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Status Report, Vol. 35, No. 5 | May 13, 2000 Subscribe

Mercedes-Benz model leads theft losses

The Mercedes S class, a very large luxury car, heads the list of passenger vehicles with the highest insurance losses for theft. Overall losses for this car are 10 times higher than the average for all passenger cars. This is the first time in five years that a utility vehicle hasn't topped the list of vehicles with the worst theft losses, which are published annually by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

"The Mercedes S class has appeared on the 10 worst list for 5 years. It's obviously an attractive target for professional thieves because of its value," says Kim Hazelbaker, HLDI senior vice president.

The two-door Acura Integra has the second worst result, with losses also 10 times higher than the average among 1997-99 passenger vehicles. These high overall losses are produced by different factors, Hazelbaker explains. The Mercedes has extremely high average loss payments per claim, while the Acura's claim frequency is very high.

The four-door Integra has the third highest overall theft loss result. Now Honda, which manufactures Acuras, has equipped all Integras for the 2000 model year with passive immobilizing antitheft devices.

During the 1980-99 model years, theft claim frequencies have declined significantly, but this trend has been mostly offset by increasing theft losses per claim. In 1999, the last year for which information is available, the average theft loss payment per claim also declined.

Worst overall theft losses

Make and series Model years Size and type Result
Mercedes S class long wheelbase 1997-99 Very large luxury 4dr car 1001
Acura Integra 1997-99 Small 2dr car 996
Acura Integra 1997-99 Small 4dr car 757
Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4WD 1997-99 Midsize 4dr utility vehicle 616
Mercedes SL class convertible 1997-99 Small sports car 539
Nissan Maxima 1997-99 Midsize 4dr car 509
Lexus GS 300/400 1997-99 Large luxury 4dr car 421
BMW 3 series 1997-99 Midsize luxury 2dr car 409
BMW 7 series long wheelbase 1997-99 Very large luxury 4dr car 387
Lincoln Navigator 4WD 1998-99 Large 4dr utility vehicle 387
Note: Results are relative average loss payments per insured vehicle year; 100 represents the average for all cars.

Insurance theft claim frequencies and average loss payments per claim, 1980-99

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