Auto Insurance and Theft

The theft of your automobile or its contents can be devastating and may leave you feeling violated, angry, confused, and worst of all – without transportation. There are many ways to prevent theft such as buying an anti-theft device like a “club” that attaches to your steering wheel, car alarms, ignition cutoff switches, or by always parking your car in a locked garage. Some people even resort to more drastic devices such as the Lo-jack, which will track your car via GPS should it be stolen, allowing law enforcement to track the thieves down and in some cases even cut power to the engine of the stolen vehicle remotely with services such as On Star. No matter which measures people take, however, thieves figure out ways to steal cars and their contents. For every technology man has invented, crooks have invented a way to defeat that technology.

Auto TheftAuto theft is covered under the comprehensive section of your auto insurance policy and applies to the loss of the vehicle as well as parts of the car such as tires, rims, airbags and catalytic converters. This may sound strange until you consider that nationally, more than 75,000 airbags alone are stolen every year from vehicles.  Comprehensive coverage for your vehicle (which is not mandatory) also pays for events such as fire, vandalism and weather-related damage like hail or a windstorm, including damage from floods and earthquakes.

The premium that you will pay for comprehensive insurance is affected by the risk of loss, or the likelihood that an insured car will be stolen or damaged, as well as the car’s value at the time of the loss. Certain types of cars are more likely to be stolen than others, and are more expensive to insure, for example. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the 1995 Honda Civic is the most stolen vehicle in America, followed by the 1991 Honda Accord, 1989 Toyota Camry and 1997 Ford F-150. Other favorites of thieves are the 2004 Dodge Ram pickup, Acura Integra, Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra.

Older vehicles top the list and are targeted because there is still a large market for their parts. Carjacking, while covered more prominently in the media, are not as common as people might think, attributing to only about 3% of auto thefts each year. The FBI reports that the value of stolen cars in a typical year is approximately $6.4 billion, with the average value of a motor vehicle stolen at $6,751.

This means that crooks aren’t stealing Mercedes Benz and BMW’s from the well-to-do, they are stealing average, everyday vehicles owned by regular people. A recent statistic shared by the FBI says a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States every 33 seconds, with the odds of a vehicle being stolen at 1 in 210. The odds of theft are highest in urban areas. About 38% of thefts occur in the South, 34% in the West, 18% in the Midwest, and 10% in the Northeastern U.S. Of all of these, only 12% of cases were solved. These statistics should be enough to convince any driver to fully insure their car to protect against theft.

For more information on auto insurance and how it can protect you, please fill out a free Auto Insurance Quote at Premier Insurance Services of Chicago.

What Types of Cars are Stolen Most?

Most people would rather have a Mercedes than a Honda, but not so if you are a car thief. Out of the $1million cars that are stolen last year (2008) in the US, more than 55,000 were Honda Accords. This was reported by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The most stolen car is the Honda Accord

The most stolen car is the Honda Accord

Why? Is it that they are more stylish than their competition – say the Lexus or Mercedes? Is their performance better? Do they have more color choices that the thieves prefer. The answer to these questions is no.  The reason for the high theft rate of the Accord is their lack of Anti-theft devises. Without the anti-theft technology it is easy to steal their parts. The most desirable being the catalytic converters, tires, anything containing copper. Toyota runs a close second.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau compiled a list of the 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in the U.S in 2008. Honda’s were on the list in 2008 also.

The top five are:

1. 1994 Honda Accord
2. 1995 Honda Civic
3. 1989 Toyota Camry
4. 1997 Ford F150 Series
5. 1995 Dodge Ram Pick-up
What is also interesting is the lowest theft claim frequencies:
1. Ford Taurus
2. Pontiac Vibe 4wd
3. Buick LeSabre
4. Buick Park Avenue

The moral of the story is-don’t think that you are safe from theft just because you don’t have a $100,000 car. There is good news! Car theft is on the decline if this years trends hold (NCIC, a division of the FBI).

Expensive cars like Mercedes are not stolen more often

Expensive cars like Mercedes are not stolen more often

The FBI states between $ 7 – 8 billion is lost every year due to auto theft. The sad thing is that approximately 58% of the vehicles are recovered.

Declining Theft Rates

With the various technologies now on the market it would make sense for the theft loss rate to decline. Technology such as fuel cut – offs, smart keys, audible devices all contribute to theft prevention. Another tool on the market is a tracking device – Lo Jack. In addition, On Star offers a standard feature in 50 new GM vehicles to decrease theft. The system allows drivers to talk with the company at a central call center for emergency services to directions. Technology will indeed help this expensive loss trend.

How Does this Affect Insurance?

Theft losses are covered under Comprehensive Coverage on your auto insurance policy. The more thefts, the higher the cost of that coverage. Most companies offer a discount on a policies comprehensive coverage if an anti-theft device is present.

Moral of the Story

It isn’t always the most expensive vehicle that is the most desireable. Different people value different things. Just be safe and be careful!  To find out how much it would cost to get auto insurance for your car, please fill out a Chicago Auto Insurance quote form.