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Companies in the US refuse to insure Hyundai and Kia: they are stolen too often

Progressive and State Farm, two of the largest auto insurers in the US, are refusing to take out policies in some cities for old Hyundai and Kia models that the companies say are too easy to steal. Writes about it CNN.

Photo: IStock

Several reports say companies have stopped offering insurance for these vehicles in cities like Denver, Colorado and St. Louis, Missouri.

Last September, the Highway Accident Data Institute (HLDI) released information about insurance claims that confirmed what various social media accounts have been saying: Some 2015-2019 Hyundai and Kia models are about twice as likely to be stolen than other cars of the same age, because many of them do not have some of the basic car theft prevention technologies used in most other cars of those years.

In particular, these SUVs and cars do not have electronic immobilizers that rely on a computer chip in the car and another in the key. These chips exchange data to confirm that the key really belongs to that car. Without the correct key, the immobilizer should stop the vehicle from moving.

On the subject: A bug in Hyundai and Kia cars makes them an easy target for car thieves: these cars are stolen more often than others

Immobilizers were standard equipment on 96% of vehicles sold in the 2015-2019 model years, according to HLDI, but only 26% of Hyundai and Kias had them at the time. Cars with a push-button start system have immobilizers instead of metal keys that need to be inserted and turned, but not all models with key ignition.

Stealing these cars has become a social media trend in 2021, HLDI says, with car thieves starting to post videos of their thefts and rides, even videos explaining how to steal cars. In Wisconsin, where crime first became prevalent, the dollar value of Hyundai and Kias vehicle theft claims has risen more than 30 times from 2019 levels.

"State Farm has temporarily stopped registering new deals in certain states for certain model years and trim levels of Hyundai and Kia vehicles as theft losses for these vehicles have skyrocketed," the insurance company said in a statement. "This is a major issue affecting our customers and the entire auto insurance industry."

Progressive is also cutting insurance coverage for these vehicles in some markets, company spokesman Jeff Siebel said.

“In the past year, we have seen some Hyundai and Kia vehicle theft rates more than triple, and in some cases these vehicles are up to 20 times more likely to be stolen than others,” he wrote. “Given that we rate our policies based on the level of risk they represent, this explosion in theft in many cases makes these vehicles extremely difficult and expensive to insure. In response, we have increased our rates in some geographies and restricted the sale of new insurance policies for some of these models.”

According to him, Progressive continues to insure those who already have company policies and gives them advice on how to protect their cars from theft.

Michael Barry, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, said it's very unusual for auto insurers to simply stop issuing new policies for a given make or model of car.

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“They usually want to expand their market share depending on where they do business,” he explained.

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 development.

According to the automaker, engine immobilizers are now standard on all Kia vehicles. The company says it is developing and testing security software for vehicles not originally equipped with an immobilizer. Kia has begun to notify 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 distribute to local residents. Hyundai dealers install car safety kits free of charge, the company said.

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