The chop shop gang has definite favorites when it comes to swiping vehicles. So you might want to think about “ hot cars” in a two-fold manner.
The first is the simple hot car or truck – selling well, in demand for the moment and with some buzz behind it. A good set of wheels, right?
However, hot as “in demand” has a darker side, too, and might give you second thoughts about your next vehicle.
According to the latest data from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), people file insurance theft claims for versions of the 2007-09 Cadillac Escalade, a luxury SUV, followed by Ford’s F-250 crew pickup, the Infiniti G37 luxury car, and Dodge Chargers with a HEMI engine, more than any other models.
In fact, theft rates for these vehicles are three to five times as high as the average for all other vehicles – your rates may vary, but you will likely pay a premium for coverage if you own one of these.
“Sedate family cars and fuel sippers aren’t on the hot list,” says Kim Hazelbaker, HLDI senior vice president. “Thieves are after chrome, horsepower, and HEMIs.”
Overall theft losses take into account not only the rate at which insurance claims are filed, but also the size of the payments for claims. Most of the vehicles with the highest overall theft losses are SUVs and large pickups.
The Escalade has ranked worst in overall theft losses in six of the past seven years HLDI reports. In fact, all four versions of the Escalade head the list of the worst overall losses for theft, with average yearly losses more than seven times the average for all passenger vehicles. The Escalade EXT 4-door 4-wheel-drive has the highest theft losses of all, with $146 in theft payments per insured vehicle year. This is more than 10 times the $14 average theft payments per year for all passenger vehicles.
The vehicle group with the highest overall theft losses ($82 in theft payments per year) is very large luxury SUVs. Losses for these vehicles are nearly six times as high as the $14 average for all passenger vehicles. Very large pickups have the second highest overall theft losses, at $57 per insured vehicle year, and 2-door minicars have the lowest at $4 per insured vehicle year.
Almost one of every four Escalade theft claims is for $40,000 or more. These vehicles are equipped with standard anti-theft ignition immobilizers that are supposed to prevent them from being started without a proper key. The problem, Hazelbaker says, is that “even though Escalades have the latest immobilizer technology, thieves still can put them on flatbeds and haul them away.”
HLDI’s theft results are the only ones reported based on the number of insured vehicles on the road. Information on theft losses published by the National Insurance Crime Bureau doesn’t take into account the number of each vehicle insured, so the most popular vehicles on the road tend to top this organization’s list of most-stolen vehicles. This doesn’t tell an individual owner how likely a particular car is to have a theft claim. To answer that question, HLDI identifies vehicles with the worst theft losses by counting the number of insurance claims by make and model relative to the number of each make and model insured. This indicates the vehicles that are most likely to be theft targets, taking into account their exposure on the road.
Want a car nobody wants to steal? The Volvo S80 sedan, leads the best list with overall losses equal to 4% of the average for all passenger vehicles. Next best are the orphan Saturn VUE 4-wheel-drive mid-size SUV and Nissan Murano mid-size SUV. The Toyota Prius, a hybrid car, also ranks among the top 10. The 10 best vehicles have overall theft losses less than 15% of the average. Average payments for a theft claim are less than one-third the average.
|Insurance Theft Losses – 2007-09 Passenger Vehicles|
|Cadillac Escalade||Large/Very Large Luxury SUV||10.8||$11,934||$128|
|Ford F-250 Crew 4wd (2008-09)||Very Large Pickup||9.7||$9,636||$91|
|Infiniti G37 2-Door (2008-09)||Midsize Luxury Car||7.1||$10,324||$71|
|Dodge Charger Hemi||Large Family Car||7.1||$10,118||$69|
|Chevrolet Corvette Z06||Midsize Sports Car||1.7||$41,229||$68|
|Hummer H2 4wd||Very Large SUV||6.2||$10,324||$62|
|Nissan Pathfinder Armada||Large SUV||4.5||$12,458||$54|
|Chevrolet Avalanche 1500||Very Large SUV||7.4||$7,571||$54|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew||Large Pickup||8.0||$6,814||$53|
|GMC Yukon||Large SUV||5.7||$9,499||$52|
|Volvo S80||Large Luxury Car||0.8||$619||$1|
|Saturn Vue 4wd (2008-09)||Midsize SUV||0.7||$1,445||$1|
|Nissan Murano (2009)||Midsize SUV||0.7||$1,790||$1|
|Saturn Vue (2008-09)||Midsize SUV||0.6||$2,340||$1|
|Honda Pilot 4wd (2009)||Midsize SUV||0.8||$1,927||$2|
|Subaru Impreza (2008-09)||Small Station Wagon||0.9||$1,858||$2|
|Toyota Prius||Small Car||0.8||$2,203||$2|
|Toyota Tacoma Double 4wd||Small Pickup||2.8||$619||$2|
|Toyota Sienna 4wd||Very Large Minivan||0.8||$2,203||$2|
|Average All Passenger Vehicles||2.1||$6,883||$14|
|Note: Claim Frequencies Are Per 1,000 Insured Vehicle Years; Overall Theft Losses Are Average Loss Payments Per Insured Vehicle Year; Results Are For 2007-09 Models Unless Otherwise Noted.|