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HLDI News | May 25, 1999Subscribe

Utility vehicles have highest theft losses for 4th year in a row; worst overall theft loss result is 12 times higher than average

ARLINGTON, Va. — Three of the five passenger vehicles with the highest insurance losses for theft are utility vehicles — the Range Rover, Mitsubishi Montero, and Montero Sport. This is the fourth year in a row utility vehicles have dominated the "worst" list. Overall theft losses for the 1996-98 Range Rover are more than 12 times higher than the average for all cars.

Worst theft losses

Of the 10 passenger vehicles (1996-98 models) with the worst overall theft losses, 4 are utility vehicles, 3 are luxury cars, and 3 are small or midsize models. All 10 have results that are more than three times the average for all cars (see attached list, which also shows vehicles with the highest frequencies of theft claims and vehicles with the largest insurance payments per theft claim). These findings are published by the Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate organization of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Theft trend over time

During the 1980-98 model years, the frequency of theft claims declined. The 1998 models registered only 2.5 insurance theft claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years during their first year, compared with 3.5 claims per 1,000 for 1997 models. Average loss payments per claim also declined, and the combination of these factors means the average overall theft loss is almost 30 percent lower for 1998 models than for 1997s. "The continuing decline in theft frequency is good news, and some of it is because of the sophisticated antitheft devices that are on more and more new cars," HLDI senior vice president Kim Hazelbaker points out. "On the other hand, professional thieves are more likely to ship the cars they steal out of the country, which lessens the chances for recovery."

Worst theft loss results
Overall theft losses, or relative average loss payments per insured vehicle year (100 = all-vehicle average)
Land Rover Range Rover (long wheelbase)1 1996-98 model years midsize SUV 1,253
Mercedes S class (long wheelbase)1 1996-98 model years very large luxury 4dr car 920
Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4x4 1997-98 model years midsize 4dr SUV 637
Acura Integra 1996-98 model years small 2dr car 558
Mitsubishi Montero 4x4 1996-98 model years midsize 4dr SUV 528
Lexus LS 4002 1996-98 model years large luxury 4dr car 481
Acura Integra 1996-98 model years small 4dr car 427
Nissan Maxima 1996-98 model years midsize 4dr car 424
BMW 7 series (long wheelbase)1 1996-98 model years very large luxury 4dr car 411
Toyota 4Runner 4x4 1996-98 model years midsize 4dr SUV 352
Relative claim frequencies (100 = all-vehicle average)
Jeep Wrangler 4x4 1997-98 model years small SUV 445
Geo Tracker 1996-98 model years small 2dr SUV 418
Acura Integra 1996-98 model years small 2dr car 395
Acura Integra 1996-98 model years small 4dr car 318
Geo Tracker 4x4 1996-98 model years small 2dr SUV 237
Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4x4 1997-98 model years midsize SUV 219
Plymouth Neon 1996-98 model years small 2dr car 217
Dodge Neon 1996-98 model years small 2dr car 211
Honda Civic 1996-98 model years small 2dr car 207
Nissan Maxima 1996-98 model years midsize 4dr car 203
Relative average loss payments per claim (100 = all-vehicle average)
Mercedes S class (long wheelbase)1 1996-98 model years very large luxury 4dr car 666
Land Rover Range Rover (long wheelbase)1 1996-98 model years midsize SUV 642
BMW 7 series (long wheelbase)1 1996-98 model years very large luxury 4dr car 540
Lexus LS 4002 1996-98 model years large luxury 4dr car 416
BMW 3 series1 1996-98 model years midsize luxury car 334
Mercedes E class1 1996-98 model years large luxury 4dr car 318
Mitsubishi Montero 4x4 1996-98 model years midsize 4dr SUV 302
Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4x4 1997-98 model years midsize 4dr SUV 291
Toyota 4Runner 4x4 1996-98 model years midsize 4dr SUV 254
BMW 5 series1 1997-98 model years large luxury 4dr car 249
1 All model years equipped with standard passive immobilizing antitheft devices
2 Only 1997-98 models equipped with standard passive immobilizing antitheft devices

Theft claim frequency and average loss payment per claim, by model year

Graph image

  Claim
frequency
Average loss
payment
1980 15.2 $1,121
1981 14.0 $1,465
1982 14.0 $1,535
1983 11.8 $1,742
1984 10.9 $1,831
1985 10.7 $1,943
1986 9.9 $1,958
1987 9.6 $2,308
1988 8.2 $2,458
1989 7.4 $2,487
1990 6.7 $2,608
1991 6.3 $3,312
1992 5.2 $3,815
1993 4.6 $4,176
1994 4.5 $4,693
1995 4.3 $5,529
1996 3.7 $5,685
1997 3.5 $5,936
1998 2.5 $5,816
Note: Frequencies are per 1,000 insured vehicle years. Loss payments are in nominal, not constant, dollars. Results are based on 3 years of exposure except 1997 (2 years) and 1998 (1 year).

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