(NewsNation) — State Farm and Progressive, two major auto insurers, have stopped issuing policies for some older Hyundai and Kia models in certain cities, citing a large spike in theft of these vehicles.
CNN reports the companies have begun refusing coverage on Kia and Hyundai models manufactured between 2015 and 2019 in cities including Denver, Colorado, and St. Louis, Missouri, after deeming they are too easy to steal.
These models are missing basic auto theft prevention technology, standard to most other cars.
A report by the Highway Loss Data Institute confirmed Kia and Hyundai models from 2015 to 2019 are roughly twice as likely to be stolen as any other car from the same years because they lack electronic immobilizers.
According to the HLDI, only 26% of Kia and Hyundai 2015 models included immobilizers, compared to the 96% found in all other cars from the same year.
These immobilizers rely on a computer chip located in the vehicle communicating with a second chip in the car’s key. Without the right key, the immobilizer would prevent the car from moving. Vehicles without immobilizers can be stolen with just a screwdriver and a USB cable, making them easy to steal.
Theft of these vehicles shot up in 2021 when a social media challenge showing how easy it is to steal a Kia went viral, as did the young men making them. Theft of 2011-2021 models of Kia and Hyundai spiked after being popularized in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by the “Kia Boys.”
Progressive spokesman Jeff Sibel said in a statement, “This explosive increase in thefts in many cases makes these vehicles extremely challenging for us to insure. In response, in some geographic areas we have increased our rates and limited our sale of new insurance policies on some of these models.”