KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Two of the nation’s largest insurance agencies have reportedly dropped coverage for some Kias and Hyundais as vehicle thefts remain rampant across the country.
Kent County is no exception in the new year.
When Cyndi Christian bought her brand new Kia in 2020, she didn’t think she would have to buy another car for a long time. Now she wishes she had made a different decision.
“I just wanted this to be my car forever,” Christian said.
Instead, it was a nightmare.
“Now I don’t want it anymore,” she said.
Not just once, but twice now, Christian’s 2019 Kia Optima has been stolen outside his former apartment complex in Kentwood. Someone also tried to steal it a third time.
It all started in July last year when someone smashed the rear window and removed the steering column, but the car wasn’t stolen in the end. She still had to bring it back for repair and got it back a month later.
In August, his car was taken in the middle of the night.
“I don’t want to get up in the morning and lose my car,” Christian said.
When she went to see her hiring manager the next morning, she found she wasn’t the only one.
“When I was there, there were two or three other people reporting that their car was stolen that same night,” Christian said. “Kias”.
She recovered the car in October before it was stolen again the following month. Both times the car was ransacked, with broken windows, wood stripper poured all over the roof and damaged doors. The vehicle registration was also taken both times.
Christian paid over $1,500 for the repairs.
“If I want to go to the grocery store, if I want to go to the mall, I’m very careful where I park to make sure I’m hopefully under a light that has a camera” , Christian said. “It’s not a way to live to have to think about it all the time.”
Now she is about to lose her confidence. Last week, Progressive sent him a letter saying his policy will expire on February 19.
“I don’t want payment for the car,” Christian said. “But I have no choice if I don’t have insurance to cover me.”
She’s not the only one losing her confidence. Progressive and State Farm would now have stopped giving new insurance policies for some models of Kias and Hyundais, citing rampant theft across the country.
State Farm confirmed the news in a statement to News 8, saying it “became necessary to take action to protect our policyholders and our business.”
“State Farm has temporarily stopped accepting new customer applications in certain states for certain model years and trim levels of Hyundai and Kia vehicles as theft losses for these vehicles have increased significantly. a serious issue that affects our customers and the entire auto insurance industry.
“We take seriously our responsibility to manage the risks and impact of excess loss costs on all of our customers. In this case, it became necessary to act to protect our policyholders and our company.
“We are monitoring this situation very closely and will adjust our approach if necessary.
For more information on car theft, we recommend that you contact the Insurance Information Institute and the National Crime Insurance Bureau.”
State Farm said it does in “certain states,” but didn’t say whether Michigan was included or which models were affected.
News 8 reached out to State Farm and Progressive to ask if Michigan is impacted by the changes made by the two companies.
Brian Boer, an adviser for the Boer Insurance Group in Plainfield Township, said large insurance companies making such a move were particularly unusual.
“Some of the smaller regional insurance companies are trying to nestle in a bit more,” Boer said. “But for two big companies like that, it’s very unusual.”
“You’ll see insurance companies say, ‘I don’t want to insure this type of Lamborghini, we’re not going to insure this Maserati,'” Boer added. “It’s just not their market. They don’t go for high end luxury vehicles. But for the kind of everyday vehicle like the Kias and Hyundais that we hear about, it’s very unusual to see insurance companies just pump the brakes and say, “We don’t offer coverage. in the future.”
Boer said insurance companies still covering Kias and Hyundais could raise prices further.
“They’re going to see increased insurance costs specific to those vehicles based on all the claims that are paid,” Boer said. “Even the companies that still offer coverage on these vehicles, wherever you have more claims to pay, that money has to come from somewhere. This will affect the cost of insurance for that vehicle.
In Kent County, Kia and Hyundai thefts remain high in the new year.
This month, the Grand Rapids Police Department responded to 109 stolen or attempted stolen vehicles, nearly half of which were Kias and Hyundais. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office has dealt with 41 stolen cars so far this month, 12 of which are Kias or Hyundais.
In 2022, GRPD responded to a total of 1,316 vehicle thefts, and 765 of them involved Kias or Hyundais. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office processed 415 stolen vehicles, 112 of which were Kias or Hyundais.
“I go from so angry to frustrated to sad,” Christian said. “Because I can handle it. But there are probably people who can’t deal with it if their car is stolen. Or if they can’t afford the deductible. Or you don’t have renter’s insurance or car rental insurance. I try to consider myself lucky to be able to take care of it, but it still drives me crazy.