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Bling is still the rage among car thieves

Des Toups

By

CarInsurance.com

Why you're a bad driver, and I'm not

Escalade owners, make sure you buy rental-car coverage.

One out of every 100 of you will lose your car to a thief this year, and if we can hazard a wild guess about your lives, it's that fans of $60,000 Cadillac SUVs probably don't have a bus pass.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an industry association that tracks these sorts of things, today released its 2011 list of most-stolen models, gauged by the frequency and size of their insurance claims. The 2008-2010 Escalade topped the list, stolen at a rate six times that of the average vehicle. The average claim against the owner's comprehensive coverage, the part that covers theft, was $10,555.

The Escalade has topped the IIHS list for a decade.

High-dollar pickup trucks dominate the rest of the top 10, despite the rise of anti-theft technologies such as engine immobilizers that prevent hot-wiring.

"Immobilizers are a good deterrent against joy-riding teenagers, but professional thieves can easily haul away an SUV on a flatbed truck," says HLDI senior vice president Kim Hazelbaker. "A pickup that can't be driven away is still vulnerable to having tools and cargo snatched from its bed."

The list of least -targeted (or most-shunned, depending on your point of view) vehicles is topped by the Audi A6 luxury sedan and the Mercury Mariner, a now-defunct small SUV. Each has a claim frequency of 0.5 per 1,000 insured vehicle years.

You'll find the most- and least-stolen cars overall, plus the most- and least-stolen passenger cars, sports cars and luxury cars, below.

Affects your rates? Not that much

The IIHS says its list highlights the models specifically targeted by thieves because it compares the numbers of insured theft claims for a particular model against how many were sold. The National Insurance Crime Bureau's similar-sounding "Hot Wheels" list goes by raw numbers and is led perpetually by some kind of older, ubiquitous Honda or Toyota, the vast majority of which are not insured for theft.

We're not sure that ranking on either list is much of an honor, but it's also not necessarily a red flag for car buyers. Among the dozens of moving parts that make up your car insurance rate, theft isn't a particularly good indicator of how much you'll pay to insure one car versus another.

When we ran the numbers on rates for a 37-year-old driving an Escalade EXT in Fresno, Calif. (long a hotbed of car thievery), the comprehensive portion of the quotes ranged from just $132 to $440. Rather than shopping for a less theft-prone vehicle, Escalade owners are far better served by shopping for another insurance company: We found full-coverage quotes from $1,389 to $2,133 a year.

Comprehensive coverage just isn't a major killer; your own driving record and the specific model's collision history (do they fall apart when tapped?) are much bigger factors.

Below is a peek at the most- and least-stolen vehicles in several categories.

IIHS measures claims frequency in insured vehicle years; one car insured for one year is one insured vehicle year. The claims frequencies below are thefts per 1,000 insured vehicle years.

