California auto insurance claims 40 percent higher than pre-pandemic

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Mercury Insurance has reported the spike in its comprehensive car claims compared to pre-COVID-19.

Comprehensive California auto insurance claims have taken off after a lull during the worst of the pandemic and have reached a point considerably higher than pre-COVID-19 levels.

Vandals and thieves have been particularly active in recent months, driving claim numbers skywards.

Mercury Insurance has observed this massive growth in California auto insurance claims when compared to pre-pandemic levels. Though the increase in vandalism and theft started with the lockdowns, they have grown even higher following the easing of the restrictions. This is particularly true of theft of audio systems and other car parts, such as catalytic converters in particular.

“Thieves have been waiting for this moment,” said Mercury vice president and chief claims officer Randy Petro in a recent news release. “Staying vigilant and keeping in mind good practices when you leave your vehicle can help reduce the likelihood of your car being stolen or damaged. Comprehensive coverage provides that extra peace of mind knowing you will be covered from theft or vandalism.”

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The northern part of the state has seen almost twice the California auto insurance claim frequency.

Northern California has reported almost twice the comprehensive policy claim frequency of Southern California. This is notable as the northern part of the state has a considerably lower population density. Thefts there have been substantially higher than in the southern part of the state where the population density is much higher.

According to Mercury, five vehicles stand out among those most frequently reported for theft and vandalism claims in the state. These are the Toyota Prius, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Camry.

The Prius stood out especially high among thieves, which was by far the vehicle with the most claims.

“Thieves love the Toyota Prius,” stated Petro in the California auto insurance news release. He went on to add that, “The frequency of claims for this vehicle compared to the other vehicles on the list is nearly double. If you own a Prius, be extra careful of where you park and what you keep in it.”

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