Imagine wanting to write a check to an insurance company, only to receive a polite “no, thanks.”
Both State Farm and Progressive have stopped writing policies in at least a handful of U.S. cities for some older Hyundai and Kia models because the cars lack basic auto-theft prevention technology and are thought to be easy to steal.
Highway Loss Data Institute, a nonprofit scientific and educational group, released a report in September 2022 that found that many 2015-19 Hyundai and Kia models were targets because they lack immobilizers. Immobilizers are electronic devices that prevent a car from starting unless you have the right key – making it difficult for carjackers to “hot wire” the vehicle.
Immobilizers are now standard equipment on many cars, including newer Hyundai and Kia models.
Why are auto insurers declining to write policies for Hyundai and Kia cars?
Both State Farm and Progressive, when asked by CarInsurance.com about not insuring the cars, cited theft as a key concern. Progressive said theft rates for certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles have more than tripled and that in some markets, those vehicles are almost 20 times more likely to be stolen than other vehicles.
Both insurance companies said they would continue to monitor the situation and will adjust their pricing and acceptance policies if they see changes.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that some insurance companies are reluctant to write policies for vehicles that lack anti-theft and safety features, says Jesse Cunningham, a Bel Air, Maryland-based licensed insurance agent and the owner of Bauple.com.
“Car insurance companies use data to protect themselves from loss,” Cunningham says. “That’s why many insurers charge higher premiums for male drivers or drivers with a history of accidents.”
Auto insurance companies may also refuse to write policies for other types of vehicles, he says.
“Many popular insurance companies also don’t insure luxury or expensive cars,” Cunningham says.
Learn more about how car thefts are up again in 2021 after a pre-pandemic decline
Tips for getting coverage for hard-to-insure cars
If you’re struggling to get car insurance because your vehicle is considered a theft risk because it’s a collectable, or for some other reason, don’t give up. There are several things you can do to obtain a policy.
Contact the manufacturer about cars that are easy to steal
If your vehicle is lacking up-to-date theft technology, you might want to first see if the car’s manufacturer is addressing the problem.
Kia, in mid-February 2023, said that it completed development of upgraded security software for certain models not originally equipped with immobilizers. The company said it has started notifying owners about the software enhancement, which it expects to make available in the next few months to owners at no cost.
The company also said its offering – through local law enforcement agencies – free steering wheel locks to those who own or lease an affected model.
Hyundai, also in mid-February, started rolling out a free software upgrade for its vehicles without push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices. The company said the upgrade, initially available for 2017-20 Elantra, 2015-19 Sonata and 2020-21 Venue vehicles, can be made in less than an hour at dealer locations.
The company noted that there are some 2011-22 vehicles that can’t be upgraded and, for owners of those cars, it’s putting together a steering-wheel-lock reimbursement program.
Update anti-theft devices for Hyundai and Kia vehicles
You can also talk to your insurance carrier about installing a car alarm, GPS tracker or other anti-theft devices, says Lauren Mckenzie, an insurance broker with A Plus Insurance.
“Most companies that are excluding these higher risk vehicles have it programmed in their quoting system, where it will automatically block or refuse a quote based on the year, make, model or by the VIN [vehicle identification number],” she says.
“If you own a vehicle that has been blocked, some companies may require additional information, which would be reviewed by an underwriter to evaluate the risk and determine if it is something they want to insure.”
If you’re having a hard time finding the right insurer for a classic, collectable or custom car, there are insurance companies that focus on these vehicles, Cunningham says. Grundy, Hagerty and J.C. Taylor are just a few of these speciality insurers.
Shop around if your insurer is refusing to cover your car model
While this type of coverage is similar to standard car insurance, there are some key differences, including how the vehicle is valued if it’s totaled and how often it can be driven.
But whether it’s a high-value collectable or a reliable Kia, if an insurer refuses to cover your car, keep shopping around. Each insurer has its own criteria for deciding which cars it will cover. So, don’t assume that a rejection by one or two insurers means nobody wants your business.
Another good bet is to contact an independent insurance agent. If you have a luxury or speciality vehicle, Cunningham says, “an agent can find quotes from insurance companies that specialize in insuring those cars.”
Learn more about how to estimate the cost of car insurance in 2023 quickly using our estimator tool
Resource & Methodology
- CNN. “Some auto insurers are refusing to cover certain Hyundai and Kia models.” Accessed February 2023.
- Insurance Information Institute. “What if I can’t find auto coverage?” Accessed February 2023.