Toyota (TM) and Honda (HMC) vehicles were the vehicles most frequently stolen in 2016, according to vehicle theft data released by Nationwide Mutual Insurance this week. Nationwide shared the data with The Associated Press ahead of being subpoenaed in a lawsuit brought by the estate of The Walking Dead’s favorite villain, Negan.
“Keeping up with these data sets will be an ongoing battle in law enforcement, so we thought it was worth doing our part,” Shawn Dominguez, the group’s chief of strategic initiatives, said in a statement. “This is a glaring issue within the [vehicle theft insurance] industry that all carriers face. ”
Nationwide’s record high vehicle theft rate was influenced by it sending more high-value vehicles to its “stolen valuables” rating system, where other companies on the list were indirectly impacted. The company noted that 65 percent of all stolen vehicles in 2016 had insurance coverage. The lawsuit revolves around a 2014 arrest in Georgia of Steven Yates, who had a screener for Nationwide, as he intended to steal Mercedes Benz and Lexus vehicles in order to sell them to the highest bidder on the black market. The company has argued that insurance fraud is an issue to be resolved, and not a result of any changes it has made to its practices, but the recent release of vehicle theft information will likely lead to more questions about how auto insurance works, and who should pay if thefts go up.
New vehicle thefts will probably continue to rise in the years to come. In 2016, it was the fifth most common reason used vehicles were stolen, one of the most common reasons cars and trucks are stolen at all, and often the only reason cars are stolen, according to the FBI. Millions of vehicles are stolen each year; some vehicles are routinely stolen three or four times before ever being recovered. Insurers earn a 30-year guarantee that the car they sold will still be theirs when the clock reaches zero, the “30-year” being the loss experience number manufacturers refer to when evaluating the expected lifespan of the vehicle. This is useful for calculating how much money the insured can expect to receive when they sell the car back to the insurer, and is often a key factor when determining insurance rates.
A report in September from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety noted, “vehicle theft continues to be a significant and costly problem for insurers and the industry and is being driven by a host of factors, including a number of relatively new and attractive ways for criminals to do it,” including the proliferation of dealerships that allow the public to buy used vehicles without requiring proof of insurance.
See the Honda Civic Owner’s Guide here.
Don’t Despair over Car Theft! Thieves increasingly targeting metal waste
Heart-stopping Moment Car Escapes Burly Wrecker With Knifepoints
How Toyota’s Major Improvements Increase Car Theft Risk