ranking third among all brands in the 2022 U.S. Vehicle Reliability Study (VDS) and historically above industry average in the U.S. study Power Initial Quality Rating (IQS).
It’s unclear which markets will be affected, so Barry recommends keeping an eye on your policy.
“They look at the personal driving record, where you live, and the make and model of the vehicle,” he said.
Last year, when thefts began to increase, Gastonia police suggested the following to drivers:
➡️ ALWAYS lock the doors of your car (whether it’s a Kia or a Hyundai)
➡️ DO NOT leave valuables in plain sight in your car.
➡️ Secure all firearms in a locked box or case in the trunk of your car.
➡️ ALL car owners are encouraged to use or install an alarm system, vehicle tracking service or any other anti-theft device that could help prevent their car from being stolen.
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