Make us your home page
Instagram
Autos | Insurance loss claims

Car thieves target expensive models loaded with chrome, power and marketable parts

If you own a Mini Cooper, Toyota Prius or Nissan Murano, breathe easy. A new car-theft insurance survey has found owners of these vehicles are among the least likely to lose a bundle if they're targeted by car thieves. • But if you own a Cadillac Escalade, be afraid.

The Arlington, Va.-based Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, recently released its list of vehicles that suffer the highest, and the lowest, insurance loss claims due to theft. This isn't necessarily the most-stolen list; it's based on how much insurance companies have to pay out because of theft, of either the whole vehicle or expensive components such as the sound system or air bags.

The Escalade tops the list not just because a lot of the vehicles are stolen, but because they cost a lot, too. The average claim payment is $11,934, but one out of four is for more than $40,000, which essentially represents the vehicles that are stolen and never recovered. Suffering the highest per-claim theft payment is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, with an average paid claim of $41,229.

But aren't the Escalade and Z06 equipped with OnStar and all sorts of theft prevention equipment? "Yes," said Russ Rader, HLDI spokesman. "But these are likely (to be targeted by) professional thieves. GM has put a sophisticated ignition immobilizer on the Escalade, but that doesn't stop a thief from putting the vehicle on a flat-bed truck and hauling it away."

Always popular with thieves are vehicles that have a lot of parts that are interchangeable with other vehicles, such as General Motors trucks and SUVs. The Escalade, the Chevrolet Avalanche, the GMC Yukon and the Chevrolet Silverado crew cab pickup are all on the HLDI's top 10 list for vehicles with the highest loss rates. Not only are the parts especially marketable, but if a thief learns to steal and dismantle one type of GM truck, that knowledge probably applies to others.

So what can you do to lessen your chances of becoming a victim?

Drive something boring. "Sedate family cars and fuel sippers aren't on the hot list," said Kim Hazelbaker, HLDI senior vice president. Near the bottom of the list — and the bottom is a good place — are the Volvo S80, Toyota Sienna all-wheel-drive minivan and Subaru Impreza wagon. "Thieves are after chrome, horsepower and Hemis," said Hazelbaker. The Hemi engine, apparently, is why the Dodge Charger has made the 10-worst list for theft losses.

Also, living in rural areas helps, as the HLDI study found that in metro areas, the insurance claim rate was 3.1 per 1,000 surveyed vehicles, and in "nonmetropolitan" areas, 1.6 claims per 1,000 vehicles.

Otherwise, common sense applies: Park in a well-lit, exposed area, leave nothing of value visible in the vehicle, and always lock your car and take your keys.

Car thieves target expensive models loaded with chrome, power and marketable parts 09/07/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Orlando Sentinel.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida: White man who killed black person to be executed

    State Roundup

    GAINESVILLE — For the first time in state history, Florida is expecting to execute a white man for killing a black person — and it plans to do so with help of a drug that has never been used previously in any U.S. execution.

    This undated photo provided by the Florida Department of Corrections shows Mark Asay. If his final appeals are denied, Asay is to die by lethal injection after 6 p.m. Thursday. Asay was convicted by a jury of two racially motivated, premeditated murders in Jacksonville in 1987.  [Florida Department of Corrections via AP]
  2. Can the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl thrive in competitive sports market?

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's a funky name: the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. But the new sponsors for the former St. Petersburg Bowl might need more than an eye-catching name to create a thriving, profitable contest.

    NC State head coach Dave Doeren clutches the championship trophy after winning the Bitcoin Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in 2014. Bowl organizers are changing the name of the game to the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
[

MONICA HERNDON | TIMES]
  3. Apple Scales Back Its Ambitions for a Self-Driving Car

    Autos

    SAN FRANCISCO — As new employees were brought into Apple's secret effort to create a self-driving car a few years ago, managers told them that they were working on the company's next big thing: A product that would take on Detroit and disrupt the automobile industry.

     In this Monday, April 10, 2017 file photo, Luminar CEO Austin Russell monitors a 3D lidar map on a demonstration drive in San Francisco. Russell, now 22, was barely old enough to drive when he set out to create a safer navigation system for robot-controlled cars. His ambitions are about to be tested five years after he co-founded Luminar Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup trying to steer the rapidly expanding self-driving car industry in a new direction. Apple says it will scale back its amitions to build a self-driving car.  [AP Photo/Ben Margot]
  4. Groundbreaking today for complex on old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — A groundbreaking is slated for 10 a.m. today for a 400-unit apartment complex planned on the site of the former Tampa Tribune building in downtown Tampa.

    Renderings for a high-end apartment complex that will be built on the Tampa Tribune site in downtown Tampa. 
[Courtesy of Related Group]
  5. Walmart announces delivery partnership with Google

    Retail

    Walmart announced a new delivery partnership with Google to make online shopping easier for customers.

    People walk in and out of a Walmart store in Dallas. Walmart announced a new delivery partnership with Google.  [Associated Press]