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Thefts of Kias, Hyundais in Colorado chase away auto insurance companies

Megan Ulu-Lani Boyanton, The Denver Post on

Published in Automotive News

With car thefts spiking in Colorado the past few years, three auto insurance carriers are now declining to cover certain vehicles, leaving at-risk owners with fewer options.

Allstate, State Farm and Progressive are passing over new owners of some Kia and Hyundai vehicles, as thieves steal those cars at higher rates. In 2021, Colorado held the No. 1 spot in the nation for motor vehicle thefts – and those rates continued to skyrocket in the first half of last year, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association.

In 2022, the top 10 U.S. cities for car thefts included Denver, Aurora, Westminster and Pueblo, according to the nonprofit.

From July through September of last year, the majority of the state’s most-stolen vehicles were either Kia models – Sportage, Optima, Sorento and Soul – or Hyundai – Tuscan, Sonata and Elantra. Truck owners were also targeted, with Chevy Silverados, Ford F-250s and GMC Sierras making the list.

Some of these thefts are blamed on a social media trend teaching users how to easily steal Kia and Hyundai models, which robbers then take for joyrides. The Kia Boyz hashtag, popularized on TikTok and YouTube, yields video after video of victims showing the aftermath of their ravaged cars and even catching young thieves in the act.

It’s a nationwide trend, with recordings uploaded from Milwaukee, Atlanta, Memphis and other cities. Last year, four teens were killed near Buffalo, N.Y., when the stolen Kia they were riding in rolled over. Authorities presume the teens were participating in the social media challenge.


A manufacturer defect in these cars lets thieves steal them “with just a USB cable,” said Carole Walker, Rocky Mountain Insurance Association executive director. Outside of the Kia Boyz trend, these cars are hijacked to commit other serious crimes in many cases, she added.

Walker called the three corporations’ limitations on new policies “an unusual decision for insurance companies.” But they’re ultimately responding to the market, even if the makes and models of the impacted vehicles are fairly new, she said.

This crime trend impacts the wallets of all drivers, too.

“Unfortunately, that also affects what we pay for car insurance,” Walker said. “We all foot the bill for auto theft.”


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