A vehicle is stolen an average of every 44 seconds in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These thefts cost drivers thousands of dollars and also cause insurance premiums to rise.
In 2020, there were 810,400 vehicles stolen, up 11.8% from 724,872 vehicles the year before, according to the Insurance Information Institute, which examined data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). A total of $7.4 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2020 with the average dollar loss per vehicle theft at $9,166, the FBI reported.
While the number of thefts have been trending downward since peaking at 1.7 million in 1991, experts say thieves continue to find new ways to acquire vehicles like switching vehicle identification numbers, obtaining smart keys/fobs and even using stolen identities to secure loans for vehicles.
The theft of catalytic converters have also risen dramatically, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB), costing car owners thousands of dollars in repairs. In 2020, there were 14,433 catalytic converter thefts reported, the NICB reported, a 325% increase from 3,389 thefts in 2019.
There are a number of ways you can try to prevent motor vehicle theft. The NHTSA has some recommendations:
- Park in well-lit areas
- Close all windows and lock your vehicle every time you walk away
- Do not leave your keys/fob in your vehicle
- Do not leave the area while your vehicle is running
- Never leave valuables inside your vehicle – especially where they can be seen
Adding layers of protection like immobilizing devices can help prevent thieves from hot-wiring your vehicle. The NICB recommends smart keys, fuse cut-offs, fuel pump disablers and wireless ignition authentication.
If you DO fall victim to vehicle theft, contact police immediately to file a stolen-vehicle report. You will need this police report to file an auto claim with MAPFRE Insurance. If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, you may be covered for the theft but your agent will discuss your specific coverage options with you.
Please Note: This content is not intended to describe any specific coverage offered by MAPFRE Insurance. No coverage is provided, bound or guaranteed by this article. Available coverages, credits and discounts vary from state to state and are subject to eligibility criteria and policy terms/conditions, which will control in the event of conflict between this article and your insurance policy. For information about your policy, please review your individual policy contract and speak with your insurance representative.
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