Owners of older Hyundai and Kia models may be experiencing buyer’s remorse these days due to vehicle insurance issues.
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Two of the largest auto insurers in the United States — Progressive and State Farm — have stopped writing policies in some cities for Hyundai and Kia models that were classified as too easy to steal, CNN reported. Cities mentioned in media reports include Denver and St. Louis (although neither Progressive nor State Farm would confirm specific cities and states to CNN).
A fall 2022 analysis by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that certain 2015 to 2019 Hyundai and Kia models are about twice as likely to be stolen as other vehicles of a similar age.
According to a September 2022 press release from HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), many 2015-19 Hyundai and Kia vehicles lack electronic immobilizers that prevent thieves from breaking in and bypassing the ignition. Immobilizers are designed to confirm whether a particular key belongs to a particular vehicle. If not, immobilizers prevent cars from moving. The feature is standard on almost all vehicles of this vintage made by other manufacturers.
“Our earlier studies showed that vehicle theft losses decreased after immobilizers were implemented,” HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Hyundai and Kia have lagged behind other automakers in creating standard equipment.”
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As CNN notes, some of the 2015-19 Hyundai and Kia models are so easy to steal that their thefts have started to spread on social media. Some thieves even posted videos of their thefts and offered tips on how to steal the vehicles — developments that no doubt caught the attention of insurance companies.
In a statement to CNN, State Farm said it has “temporarily stopped writing new business in some states for certain model years and trim levels of Hyundai and Kia vehicles because theft losses for those vehicles have increased dramatically. This is a serious issue affecting our customers and the entire auto insurance industry.”
Progressive is also reducing insurance on those cars in some markets, spokesman Jeff Siebel told CNN in an emailed statement.
“Over the past year, we’ve seen theft rates for certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles more than triple, and in some markets, these vehicles are almost 20 times more likely to be stolen than other vehicles,” it said Sibel. “Given that we price our policies based on the level of risk they pose, this explosive increase in theft in many cases makes these vehicles extremely challenging for us to insure. In response, in some geographic areas we have increased our prices and restricted the sale of new insurance policies for some of these models.”
To help address the problem, both Hyundai and Kia are working with local police departments to provide steering wheel locks to affected owners, according to the IIHS-HLDI report. In addition, Hyundai has identified a security suite that it believes will help prevent theft. It is not certain whether these features are enough to convince certain insurers to write policies on the cars.
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Meanwhile, immobilizers are standard on all Hyundai vehicles built after November 1, 2021, and immobilizers are fitted to all 2022 Kia models and trims either at the start of the model year or as an ongoing change.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: If you drive these cars, you may be uninsured for reasons beyond your control