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HLDI News | April 23, 1997Subscribe

Utility vehicles repeat with highest theft losses; worst loss result is 160 times higher than best; BMW, GM reduce losses with antitheft devices

ARLINGTON, Va. — For the second straight year, the two passenger vehicles with the highest insurance losses for theft are the Toyota Land Cruiser and Mitsubishi Montero, both midsize four-wheel-drive utility vehicles. Theft losses for the Land Cruiser are more than 160 times worse than the losses for the car with the best theft experience, the Mercury Sable sedan.

The tables below show the 20 passenger vehicles with the best and worst overall theft losses among 1994-96 models. All 10 passenger vehicles with the worst losses are either luxury or sports cars or utility vehicles. The 10 with the best theft results have losses one-fourth or less than the average. Six of the 10 best are from General Motors, and five of them are Buicks.

Long-term theft trends show a declining frequency of insurance claims for thefts and an increasing average loss payment per theft claim. Because these trends offset each other, overall insurance theft losses have changed very little during the past 18 model years.

Special Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) studies show that theft claim frequencies might be declining in part because of increasing availability of sophisticated antitheft devices. "In recent model years," HLDI Senior Vice President Kim Hazelbaker explains, "improved antitheft devices from BMW, General Motors, and others have reduced their theft losses significantly."

Best: 10 passenger vehicles with lowest theft loss results (100=average)
ModelSizeRelative theft losses
Mercury Sable 4-doormidsize car12
Saab 900 4-doormidsize car13
Buick Park Avenue 4-doorlarge car13
Buick Regal 2-doormidsize car13
Buick Regal 4-doormidsize car14
Buick Roadmaster station wagonlarge car15
Volvo 940/960 station wagonmidsize luxury car18
Chevrolet Caprice station wagonlarge car18
Mercury Tracer station wagonsmall car19
Buick LeSabre 4-doorlarge car20
Worst: 10 passenger vehicles with highest theft loss results (100=average)
ModelSizeRelative theft losses
Toyota Land Cruisermidsize utility vehicle
2,022
Mitsubishi Montero 4-wheel drivemidsize utility vehicle
1,357
Mercedes S-class long wheelbaselarge luxury car1,033
Mercedes SL-class convertiblesmall sports car1,019
Lexus GS 300midsize luxury car695
Lexus LS 400large luxury car552
Lexus SC 300/400midsize luxury car491
Chevrolet Corvette convertiblesmall sports car437
BMW 3 Series 2-doormidsize luxury car433
Chevrolet Corvettesmall sports car416
Theft losses are compared according to relative average loss payments per insured vehicle year (100 = average). Results for other passenger vehicle models will be available this fall.

Theft claim frequencies and average loss payment per claim

Graph image

Note: Claim frequencies are claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years. All loss payment results are in nominal, not constant, dollar amounts. Results are based on 3 years of availability except 1995 (based on 2 years) and 1996 (1 year).

©1996-2014, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org