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Hyundai: Insurers steer clear of some Kia & Hyundai models after thefts linked to TikTok | US | News

At least two major  in the US are refusing to protect certain models of Hyundai and Kia over fears the cars are easy to steal. Leading insurers State Farm and Progressive confirmed they no longer write policies for Kia and Hyundai models from certain years. It comes after a new TikTok craze emerged challenging thieves to steal 2010 to 2021 vehicles by using a USB cable.

In a statement, State Farm said the thefts are a “serious problem impacting our customers and the entire auto insurance industry”.

Jeff Sibel, a Progressive spokesman, said Hyundai and Kia vehicles are “almost 20 times more likely to be stolen than other vehicles”, describing the increase in thefts as “explosive”.

In 2021, a group called ‘Kia Boys’ published videos of thieves breaking into plastic parts surrounding the vehicles’ ignition, before using a USB cord to hot-wire the car.

It led to warnings by police, with the LAPD alerting the public to the ‘TikTok Auto Theft Trade’ in a long statement on social media.

Denver, Colorado and St. Louis, Missouri are some of the areas in which the companies have stopped offering insurance on the cars, according to reports.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IHHS, and Highway Loss Data Institute revealed in September 2022 that thefts of these vehicles were nearly twice as common as cars such as the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Matt Moore, HLDI’s Senior Vice President, said: “Car theft spiked during the pandemic.

“These numbers tell us that some vehicles may be targeted because they’re fast or worth a lot of money, and others because they’re easy to steal.”

The insurance institute’s report also said the vehicles lack electronic mobilisers that can hinder a thief’s ability to steal a car from just breaking into the car and bypassing the ignition.

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But once immobilisers were added to the cars, Moore said, vehicle thefts of Kias and Hyundais “plunged’.

However, it appears the companies have only stopped offering insurance for these vehicles in certain cities.

According to police data, Kia and Hyundai vehicle thefts are up as much as 300 percent over the past two years in some cities.

In Chicago, data from August 2022 shows thefts of those particular vehicles had soared to 800 percent, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart confirmed.

Dart said: “The viral nature of how this has taken off on social media — it’s accelerated this like we’ve never seen. [The perpetrators are] doing it in 20 to 30 seconds. It literally is as old-fashioned as you can imagine.”

State Farm’s full statement said: “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. This is a serious problem impacting our customers and the entire auto insurance industry.”

Mr Sibel of Progressive said: “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.Given that we price our policies based on the level of risk they represent, this explosive increase in thefts in many cases makes these vehicles extremely challenging for us to insure. In response, in some geographic areas we have increased our rates and limited our sale of new insurance policies on some of these models.”

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.