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HLDI News | August 21, 2003Subscribe

Cadillac Escalade SUV is top theft target & has worst overall insurance theft losses

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Cadillac Escalade SUV has the most frequent theft claims among 2000-02 model passenger vehicles. Its theft claim frequency is about 4 times the average for all vehicles.

These are the latest insurance theft loss results published by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"The Escalade has both the highest theft claim frequency and the worst overall theft losses — 10 times the average for all vehicles — indicating it's a top target for thieves," says Kim Hazelbaker, HLDI senior vice president. "The Escalade's theft losses are the highest even though it's equipped with a standard antitheft ignition immobilizer. These immobilizers have reduced thefts of other vehicles, but we don't know why they don't seem to be effective for the Escalade."

Passenger vehicles with highest theft claim frequencies, 2000-02 models
Make/seriesSize/typeFrequency
(claims per 1,000
insured vehicle years)
Cadillac Escalade 4WDlarge SUV10.3
Dodge Stratusmidsize 4-door car8.7
Mitsubishi Miragesmall 2-door car7.2
Jeep Wrangler 4WDsmall SUV7.2
Lincoln Navigator 2WDlarge SUV6.6
Dodge Intrepidlarge 4-door car5.8
Lincoln Navigator 4WDlarge SUV5.7
Dodge Ram 1500 serieslarge pickup5.6
Ford Expedition 2WDlarge SUV5.6
Chrysler Sebringmidsize 4-door car5.5
 Average all cars2.6

The vehicle that topped last year's list, the Integra, was redesigned in 2002 and renamed the RSX. So far the RSX doesn't have the same high rate of theft claims as the Integra.

"Theft investigators believe the old Acura Integra was targeted by car thieves for its parts, including the engine, which then were sold to people who modify Honda Civics," Hazelbaker says. "These same components also are interchangeable between the RSX and the new Civic. We'll have to wait and see whether the RSX becomes a target."

HLDI results are the only reported theft results based on the number of insured vehicles. Information on insurance theft losses published by the National Insurance Crime Bureau and CCC Information Services doesn't take into account how many of each vehicle are insured, so the most popular vehicles on the road tend to top these organizations' lists of most-stolen vehicles. In contrast, HLDI identifies vehicles with the worst theft losses by counting the number of claims by make and model relative to the number of each make and model insured, indicating which vehicles are more likely to be targets.

Overall theft losses (stated as average loss payments per insured vehicle year) reflect both how often claims are made for particular vehicles and the cost of the claims. The Escalade tops the list of vehicles with the worst overall theft losses (see table below).

Since 1980 overall theft claim frequencies have declined while average insurance payments per claim have increased, although these trends have leveled off in recent years (see graph below). Some of the decline in claim frequencies and overall losses reflects the increased installation of immobilizing antitheft devices in many new vehicles.

Passenger vehicles with highest overall insurance theft losses, 2000-02 models
Make/seriesSize/typeAverage loss
payment per
insured vehicle year
Cadillac Escalade 4WDlarge SUV$167
Chevrolet Corvette convertiblesmall 2-door sports car$75
Lincoln Navigator 4WDlarge SUV$71
BMW X5 4WDmidsize SUV$67
BMW 3 series convertiblemidsize 2-door luxury car$63
Lincoln Navigator 2WDlarge SUV$62
Lexus LX series 4WDlarge SUV$61
Chevrolet Corvettesmall 2-door sports car$59
Lexus IS 300midsize 4-door luxury car$59
Audi A4/S4 Quattromidsize 4-door car$55
 Average all cars$15

Insurance theft claim frequencies and average loss payments per claim, 1980-2002 models

Graph image

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