Major insurance companies drop coverage of some Hyundai, Kia vehicles after theft issues
Progressive and State Farm have dropped some older Hyundai and Kia vehicles due to their lack of anti-theft features, according to the companies and multiple reports.
The move comes after social media posts showed how to start certain Kia and Hyundai cars without the use of a key, prompting theft warnings from police.
James Bell, a spokesperson for Kia, said Monday the insurance companies' move impacts certain Kias built between 2011 and 2021 that are equipped with a steel key to "insert and turn to start" the ignition.
Ira Gabriel, a Hyundai spokesperson, hoped the actions would be temporary, he said in a Monday email to USA TODAY, but did not specify which vehicle years were affected.
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Insurance: Is my car still insured? What we know about State Farm, Progressive dropping some Hyundai, Kia cars
What State Farm is saying
State Farm said in a statement to USA TODAY the company has temporarily stopped accepting new customer applications in some states for certain model years and trim levels of Hyundai and Kia vehicles because theft losses have "increased dramatically."
The company said the move is part of an attempt to assess risk and impact of excess claim costs on its customers.
What Progressive is saying
Insurance competitor Progressive announced a similar move to CNN and Money.com.
“During 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,” company spokesperson Jeff Sibel told CNN. "In response, in some geographic areas we have increased our rates and limited our sale of new insurance policies on some of these models.”
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Which areas are impacted by the move?
Neither the insurance companies nor the carmakers told USA TODAY which cities or states are impacted by the move targeting some Hyundai and Kia vehicles.
CNN reported that the insurance companies have stopped offering new policies in cities such as Denver and St. Louis.
Theft claims nearly twice as common for older Hyundai, Kia vehicles
One organization that studies vehicle insurance data, the Highway Loss Data Institute, previously claimed both Hyundai and Kia vehicles lack anti-theft technology, making them more susceptible to thievery.
In September, the Highway Loss Data Institute did an analysis of 2021 insurance claims and said both Hyundais and Kias are easy targets. Among 2015-19 vehicles, theft claims were nearly twice as common for Hyundai and Kia vehicles than all other manufacturers.
The reason, the institute said, is likely because both companies sell vehicles that don't have electronic immobilizers to prevent thieves from driving off with the cars. Thieves are able to break in and bypass the ignition, the researchers said.
Calling anti-theft capabilities "standard equipment on nearly all vehicles of that vintage made by other manufacturers," the Highway Loss Data Institute said Hyundai and Kia have both been slow to add the cautionary features.
“Our earlier studies show that vehicle theft losses plunged after immobilizers were introduced,” said HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore in September. “Unfortunately, Hyundai and Kia have lagged behind other automakers in making them standard equipment.”
Engine immobilizers are now standard on all Hyundai vehicles produced as of November 2021 – and have long been standard equipment on all Hyundai vehicles with push-button ignitions," Gabriel said, adding that the carmaker offers new safety features aimed at preventing thefts.
Car manufacturers respond to insurance policy changes
Gabriel also said Hyundai has taken steps to reduce the theft issues, including a free software update beginning next month.
"Hyundai is also providing free steering wheel locks, as available, to select law enforcement agencies across the country for distribution to local residents who own or lease affected models," Gabriel wrote. "Owners may also bring their vehicles to a local Hyundai dealer for the purchase and installation of a customized security kit."
The kits are available for purchase and installation at Hyundai dealerships and Compustar authorized installers across the country. They start at $170 and there are also charges for installation.
Kia also said in a statement that the company is testing enhanced security software for vehicles that didn't come with immobilizers originally. The company plans to make software upgrades available for most affected vehicles by mid-2023.
Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY's NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757 – and loves all things horror, witches, Christmas, and food. Follow her on Twitter at @Saleen_Martin or email her at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kia, Hyundai theft issues: State Farm, Progressive drop new policies