Least-stolen non-luxury Claims frequency Average loss
Volkswagen Passat CC 0.58 $7,098
Chevrolet Aveo 0.63 $7,642
Mini Cooper Clubman 0.66 $1,883
Volkswagen Eos convertible 0.73 $9,910
Mazda 3 0.74 $2,758
Mazda 5 0.75 $5,023
Buick Lucerne 0.78 $6,282
Saturn Aura 0.79 $3,301
Pontiac Vibe 0.79 $2,182
Mazda 6 0.79 $3,872
Volkswagen New Beetle 0.8 $5,027
Mini Cooper 0.82 $3,103
Honda Odyssey 0.82 $5,620
Kia Sedona 0.86 $5,307
Toyota Prius Hybrid 0.88 $3,720
Hyundai Elantra 0.89 $5,887
Toyota Sienna 4WD 0.9 $9,780
Subaru Impreza 4WD 0.91 $3,899
Volvo S40 0.91 $4,666
Toyota Yaris 0.93 $3,399
Most-stolen non-luxuryClaims frequencyAverage loss
Chrysler 300 7.07 $5,509
Chrysler 300 HEMI 6.28 $8,294
Dodge Charger HEMI 5.64 $10,158
Nissan Maxima 5.23 $5,121
Dodge Charger 4.76 $5,749
Honda Civic Si 3.94 $8,328
Dodge Challenger 3.47 $7,141
Honda Accord 3.44 $5,881
Honda Fit 2.97 $3,358
Honda Civic Si 2.56 $8,456
Scion tC 2.31 $6,001
Mitsubishi Eclipse 2.17 $6,120
Scion xB 2.06 $4,971
Dodge Avenger 2.05 $5,574
Subaru Impreza WRX 4WD 2.02 $7,722
Chrysler Sebring convertible 1.89 $7,840
Chevrolet Impala 1.85 $5,163
Ford Fusion 1.79 $4,655
Chrysler Town & Country LWB 1.78 $3,829
Mitsubishi Lancer 1.77 $6,456
Least-stolen sports and luxuryClaims frequencyAverage loss
Audi A6 Quattro 4dr 4WD 0.48 $16,882
BMW 5 series 4dr 4WD 0.66 $12,200
Hyundai Genesis 4dr 0.77 $9,197
BMW 3 series 4dr 4WD 0.79 $2,951
Audi A4 Quattro 4dr 4WD 0.79 $6,028
BMW 3 series 4dr 0.81 $7,309
Volvo V70 station wagon 4WD 0.83 $6,197
Cadillac CTS 4dr 0.83 $8,471
BMW 3 series 2dr 4WD 0.84 $3,692
Saab 9-3 4dr 0.88 $5,186
Cadillac CTS 4dr 4WD 0.89 $6,423
Lexus IS 250 4dr 4WD 0.89 $7,419
Lexus ES 350 4dr 0.92 $6,579
Lexus LS 460 4dr 0.94 $19,456
BMW 5 series 4dr 0.95 $8,782
BMW 3 series convertible 0.97 $10,313
Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible 0.98 $3,640
Lexus GS 350 4dr 0.98 $11,372
Mercedes Benz C class 4dr 4WD 1.02 $7,645
Acura TL 4dr 1.05 $8,309
Most-stolen sports and luxuryClaims frequencyAverage loss
Infiniti G37 2dr 5.77 $5,754
Lincoln MKS 4dr 4.08 $7,597
Cadillac DTS 4dr 1.97 $5,257
Chevrolet Camaro 2dr 1.82 $7,510
Chevrolet Corvette 1.82 $12,562
Mercedes Benz S class 4dr LWB 4WD 1.78 $41,804
Lincoln MKZ 4dr 4WD 1.50 $8,821
Lincoln MKZ 4dr 1.38 $7,257
Infiniti G37 4dr 4WD 1.34 $8,247
Mercedes Benz S class 4dr LWB 1.28 $18,009
Jaguar XF 4dr 1.24 $13,647
BMW 3 series 2dr 1.23 $6,049
Lexus IS 250 4dr 1.14 $8,829
Mercedes Benz C class 4dr 1.13 $7,342
Saturn Sky convertible 1.13 $4,455
Acura TL 4dr 1.05 $8,309
Mercedes Benz C class 4dr 4WD 1.02 $7,645
Lexus GS 350 4dr 0.98 $11,372
Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible 0.98 $3,640
BMW 3 series convertible 0.97 $10,313
Highest claim rates overallClaims frequencyAverage loss
Cadillac Escalade (4 versions) 10.8 $10,555
Ford F-250 crew 4WD 9.7 $9,496
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew 9.2 $4,948
Ford F-450 crew 4WD 7.9 $11,701
GMC Sierra 1500 crew 7.3 $6,022
Chrysler 300 7.1 $5,509
Ford F-350 crew 4WD 7.0 $9,088
Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 6.4 $6,689
GMC Yukon 6.4 $6,645
Chrysler 300 HEMI 6.3 $8,294
Lowest claim rates overallClaims frequencyAverage loss
Audi A6 4WD 0.5 $16,882
Mercury Mariner (2009-10) 0.5 $1,970
Chevrolet Equinox (2010) 0.6 $2,069
Volkswagen CC (2009-10) 0.6 $7,098
Chevrolet Equinox 4WD (2010) 0.6 $4,870
Lexus RX 350 (2010) 0.6 $6,084
Saturn Vue 0.6 $3,747
Chevrolet Aveo (2009-10) 0.6 $7,642
BMW 5 series 4WD 0.7 $12,200
Mini Cooper Clubman 0.7 $1,883
All passenger vehicles 1.7$6,767

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