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Top 10 most stolen vehicles in 2013
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The 10 Most Stolen Vehicles In 2013

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a vehicle is stolen in the U.S. every 44 seconds. Only 52% are recovered.

Put yourself in the shoes of an auto insurance company. If a vehicle is stolen from one of your policyholders, you may have to compensate him or her for the cost of its replacement. The best way to limit your risk is to increase the rates paid by those who drive the most frequently-stolen cars, trucks, and SUVs.

For that reason, it's important, as a consumer, to be aware of the models that are most often targeted by car thieves. Being aware gives you the option to avoid driving them or knowing upfront that you'll likely pay higher rates for the privilege.

You'll find a list of the 10 most stolen vehicles in the U.S. below. The list, updated for 2013, is based on data compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles In The U.S.

You'll notice two interesting details in the following list. First, the majority of the vehicles that appear on it are older models. That runs counter to the assumption that car thieves favor new vehicles. There are good reasons, which we'll discuss in a moment.

Second, there are no SUVs on the list. Instead, there are several pickup trucks. The absence of SUVs may be due to the formidable anti-theft technology found in many of the models.

It's worth noting that the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) has compiled a different list of vehicles associated with high theft rates. It varies considerably from the NICB list, most notably in that several SUVs are found on it. Note that the data used by the HLDI included claims filed for the theft of contents from the vehicles in addition to the theft of the vehicles themselves.

With that minor detail out of the way, here are the current top 10 most stolen vehicles in the U.S.:

1. Honda Accord

Model years targeted: 1996, 1994, 1997, 1995

2. Honda Civic

Model years targeted: 1998, 1997, 1995, 2000

3. Ford Pickup Full Size

Model years targeted: 2006, 2004, 2005, 2003

4. Chevrolet Pickup Full Size

Model years targeted: 1999, 1994, 1997, 2004

5. Toyota Camry

Model years targeted: 1991, 1990, 1989

6. Dodge Caravan

Model years targeted: 2000, 1999, 2002, 2001

7. Dodge Pickup Full Size

Model years targeted: 2004, 2003, 2005, 2001

8. Acura Integra

Model years targeted: 1994, 1995, 1996

9. Nissan Altima

Model years targeted: 1997

10. Nissan Maxima

Model years targeted: 1996

As noted, many people assume that car thieves favor late-model luxury vehicles, such as the Mercedes E-Class, the Audi A6, or the Cadillac CTS. In reality, such cars rarely make the list. Thieves typically shun them and instead focus on older models.

One of the reasons they do so is because older models lack the advanced anti-theft technology found in their newer counterparts. They're easier to steal. Also, some states, such as New York, have passed laws that make it easy to sell older vehicles with minimal documentation.

Your Auto Insurance Rates On The Year's "Hottest" Wheels

Insurance companies take several factors into account when calculating rates for their policyholders. In addition to the driver's age, gender, and driving record, they consider the loss experience associated with his or her vehicle.

Loss experience is based on the frequency of theft combined with the cost of the resultant claim. If a particular make and model has been reported in a large number of claims, and the costs associated with resolving them is high, insurers charge higher rates.

Take another look at the above list of most-stolen vehicles. You may have assumed that driving a 1996 Honda Accord or 1991 Toyota Camry would minimize your insurance rates since both vehicles are old and the cost to repair them is minimal. But they may actually be more costly to insure than select newer vehicles.

Should You Buy A Vehicle Favored By Car Thieves?

Let's suppose you want to buy a car and have your heart set on one of the models commonly targeted by car thieves. If you decide to take the risk, there are several things you can do to protect your vehicle. Some of them may even help lower your auto insurance rates.

First, install an anti-theft device. Doing so will thwart would-be thieves, who will search for easier prey. It might also make you eligible to receive a discount from your insurer.

Second, never leave your vehicle while the engine is running. Along the same lines, never leave your keys in the ignition.

Third, park in well-lit areas at night. Street lamps and other light sources will reduce the cover of darkness favored by car thieves.

Fourth, install a kill switch. A kill switch severs the flow of electricity from the battery and ignition. Without that current, the fuel pump and other components become disabled.

Fifth, add comprehensive coverage to your auto insurance policy. If your vehicle is stolen despite taking the measures outlined above, you can file a claim for compensation with your insurer.

Regardless of the make and model you choose to drive, it's important to compare auto insurance quotes from several companies. Don't assume that every insurer charges the same price for the same set of coverages. Rates often vary dramatically. The quickest and easiest way to find the lowest one is to compare them side by side.