US insurance companies refuse to insure some KIA and HYUNDAI models
Certain models from both brands are so easy to steal that it has led to a significant increase in the number of stolen cars in specific cities.
The issue applies only to Kia and Hyundai vehicles that have a physical key, were made in the past 15 years, and were produced for the North American market. However, insurance companies do not differentiate between these models and refuse to provide coverage for any Kia or Hyundai, regardless of whether they are affected by this issue or not.
A delicate situation
When we reached out to multiple insurance companies in the US to insure their Kia Soul, one of them replied:
“Due to the high theft risk in certain areas, we have revised our policy on the vehicles we are willing to insure.”
Similar responses were received from other insurance providers. While some companies do provide coverage for Kia and Hyundai vehicles in the US, they often charge significantly higher premiums, such as $350 per month.
Looks like a PR disaster
Both brands have not adequately responded to the issue, and instead of issuing a recall, Hyundai is offering a security package that must be installed at its dealerships for $500. This solution seems rather insufficient for such a serious problem, and the brands should take note from the Takata airbag recall. At the very least, they could install immobilizers and trackers on their cars free of charge to avoid an even more significant public relations disaster.
In certain US cities like Columbus or Los Angeles, as much as 20% to 38% of the reported stolen cars belong to either Kia or Hyundai. This not only negatively impacts the owners of the stolen vehicles who may struggle to sell their cars due to the frequent thefts and resulting loss in value, but it also damages the reputation of both brands in North America. These brands have worked hard to shake off the perception of being “cheap cars,” and the high rate of theft can discourage potential customers from buying their cars in the future.
A joint letter was sent by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, and the International Association of Special Investigative Units to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, requesting the removal of “how-to” videos that provide step-by-step instructions on how to steal Kia and Hyundai cars.
According to the statement from the NICB, since the appearance of instructional videos on platforms such as YouTube and TikTok, many police departments in the US have reported significant increases in thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
Matthew Smith, the executive director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, has stated that insurance fraud is a crime that affects everyone. He also mentioned that posting tutorial videos on how to steal Kia and Hyundai cars hurts American consumers, leading to more car thefts and higher premiums. Smith believes it’s time for such practices to stop, and everyone should work together to combat insurance fraud.
According to Celeste Dodson, the president of the International Association of Special Investigative Units, the online sharing of tools and techniques by criminals through videos has a negative impact on all consumers. Dodson further explained that vehicle theft is often just the beginning of other criminal activities, including insurance fraud, and the costs of these crimes are eventually passed on to consumers through higher premiums.
The letter addressed to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki highlights that although other social media platforms like TikTok should also take action to prevent such videos from being shared, YouTube has not done enough to remove them from its platform.