In the movies, car thieves go for exotic sports cars with 6-figure price tags. In the real world, people who boost automobiles are more practical, as pickup trucks account for five of the ten vehicles with the highest rate of theft claims in the U.S.
According to the Highway Loss Data Institute (which is affiliated with Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), the Ford F-250 has the highest rate of theft of any vehicle in the last year, with theft claims being filed on 7 out of every 1,000 insured F-250 trucks. That’s nearly six times the national average.
The number-two vehicle on the HLDI list was another pickup, the Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew, with a theft claim rate of 6.7 claims per 1,000 insured trucks. Other pickups on the list included the GMC Sierra 1500 Crew (6 claims/1,000), the Ford F-350 (5.6 claims/1,000), and the GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab (4.7 claims/1,000).
The HLDI cautions that numbers for pickups may be inflated as it does not differentiate between claims for stolen vehicles and theft claims for items stolen from vehicles, so it’s possible that these numbers may be pumped up by claims for property stolen from the trucks’ flatbeds. However, it also notes that pickups are less likely to have ignition immobilizers, which prevent hotwiring of vehicles.
The rest of the list is made up by SUVs, which don’t have open beds from which to pilfer items. The Chevy Avalanche 1500 leads the charge with 6.1 claims/1,000 insured vehicles. Last year’s list-topper, the Cadillac Escalade, drops all the way to sixth place with 5.5 claims/1,000. That’s still high, but only about half of the Escalade’s theft claim rate in 2010.
In fact, some version of the Escalade had topped the list each year since 2003. The HLDI chalks up this precipitous drop in Escalade theft claims to two things — new antitheft tech and well, the fact that the once-coveted SUV isn’t as desired as it had been in previous years.
“General Motors has put a lot of effort into new antitheft technology, so that may help explain the decline in the Escalade’s theft rate,” says HLDI Vice President Matt Moore. “On the other hand, sales of the Escalade have fallen in recent years, so there may be less of a market for stolen Escalades or Escalade parts.”
Small and midsize SUVs dominated the list of vehicles with the lowest rate of theft claims. The Dodge Journey, Volkswagen Tiguan, Acura RDX, Honda CR-V, and Hyundai Tucson all had a teensy claim rate of .4 claims/1,000 insured vehicles. The Jeep Compass was slightly higher at .5 claims/1,000. Other vehicles to make the least-stolen list were the Audi A4, Toyota Matrix, Lexus HS 250 Hybrid (each with .4 claims/1,000) and the Toyota Sienna with .5 claims/1,000.