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The 10 Favorite Cars for Thieves

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America's Most Stolen Cars

Are car thieves eyeing your vehicle? To get a sense of the cars that are most sought-after by criminals, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) has compiled its list of the cars with the highest relative theft rates. The data only reflects cars manufactured after 2007. By dissecting the data on insurance claims for theft - both in the rate at which claims are filed and the average size of claim payments - it turns out that some cars have theft rates 3-5 times higher than the average for all vehi
Photo: Peter Dazely | Photographer’s Choice RF | Getty Images

Are car thieves eyeing your vehicle? To get a sense of the cars that are most sought-after by criminals, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) has compiled its list of the cars with the highest relative theft rates. The data only reflects cars manufactured after 2007.

By dissecting the data on insurance claims for theft - both in the rate at which claims are filed and the average size of claim payments - it turns out that some cars have theft rates 3-5 times higher than the average for all vehicles. Vehicles with high theft rates tend to be SUVs and large pickups, while smaller cars that generally bring smaller insurance payments are less likely to be stolen.

"Sedate family cars and fuel sippers aren't on the hot list," says Kim Hazelbaker, HLDI senior vice president. "Thieves are after chrome, horsepower, and HEMIs."

HLDI identifies vehicles with the worst theft losses by counting the number of insurance claims by make and model relative to the number of each make and model insured. This indicates the vehicles that are most likely to be theft targets, taking into account their exposure on the road.

So, what are the 10 favorite cars for thieves in 2010? Click ahead to find out!

By Paul ToscanoPosted 3 Aug 2010

Note: Overall theft losses are average loss payments per insured vehicle year, which is the amount an insurance company pays out, on average, for each model year car they insure.

10. GMC Yukon

Overall theft losses: $52 Avg. loss payment per claim: $9,449 Claim frequency (per 1,000): 5.7 Original retail price: $53,125 According to the HDLI, since 1998 the frequency of theft claims for cars and SUVs has declined while average insurance payments per claim have increased. Frequencies have dropped the most for SUVs, declining from 4.9 claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years in 1998 to 2.4 in 2008.
Photo: Cadillac.com

Overall theft losses: $52
Avg. loss payment per claim: $9,449
Claim frequency (per 1,000): 5.7

Original retail price: $53,125

According to the HDLI, since 1998 the frequency of theft claims for cars and SUVs has declined while average insurance payments per claim have increased. Frequencies have dropped the most for SUVs, declining from 4.9 claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years in 1998 to 2.4 in 2008.

9. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew

Overall theft losses: $53 Avg. loss payment per claim: $6,814 Claim frequency (per 1,000): 8.0 Original retail price (2010): $20,850 According to the HLDI, for pickups, the downward trend in claim frequencies that began in 1998 reversed in 2001 and increased through 2006. Meanwhile, average insurance payments per theft claim have risen the most for pickups. SUVs had the highest average payments per claim until 2005, when results for pickups overtook those for SUVs.
Photo: Fordvehicles.com

Overall theft losses: $53
Avg. loss payment per claim: $6,814
Claim frequency (per 1,000): 8.0

Original retail price (2010): $20,850

According to the HLDI, for pickups, the downward trend in claim frequencies that began in 1998 reversed in 2001 and increased through 2006. Meanwhile, average insurance payments per theft claim have risen the most for pickups. SUVs had the highest average payments per claim until 2005, when results for pickups overtook those for SUVs.

7. (Tied) Chevrolet Avalanche 1500

Overall theft losses: $54 Avg. loss payment per claim: $7,571 Claim frequency (per 1,000): 7.4 Original retail price: $35,460
Photo: Chevrolet.com

Overall theft losses: $54
Avg. loss payment per claim: $7,571
Claim frequency (per 1,000): 7.4

Original retail price: $35,460

7. (Tied) Nissan Pathfinder Armada

Overall theft losses: $54 Avg. loss payment per claim: $12,458 Claim frequency (per 1,000): 4.5 Original retail price: $33,000
Photo: Nissanusa.com

Overall theft losses: $54
Avg. loss payment per claim: $12,458
Claim frequency (per 1,000): 4.5

Original retail price: $33,000

6. Hummer H2 4WD

Overall theft losses: $62 Avg. loss payment per claim: $10,324 Claim frequency (per 1,000): 6.2 Original retail price: $63,090
Photo: Hummer.com

