Insurance Organization Releases Annual Vehicle-Theft Rankings

Auto thieves once again made off with more Hondas and Toyotas than any other makes of car in 2010, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) annual list of the most-stolen vehicles in the United States.

For the first time in nearly a dCar theftecade, however, domestic makes accounted for a majority of the top 10, with Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet taking a combined six of the top spots.

Vehicle thefts continued on a downward trend last year, with preliminary FBI crime figures showing a 7.2 percent reduction from 2009. The agency reported a 17.1 percent drop in auto thefts in 2009, with a total of nearly 795,000 vehicles stolen.

“Overall, the theft picture is improving,” NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi said in a phone interview.

According to list, the most-stolen vehicles in 2010 were:

1. 1994 Honda Accord

2. 1995 Honda Civic

3. 1991 Toyota Camry

4. 1999 Chevrolet Pickup

5. 1997 Ford F150 Pickup

6. 2004 Dodge Ram

7. 2000 Dodge Caravan

8. 1994 Acura Integra

9. 2002 Ford Explorer

10. 1999 Ford Taurus

NICB’s Hot Wheels report is based on all thefts entered into the National Crime Information Center database by law enforcement agencies across the country. Because it includes all auto thefts—not just those reported to insurers—the report provides a more complete picture of auto thefts than many other studies, NICB officials say.

Some thefts are not noted in studies based on claims submitted to insurance companies because owners of older vehicles often do not bother carrying comprehensive policies that protect against theft. But many thieves prize older cars because they can be easily sold for parts.

Comprehensive coverage protects policyholders financially against vandalism and weather damage, in addition to theft. Consumer advocates say owners of vehicles with high theft rates should compare car insurance quotes online before choosing a policy. The price of comprehensive insurance may be higher for a particular model if an insurer’s claims data show it to be at a higher-than-average risk of being stolen.

Scafidi said that while the rankings are valuable, consumers should not read too much into them. That’s because, while the list notes which cars were stolen the most, it is impossible to say how likely a vehicle is to be stolen without accounting for a host of other factors, including how many cars of the same make and model were registered in a given area.

“If you’re driving a ’94 Accord and you’re reading this, don’t go up on the roof and jump,” Scafidi said.

NICB officials said improved technology in newer vehicles is a key factor in the decline in theft rates.

Of the nearly 52,000 Honda Accords stolen last year, for example, more than 44,000—about 85 percent—were manufactured in the 1990s. Fewer than 5,700 Accords made since 2000 were stolen last year, according to NICB.

The full list of most-stolen vehicles can be found on the NICB website.

About Gregor McGavin
Gregor McGavin is an award-winning journalist who has reported across the country for such publications as The Associated Press, the Arizona Republic, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Press-Enterprise.

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