According to a survey released today by Progressive Insurance, in the U.S., more than one million vehicles were stolen in 2000; that’s 2,740 a day, 114 an hour and more than one vehicle stolen every minute. Yet, when it comes to protecting ourselves from car thieves, Americans appear to be throwing caution out the vehicle window.
In the survey, 55 percent of respondents said they leave their car doors unlocked, and 34 percent said they leave the windows open when leaving their vehicles unattended. Six percent of respondents said they leave the keys in unattended vehicles.
But many of the respondents apparently don’t think their behavior is careless: Thirty-three percent said they are not concerned at all about their vehicle being stolen.
The study, conducted by the company’s we site, progressive.com, also stressed the role that independent agents can play in educating their customers about vehicle theft and how it affects auto insurance premium. A whopping 77 percent of respondents said they would consult an insurance agent first to determine how vehicle theft affects their auto insurance premium. But 33 percent of respondents said that they would not be dissuaded from purchasing a vehicle they knew to have a higher theft rate.
The survey findings come on the heels of a vehicle theft report released on May 23, 2001 by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). According to the report, issued once every two years, the five vehicles with the worst theft losses are the Acura Integra (2-door and 4-door, first and second respectively), Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac Escalade, and the Lexus GS 300/400 series.
The five vehicles with the best theft losses according to HLDI are the Buick LeSabre, Saturn SW, Honda Odyssey, Oldsmobile Silhouette and the Ford Taurus.
Agents can help their customers understand that if they own a vehicle appearing on this “most stolen” list, they will likely have to pay more for comprehensive coverage, which covers vehicle theft.
According to Progressive, comprehensive coverage represents about 20 percent of a vehicle’s total premium and it can vary greatly depending on where you live, what you drive and the company you are insured with.
The following chart details comprehensive coverage costs for the Nissan Maxima (most stolen for ’97-’99) and the Honda Odyssey (least stolen for ’97-’99) in Fresno, Calif. (one of the highest theft cities) and Kansas City, Mo. (one of the lowest theft cities).
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