Did you know insurance companies can blacklist certain vehicles? If you're a driver of a Kia or Hyundai model between the years 2015 - 2021, pay attention because this may apply to you. Two major insurance providers, State Farm and Progressive, confirmed that they will no longer write policies for several Kia and Hyundai models. This means if you're looking to insure one of these models, depending on where you live, you won't be able to find coverage with these insurance companies. If you already have a policy with one of these insurance carriers, they may not renew it when the term ends.
Insurers are dropping some models of Kia and Hyundai: What drivers need to know
State Farm and Progressive are both dropping several models from these automakers
Table of contents:
Why blacklist these cars?
Long story short: the reason insurance companies no longer want to cover these models from these two particular makes is that they think they are too easy to steal.
The issue came to the forefront in July of 2022 when people stealing Kias using only a flathead screwdriver and a USB cable became a trend on TikTok. The problem is that many of these models lack engine immobilizers. This means they don't require a key fob or key to be in the car in order for the engine to be started. This technology was made standard on all models of Hyundai after 2021 and in Kias only in 2022. That's why models within a certain time frame are affected.
In September of 2022, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reported that vehicle theft claims for Kias and Hyundais were nearly twice as common as for all other manufacturers. Again, this was attributed to the lack of immobilizers, with Senior VP of the Highway Loss Data Institute Matt Moore saying: "Our earlier studies show that vehicle theft losses plunged after immobilizers were introduced. Unfortunately, Hyundai and Kia have lagged behind other automakers in making them standard equipment."
What models are affected?
According to this list published by TheDrive, the following models are affected:
- 2015-2021 Hyundai Accent (all body styles)
- 2015-2021 Hyundai Elantra (two-door and four-door)
- 2015-2021 Hyundai Kona
- 2015-2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
- 2015-2021 Hyundai Tucson
- 2015-2018 Hyundai Veloster
- 2015-2021 Kia Forte
- 2015-2021 Kia Optima
- 2015-2016 Kia Optima Hybrid
- 2015-2021 Kia Rio (all body styles)
- 2015-2021 Kia Sedona
- 2015-2016 Kia Sorento
- 2015-2021 Kia Soul
- 2015-2021 Kia Sportage
The reason some model dates are not affected is because some models did receive standard engine immobilizers earlier. For example this feature was added to the Kia Optima Hybrid in 2016.
Where are customers affected?
In its statement to USA Today, State Farm said due to increased theft of these models, it would no longer be accepting new customer applications in "some states." Likewise, Progressive's statement said, "in some geographic areas we have increased our rates and limited our sale of new insurance policies for some of these models."
So how do you know if you might be affected in your state or geography? TheDrive says the list allegedly applies to Louisiana, Georgia, Oregon, Washington and Pennsylvania. CNN reported this affecting specific cities including Denver and St. Louis, where the cars' theft was rampant.
The best way to find out if you're affected is to ask your insurance company. If you are covered by one of these carriers currently and drive one of the affected models, you can ask if they will plan to renew your policy. If they say no, you can start making plans for moving to a new carrier. Remember, this only applies to writing new policies. If you are not currently covered by one of these carriers, you may not have the option to consider them when looking for coverage.
How are the automakers responding?
If you drive one of the models mentioned above, insurance isn't your only concern. You'll also want to take measures to protect your vehicle. Hyundai put out a statement that they were updating software to make the cars harder to steal. On February 14, 2023, the Hyundai software updates began rolling out to 2017-2020 Elantras, 2015-2019 Sonatas and 2020-2021 Venue vehicles. Remaining Hyundai vehicles can receive the updates in dealerships, starting in June. Kia plans their software updates to rollout later in February. The update will increase the length of time the car alarm will sound and will require the key to be in the ignition switch for the vehicle to start.
Additionally, Hyundai has expanded a program of sending theft-preventing steering wheel locks to police stations to distribute to drivers. If you drive one of these cars, you can check with local law enforcement to see if that is an option.
Hyundai is also offering another after-market safety product that can be added to their cars to prevent theft. This does have a cost of around $170 and can be added on at a Hyundai dealership.
However, as of May 2023, these fixes are not seeming to work, and, according to one source the number of Kia and Hyundai cars being stolen is still growing.
How you can protect your Hyundai or Kia
Here are some tips for keeping your car safe:
- Take advantage of safety add-ons offered by Kia and Hyundai to address the problem.
- Consider other after-market products like remote car alarms, steering wheel locks and tire locks.
- Park your car in a garage whenever possible. If you must park on the street overnight, try to choose a well-lit area.
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