Popular models of used Hyundai and Kia vehicles are no longer being covered by some insurance companies in certain cities. These vehicles have seen a recent rise in theft due to popular social media posts detailing how easy these cars can be to steal in some cases.
This is due to them being twice as likely to be stolen than other vehicles. These vehicles are the ones without an electronic immobilizer, and according to a recent story from CNN, they're no longer being taken on as insured vehicles by companies like State Farm and Progressive.
An electronic immobilizer doesn't allow a vehicle to move unless a certain chip in both the vehicle and the key is recognized. They're standard fare on new vehicles, but older used models dating from 2015 to 2019 may not always have this technology.
The insurance companies didn't state where they're not covering these but CNN found that the recent decline in coverage is coming from cities such as Denver, Colorado, and St. Louis, Missouri. In September 2022, a report came out from the Highway Loss Data Institute confirming that these South Korean models are more likely to be stolen than others.
According to CNN, the HLDI reports that stealing these vehicles became a trend in 2021, as car thieves began posting videos of theft and joyriding. In Wisconsin, where the crimes first began to rise, claims of theft for Hyundai and Kia vehicles increased more than 30 times the claim levels experienced in 2019.
A State Farm representative reached out to CNN saying “State Farm 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 these vehicles have increased dramatically.”
Progressive also echoed this sentiment in a statement to the news outlet but says they'll continue to insure those who already have a policy on one of these vehicles.
What Does This Mean For Current Owners?
Have an older model Hyundai or Kia? You can tell if your car is affected simply by looking at your key. If your keys are simple steel keys without a fob, plastic housing, or visible chip, your vehicle likely doesn't have an immobilizer. Push-button start vehicles aren't affected, and in fact, all have immobilizers.
The companies are aware of this issue, and in some cases are providing a software fix that can immobilize the vehicle, as with Kia. Hyundai is offering other anti-theft products to affected drivers. You can contact your dealership for more information if your vehicle is affected.
If you're already insured you probably don't need to worry about your coverage being dropped just for this, and not all companies are adopting the same policies.
What Does This Mean For Bad Credit Buyers?
Hyundai and Kia's models often provide a good deal for buyers looking for a used vehicle since their prices can be lower but they can hold onto some of their value. Dropping coverage on these popular models could pose a problem for some people with lower credit scores. People who have poor credit tend to shop in the used car market more, where these models are prevalent.
If you're financing a vehicle, having full coverage insurance is a must. If you're having trouble insuring your vehicle your financing could be in jeopardy. This is something to think about before diving into a used car sale. You should always do your research, including talking to your auto insurance agent about a possible policy on the vehicle you're thinking of buying.