HomeCar InsuranceMidstate drivers struggle to insure commonly stolen cars

Midstate drivers struggle to insure commonly stolen cars

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – Drivers of certain car models in Nashville are facing difficulties getting insurance for them following nationwide warnings about their vulnerability to theft.

Lisa Wilson, who owned a 2016 Kia Soul, found herself in an impossible situation when her insurance company doubled her rates and then canceled her policy altogether. She said the reason for the cancelation was because her Kia model is a frequent target for thieves.

“I work from home. I hardly drive. I’m a good driver. No claims,” Wilson said. Despite her clean driving record, she said no insurance company would offer her an affordable policy. “It was unreal. I don’t have time for this,” she said after hours of searching for quotes.

Feeling unsure of what to do next, Wilson eventually had to trade in her beloved Kia at a local dealership.

“[The insurance companies] offered no solutions at all,” she said. “Just a flat, ‘No.’”

This issue is not unique to Wilson. Major insurance companies in Tennessee are dropping coverage for many Kia and Hyundai models due to a significant increase in thefts, a trend exacerbated by a viral TikTok challenge.

Metro Police reported a 410% rise in thefts of these makes in October 2023. However, police data shows since January 2024, the number of thefts has been decreasing.

“The people driving their Kias – just happy – did nothing wrong,” Wilson said. “It’s someone else being weird, and we have to pay for it.”

In response to the theft surge, Kia and Hyundai have offered a free software upgrade for the affected models. Some insurance companies are beginning to accept this upgrade. Unfortunately, Wilson said she was unaware of this option. She is now facing five more years of car payments on a trade-in Chevy Equinox, having had her Kia Soul nearly paid off.

WSMV reached out to major insurance providers for comment. Progressive and State Farm said they have stopped accepting new customers with certain Hyundai and Kia models in some states due to theft concerns, aiming to protect existing policyholders’ rates. Both companies are monitoring the effectiveness of the software upgrades and may adjust their policies accordingly.

“We’ve seen theft rates for certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles more than triple and in some parts of the country increase by a factor of almost 20,” a Progressive spokesperson told WSMV. “Given that we price our policies based on the level of risk they represent, this explosive increase in thefts in many cases makes these vehicles extremely challenging for us to insure at affordable rates. We have continued to insure our existing customers who own impacted models, but to reduce the magnitude of rate increases for our existing policyholders, we have limited our sale of new policies in certain locations.”

“We understand Hyundai and Kia have made available voluntary software updates to certain vehicles. We’re hopeful this software upgrade will be effective at deterring thefts and strongly encourage our customers and other owners to get them as soon as possible. We are closely monitoring manufacturers’ actions, consumer adoption rates, and the effectiveness of the updates and, if our data supports, we will recalibrate our pricing and acceptance criteria accordingly,” the spokesperson said.

State Farm said it has “stopped accepting new customer applications in some states for certain model years and trim levels of Hyundai and Kia vehicles because theft losses for these vehicles have increased dramatically.”

“This is a serious problem impacting our customers and the entire auto insurance industry. We take seriously our responsibility to manage risk and the impact of excess claim costs on all our customers. In this case, it became necessary to take action to protect our policyholders and our business. We are monitoring this situation very closely and will adjust our approach as appropriate,” said Sevag Sarkissian with State Farm communications.

Meanwhile, Allstate and Farmers Insurance continue to offer coverage for all Kia and Hyundai models in Tennessee, provided certain guidelines are met.

WSMV did not hear back from Geico, USAA, Liberty Mutual or Nationwide.

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