Some of the vehicles from those South Korean automakers are simply too easy to steal.
Hyundai and Kia vehicles that use physical ignition keys are so easy to steal – needing nothing more specialized than a USB cable – that major US auto insurance companies have started to refuse to cover them.
So far, this appears to be a trend isolated to Columbus and Denver, Ohio, but it is spreading.
Progressive released a media statement in which it confirmed that it would not be issuing new auto insurance policies to certain Hyundai and Kia models within certain American cities. It started with Columbus and Denver, Ohio, and it looks as though St. Louis, Missouri will also be included on the list.
“Due to the theft risk that some Hyundai and Kia vehicles present, in many cases it makes these vehicles difficult to insure, so in certain areas of the country we have adjusted our acceptance criteria for new business (there is no change for existing customers) on some of these models,” said the statement from Progressive. “We’ll continue to monitor how this issue plays out and are hopeful to be able to revisit our decision as the theft risk diminishes and community awareness improves.”
At the time of the writing of this article, State Farm had yet to release a media statement on the subject, but upon request, it referenced crime and auto insurance rate resources with which the conclusion could be drawn that some models of Hyundai and Kia vehicles are too easy to steal to be insurable.
Drivers with certain models in those cities are being denied auto insurance coverage from those insurers.
For the drivers who do manage to be accepted for auto insurance coverage by Progressive or State Farm in those areas, some are finding that their premiums are considerably higher than they would be with a similar vehicle from a different automaker. This is apparently the case even among drivers of models that have a pushbutton start instead of the physical ignition key.
There is a staggeringly high rate of theft of vehicles made by Hyundai and Kia in many metropolitan areas across the country. In fact, together, they represent 38 percent of all stolen vehicles in Columbus, Ohio, one of the affected cities. In Los Angeles, California, that figure is closer to 20 percent. That said, the LAPD has issued an alert to owners of those types of vehicle, recommending that they install GPS trackers, battery disconnects, steering wheel locks, or other types of theft deterrent.