Ask Kim


How Car Theft Affects Your Insurance Rates

Kimberly Lankford

See whether your car is on the latest list of most-stolen vehicles and how that might affect your premiums.



What types of vehicles are stolen the most? If I own a car on the list, will it affect my insurance rates?

SEE ALSO: 3 Simple Steps to Reshop Your Car Insurance

The National Insurance Crime Bureau just came out with its “Hot Wheels” list of most-stolen cars in 2013. Honda Accords topped the list (with nearly 54,000 stolen in the U.S.), followed by the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Silverado pickup, Ford F-series pickup and Toyota Camry. Many of those cars are older models from the late 1990s and early 2000s, manufactured before new developments in anti-theft devices. The most-stolen car from the 2013 model year was the Nissan Altima (810 thefts), followed by the Ford Fusion, Ford F-series pickup and Toyota Corolla.

The theft statistics for your car’s make and model year do affect your car insurance rates but only for the comprehensive part of your coverage (which is for theft, vandalism, damage from natural disasters and a few other categories), says Des Toups, managing editor of Insurance.com. And comprehensive coverage is generally a lot less expensive than collision coverage. You can find insurance cost estimates for 2014 car models using our new-car rankings comparison tool.

Car insurance rates vary based on the insurer’s claims experience with your type of car as well as other factors, such as your location, your driving record, the number of miles you drive per year, your credit score (in states where it is allowed) and sometimes your job. See 10 Surprising Factors That Can Raise Your Insurance Premiums for more information about auto and other types of insurance.

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If you have a vehicle on the most-stolen-vehicles list, consider keeping the comprehensive coverage on it. “Unfortunately, the most-stolen cars -- usually 2000 models or older -- are least likely to have this coverage,” says Toups. “Only about 20% of mid 1990s cars carry the insurance.” Check your car’s value at Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com to find out how much your car is worth, then decide whether it’s worthwhile to pay premiums to keep the comprehensive coverage. If you don’t have a car on the top-ten list and premiums over a year or two plus the deductible come close to the value of the car, it’s probably not worth paying for collision or comprehensive. (You should always keep liability coverage, which is required in most states, even if you decide to drop collision or comprehensive coverage.)

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.



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