19 Jun Why Are Some Vehicles Suddenly Uninsurable?
If you’ve been following the news, you’ve no doubt come across a headline or two about certain insurance companies refusing to provide coverage for specific vehicles in various states. Why did this happen? Why are some vehicles suddenly uninsurable, leaving their owners exposed to either paying very high premiums or finding alternative types of insurance? It all comes down to three things, specific auto manufacturers, the TikTok app, and car thieves.
Certain Hyundai and Kia Models
The main problem lies with Hyundai and Kia vehicles made between the years of 2011 and 2022. In order to save money, or for some other reason that hasn’t yet been admitted, the manufacturers decided to do away with a safety device called the engine immobilizer. This device is designed to prevent the car from starting without the key present (Yes, even those standard keys have a microchip that the car can detect.).
Without the engine immobilizer, these vehicles are very easy to steal. All that the thief needs is a USB cable or thumb drive, as well as a screwdriver, and the car is theirs; after they break into the steering column, of course. Although car thieves have been using a number of different methods for decades in order to practice their illicit trade, things have changed a bit, thanks to social media.
The Role of Social Media
There’s a social media app called TikTok that allows users to upload videos to their accounts and share them with their followers, or, depending on their settings, everyone who has the app or can access it from a computer. This has led to a number of TikTok challenges, some of which have deadly consequences, as well as lighthearted content like TikTok dances. Either way, impressionable teens use the app and allow it to influence their actions.
This is how word spread about how easy these vehicles were to steal. As a result, a wave of car thefts, featuring Hyundais and Kias, swept the country. Some areas had higher theft rates than others, but for the most part, over 60% of all stolen vehicles in the last few years have been from these two manufacturers.
How Car Insurers Responded
Since high rates of auto theft force auto insurance companies to pay out a large number of claims, they’ve responded by no longer insuring certain Hyundai and Kia models in specific states that had a higher rate of theft than usual. Several of these companies are the larger ones that many people have heard of, such as Progressive, Allstate, and State Farm. If you already have a policy on one of these cars through them, then it’s still valid. However, they aren’t taking on new policies for Kias and Hyundais.
What Can You Do?
Thankfully, Kia and Hyundai released some software updates that add the engine immobilizer to the car’s programming, making it harder to steal. On top of this, you can always use an external device, like a steering column lock, to add an additional layer of protection.
If you have a Kia or Hyundai, or are thinking of buying one, and wondering about the insurance implications, give us a call! Our team is happy to help.