Auto Theft Statistics Can Be Misleading - Is You Car at Risk?

Written by Ryan Hurlbert on January 14, 2010 & Posted in Auto Insurance

Everyone knows the Honda Civic and Accord are the most stolen cars in America. These two top the list every year, followed closely by the Toyota Camry. Here is the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) most stolen car list for 2008:

1. 1995 Honda Civic
2. 1991 Honda Accord
3. 1989 Toyota Camry
4. 1997 Ford F-150 Series Pickup
5. 1994 Chevrolet C/K 1500 Pickup
6. 1994 Acura Integra
7. 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
8. 1994 Nissan Sentra
9. 1988 Toyota Pickup
10. 2007 Toyota Corolla

Notice how many older cars are on the list. There are many reasons for this. There were hundreds of thousands of these vehicles sold, and many are still in service today. This creates an ongoing demand for parts. Anti-theft measures from 15 years ago are no match for modern car thieves, and the cars on the list are fairly easy to steal.

So, if you are driving a newer car that isn't on the list, you may think that you have nothing to worry about. Hold on a moment, notice number 10 on the list above? Now take a look at the list below, which is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) most stolen cars per registered vehicle list.

  1. 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV. 15 stolen per 1,000
  2. 2005-2007 Ford F-250 Supercrew. 13.1 stolen per 1,000
  3. 2007 Cadillac Escalade. 11.3 stolen per 1,000
  4. 2006-2007 Dodge Charger. 11 stolen per 1,000
  5. 2005-2007 Ford F-350 Supercrew. 10.7 stolen per 1,000
  6. 2005-2007 Hummer H2 SUT. 10 stolen per 1,000
  7. 2005-2007 Dodge Magnum. 9.9 stolen per 1,000
  8. 2005-2007 Hummer H2. 8.7 stolen per 1,000
  9. 2005-2007 Dodge Durango. 8.1 stolen per 1,000
  10. 2005-2007 Honda S2000. 8.1 stolen per 1,000

The NCIB list ranks vehicles by total number of thefts, but the IIHS list ranks vehicles by thefts per 1000 registered vehicles of that year, make, and model.

There are not as many 2007 Cadillac Escalades registered as there are 1995 Honda Civics. Therefore, the total number of stolen Escalades does not come close to the total number of stolen Civics. However, the theft rate of the Escalade is staggering--15 out of every 1000 registered 2007 Cadillac Escalades were stolen in 2008. The IIHS list may more closely represents the odds of your car being stolen.

As you can see, driving a newer car does not eliminate your auto theft risk. So what can you do to protect yourself?

  • Park in a well-lit location with good visibility
  • Lock your doors and take your keys. Sounds simple, but law enforcement officials estimate that 20% of all thefts occur when keys are left in the vehicle
  • Lock up spare keys in your home. Your car is worth far more than your TV or computer, so don't make it easy for a burglar to increase his take by driving off with your vehicle
  • Install a starter interrupt or disabling device to make your car harder to steal
  • A LoJack or GPS tracking system makes your car easier to track and recover if it is stolen

Auto theft is covered by comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy. Find the cheap car insurance you need by filling in the form at the top of the page. You should receive quotes from several companies competing for your business, so you can afford to cover yourself against theft.

About the Author

Ryan Hurlbert lives and works in the Pacific Northwest. As an insurance agent, he produced and presented educational seminars on various topics from insurance basics to strategies for dealing with teen drivers. He has researched and produced marketing materials in the insurance, auto, and financial industries. Ryan majored in business and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Portland State University.

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