A few of the nation’s largest auto insurance companies have temporarily stopped accepting new clients who own certain types of Kias and Hyundais because of security flaws that make the vehicles vulnerable to theft.
A spokesperson for State Farm said the company for the time being will not approve new customer applications in some states for certain models and trims of Hyundai and Kia because theft losses have increased dramatically.
“This is a serious problem impacting our customers and the entire auto insurance industry,” the company said.
The spokesperson said State Farm has a responsibility to manage risk and the impact of excessive claim costs on customers, saying the company needed to take action to protect its business and policyholders.
CNN and other news outlets have reported that Progressive also isn’t approving any new policies for people who own Kias and Hyundais that officials have identified as containing security defects.
Kia and Hyundai thefts have skyrocketed in Dayton and in some other U.S. cities after viral videos circulated online showing that certain models that have insert keys can be easily hijacked and started using a basic USB cable.
Dayton police said in roughly the first eight months of 2022, they received 182 reports of Kias and Hyundais being stolen or entered by thieves who tried steal the vehicles, up 658% from 2021.
Overall, vehicle theft in Dayton was up 83% in 2022. It has continued this month, as Dayton police say thieves stole or tried to steal 67 cars between Jan. 2 and 8 alone.
Insurance fraud is a crime that everyone ends up paying for, said Matthew Smith, executive director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
The cost of these crimes is passed onto insurance consumers through higher premiums, officials said.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the International Association of Special Investigation Units recently sent a letter to YouTube urging the company to remove all videos on its platform that provide instructions on how to steal these vehicles.
Dayton police have urged people who own impacted Kias and Hyundais to obtain car alarms and immobilizers to limit the chance of theft.
The vehicles at high risk of theft have physical keys that are inserted into the ignition and were manufactured since 2011 for Kias and since 2015 for Hyundais.