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  • How Auto Theft Affects Auto Insurance Rates

    Auto Theft Facts

    How Auto Theft Affects Auto Insurance Rates

    Auto theft is extremely common in the United States. The FBI's Uniform Crime Report reveals that 167,468 vehicles were stolen in 2012 alone. You can view how common auto theft is in your region by using the Hot Spots tool on the National Insurance Crime Bureau website. The top 10 "hot spots" for car theft in the U.S. are all located in California and Washington.

    Remember, it's not just wealthy people with brand-new vehicles who need to worry about auto theft. In many cases, an older car can be more valuable when it's chopped up and sold for parts. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the top 10 most commonly stolen vehicles in 2012 were:

    1. Honda Accord
    2. Honda Civic
    3. Ford Pickup Full Size
    4. Chevrolet Pickup Full Size
    5. Toyota Camry
    6. Dodge Caravan
    7. Dodge Pickup Full Size
    8. Acura Integra
    9. Nissan Altima
    10. Nissan Maxima

    Auto Theft and Your Insurance Rates

    Theft is defined as either theft of the entire vehicle or theft of parts such as airbags. Most states require liability coverage to drive on state roads, but many drivers choose comprehensive policies for added protection (the comprehensive section of an auto insurance policy covers auto theft).

    If coverage for auto theft is important to you, keep in mind that some policies only cover the depreciated value of a stolen vehicle instead of the replacement cost. In addition, policies offering minimal coverage for theft might not pay for the cost of a rental vehicle while your claim is being processed. Read your policy information packet carefully to make sure you understand what level of protection you are paying to receive.

    When shopping for an insurance policy, keep in mind that some providers do use the risk of auto theft as a factor when calculating your rates. This might mean you'll pay more for living in a state with a high rate of auto theft or driving a vehicle that is listed as one of the most commonly stolen automobiles.

    However, because gender, age, geography, driving history, previous claims, lapses in coverage, and your credit score might also be used to calculate rates, it's hard to tell how this one factor will influence your premiums. The best way to make sure you're getting a fair rate for your coverage is to obtain quotes from several different providers.

    Anti-Theft Protection Devices

    If your auto insurance provider does use the risk of theft as a factor in calculating insurance rates, you might be able to obtain a discount for using an anti-theft protection device.

    According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), states like Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and Washington formally encourage discounts for anti-theft protection devices, but do not require them. However, some states do require insurance providers to offer these discounts. Call an insurance provider in your state to inquire about this discount type.

    Savings for the use of anti-theft protection devices can range from 5% to 30% of your premium cost. Contact your insurance agent for details before investing in an anti-theft protection system in the hopes of lowering your insurance rates.