Pickups, luxury vehicles, and vehicles with large engines top the Highway Loss Data Institute’s (HLDI) list of vehicles most likely to be stolen. Electric vehicles occupy the other end of the spectrum and have traditionally been targeted less often by thieves.
That thing got a HEMI? You might want to run outside and check on it. The HEMI-powered Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat take the top two spots on the Highway Loss Data Institute’s (HLDI) list of vehicles most likely to be stolen. These two muscle cars, along with the Infiniti Q50, have whole-vehicle theft claim rates at five times the average for all 2016–18 vehicles. Whole-vehicle theft rate claims occur when the cost of the claim is greater than the value of the vehicle.
“The Highway Loss Data Institute has the insurance records of about 85 percent of the vehicles insured in the U.S. and those records include information about vehicle theft,” HLDI senior vice president Matt Moore said in a video uploaded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The top 20 models with the highest theft rate are mostly comprised of pickups, luxury vehicles, and vehicles with large engines. On the other end of the list are the least stolen vehicles, where the two-wheel drive version of the BMW 3 Series holds an envious position at the bottom. It’s followed closely by the Tesla Model S and Model X. HLDI suggests that electric vehicles are less likely targeted due to their close proximity to the houses where they get their juice. They are also usually parked in garages. A separate report from last year showed that electric cars in general have lower theft claim rates.
The Cadillac of stolen vehicles
The Cadillac Escalade, once the king of whole-vehicle thefts, is notably missing in action this year. HLDI says that the proliferation of large luxury SUVs have given thieves more choice. The Infiniti QX80 and Land Rover Range Rover took over for the Escalade and are now heavy targets. It doesn’t hurt that Cadillac has been adding more anti-theft features to the Escalade since 2015, including glass breakage sensors and motion detectors. There are also sensors that trigger an alarm when the car is put on an incline, as it would be if someone tried to remove the wheels or tow it away.
“The models most likely to be stolen tend to be powerful, pricey or pickups, but vehicle theft is also a crime of opportunity,” Moore said. “Better security features on all vehicles would be the best way to address the problem.”
10 vehicles with the highest claim frequencies for whole-vehicle theft (100 is average)
- Dodge Charger HEMI — 544
- Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat — 529
- Infiniti Q50 4-door — 525
- Infiniti QX80 — 422
- GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab — 393
- Dodge Challenger — 358
- Nissan Maxima — 351
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab — 320
- Chrysler 300 4WD — 293
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class 4-door long-wheelbase 4WD — 291
10 vehicles with the lowest claim frequencies for whole-vehicle theft (100 is average)
- BMW 3-series 4-door — 4
- Tesla Model S 4WD — 11
- Tesla Model X 4WD — 12
- Chevrolet Equinox 4WD — 15
- Buick Encore 4WD — 15
- Subaru Legacy with EyeSight — 17
- GMC Acadia — 19
- Subaru Forester with EyeSight — 20
- GMC Acadia 4WD — 20
- Volkswagen New Beetle — 21
Crunching the numbersThat thing got a HEMI? You might want to run outside and check on it
It should be noted that this study focuses on the rate of theft rather than overall theft. HLDI looks at claims per insured vehicle year, which indicates one vehicle insured for one year. This narrows down the risk for each vehicle relative to how many examples of it are on the road. Other stolen vehicle lists report total thefts, which means the most common vehicles will usually top the list.
The final results took demographic and geographic variables into consideration. Actual losses were standardized by calendar year, model year, garaging state, number of registered vehicles per square mile (vehicle density), driver age, gender, marital status, deductible, and risk. HLDI also looks at theft claims involving stolen vehicle parts and items taken from inside the vehicle.
“The 2016–18 model year passenger vehicles combined had a whole vehicle theft claim frequency of 0.27 claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years and an average loss payment per whole vehicle theft (claim severity) of $30,164, resulting in an average loss payment per insured vehicle year (overall loss) of $8,” the full report reads.