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Is Your Car On The "Most Stolen" List?

By Abbey Wagner, InsWeb
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As we all know, there are many factors that influence our auto insurance costs, including what car we drive and where we live. When it comes to the car we drive, one of the factors that influence insurers is whether that car is frequently stolen. If your car is on the list of most stolen vehicles, most insurance companies will charge you a higher rate to insure it.

Non-profit organizations such as the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) track the most stolen vehicles in America by tallying all cars that are reported stolen by law enforcement agencies each year. The NICB's current top ten list of most stolen vehicles nationwide is as follows:

1. Toyota Camry
2. Honda Accord
3. Honda Civic
4. Oldsmobile Cutlass
5. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
6. Chevrolet Full-Size Pickup
7. Toyota Corolla
8. Ford Taurus
9. Chevrolet Caprice
10. Ford F-150 Pickup

Studies show that while thieves still prefer to steal cars over SUVs and trucks (approximately 70 percent of the most stolen vehicles in the U.S. are cars), the number of SUVs and trucks targeted by thieves is increasing each year.

The Areas With The Highest Levels Of Car Thefts

Another important factor for car theft numbers is the region in which you live. Thieves tend to target large metropolitan areas that are near ports or borders, in order to easily (illegally) export the car's parts. The NICB's top ten list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest vehicle theft rates in 2002 is as follows:

1. Phoenix, AZ
2. Fresno, CA
3. Modesto, CA
4. Stockton-Lodi, CA
5. Las Vegas, NV
6. Miami, FL
7. Sacramento, CA
8. Oakland, CA
9. Seattle, WA
10. Tacoma, WA

The NICB reports that FBI statistics show that vehicle theft increased 4.2 percent in the first six months of 2002 (compared to the same period of 2001). At the same time, vehicle recovery rate has declined in recent years. This makes it extremely important for drivers (especially those in areas that are commonly targeted for car theft or who drive cars popular to thieves) to protect themselves by installing devices such as steering wheel locks, alarms, cut-off switches and fuel disablers, and tracking devices that give police the location of a stolen vehicle. Not only could they save your car from being stolen or help authorities find it if it is, but they could also lower your insurance costs.

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