Overall theft losses: $62
Avg. loss payment per claim: $10,324
Claim frequency (per 1,000): 6.2

Original retail price: $63,090

5. Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Overall theft losses: $68 Avg. loss payment per claim: $41,229 Claim frequency (per 1,000): 1.7 Original retail price (2010): $73,925 New to this year’s list, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, isn't stolen nearly as often as some of the other vehicles, but claims are expensive when the model goes missing. The average size of an insurance claim payment is $41,229.
Photo: Chevrolet.com

Overall theft losses: $68
Avg. loss payment per claim: $41,229
Claim frequency (per 1,000): 1.7

Original retail price (2010): $73,925

New to this year’s list, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, isn't stolen nearly as often as some of the other vehicles, but claims are expensive when the model goes missing. The average size of an insurance claim payment is $41,229.

4. Dodge Charger HEMI

Overall theft losses: $69 Avg. loss payment per claim: $10,118 Claim frequency (per 1,000): 7.1 Original retail price: $24,835 - $38,970 The Dodge Charger HEMI is at the lower range for retail prices out of cars on the list, but the HDLI says that it makes the list because it is a large family that gets stolen relatively often. The average insurance claim payment on this vehicle is $10,118. "HEMI" is a Chrysler trademark, and refers to a type of engine that increases airflow and power relative t
Photo: Dodge.com

Overall theft losses: $69
Avg. loss payment per claim: $10,118
Claim frequency (per 1,000): 7.1

Original retail price: $24,835 - $38,970

The Dodge Charger HEMI is at the lower range for retail prices out of cars on the list, but the HDLI says that it makes the list because it is a large family that gets stolen relatively often. The average insurance claim payment on this vehicle is $10,118. "HEMI" is a Chrysler trademark, and refers to a type of engine that increases airflow and power relative to piston size.

3. Infiniti G37 2-door (2008-09)

Overall theft losses: $71 Avg. loss payment per claim: $10,324 Claim frequency (per 1,000): 7.1 Original retail price: $35,370
Photo: Infinitiusa.com

Overall theft losses: $71
Avg. loss payment per claim: $10,324
Claim frequency (per 1,000): 7.1

Original retail price: $35,370

2. Ford F-250 crew 4WD (2008-09)

Overall theft losses: $91 Avg. loss payment per claim: $9,636 Claim frequency (per 1,000): 9.7 Original retail price: $31,745"In many cases it’s tough to pinpoint exactly why a vehicle becomes a theft target," Hazelbaker says. “Investigators tell us big work trucks like the Ford F-250/350, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Dodge Ram 2500 are attractive not only because of the vehicles themselves but also because of the tools and cargo they carry." HLDI results take into account theft of a vehicle an
Photo: Fordvehicles.com

Overall theft losses: $91
Avg. loss payment per claim: $9,636
Claim frequency (per 1,000): 9.7

Original retail price: $31,745

"In many cases it’s tough to pinpoint exactly why a vehicle becomes a theft target," Hazelbaker says. “Investigators tell us big work trucks like the Ford F-250/350, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Dodge Ram 2500 are attractive not only because of the vehicles themselves but also because of the tools and cargo they carry."

HLDI results take into account theft of a vehicle and also vehicle content. Overall theft losses for pickup trucks climbed steadily between 1999 and 2006 as the US economy boomed but now are decreasing. Still, as a group these vehicles have losses that are at least twice those of cars and SUVs.

1. Cadillac Escalade

Overall theft losses: $128 Avg. loss payment per claim: $11,934 Claim frequency (per 1,000): 10.8 Original retail price: $58,538 According to the HLDI, almost 1 of every 4 Escalade theft claims is for $40,000 or more. These vehicles are equipped with standard antitheft ignition immobilizers that are supposed to prevent them from being started without a proper key. The problem, Hazelbaker says, is that "even though Escalades have the latest immobilizer technology, thieves still can put them on fl
Photo: Cadillac.com

Overall theft losses: $128
Avg. loss payment per claim: $11,934
Claim frequency (per 1,000): 10.8

Original retail price: $58,538

According to the HLDI, almost 1 of every 4 Escalade theft claims is for $40,000 or more. These vehicles are equipped with standard antitheft ignition immobilizers that are supposed to prevent them from being started without a proper key. The problem, Hazelbaker says, is that "even though Escalades have the latest immobilizer technology, thieves still can put them on flatbeds and haul them away."