It seems every news cycle there’s a new type of car theft to worry about. You’ve probably seen the social media challenges on the news and Tik Tok: some models of Kia and Hyundais are incredibly easy to steal. On top of that, insurance is hard to get for Kias and Hyundais. Here is what you need to know to protect yourself.
A Social Media Trend Out of Control
All it took was a USB cable and the promise of social media notoriety to get this theft trend off the ground. Wannabe Tik Tok stars discovered that all it took was removing the steering wheel column cover of certain Kias and Hyundais to start the car with a USB cable (or something similarly shaped). After that, the hack took off and thefts of Kias and Hyundais ballooned by 836%. If you live in Cincinnati, you’ve probably heard about this surge in thefts. Between January and July of 2023, 1,511 Kias and Hyundais have been reported stolen in the city of Cincinnati.
How is this Possible?
Hyundai and Kia are sister companies, and between 2011 and 2022 some models were built without an immobilizer. Immobilizers are a feature in most modern cars that prevent the car from starting unless a key is detected. Without this security feature (which has been standard on most cars since the 1990s), these vehicles are easy to steal. All it takes to join the Kia Boys is removing the steering column, removing the ignition cylinder, and using the USB shape to turn the ignition. Thieves will then post their exploits all over the internet.
After the vehicle is stolen, authorities are often able to recover the vehicle. The City of Cincinnati Police have recovered 71% of vehicles stolen in 2023. However, the car owner’s troubles are just beginning. Auto repair shops are taking up to 2 months to get these vehicles back on the road. Getting replacement parts is a lengthy wait. With such high occurrences of thefts, parts are scarce.
Additionally, insurance carriers have taken notice. Progressive and State Farm are refusing to write policies in some states for older Hyundai and Kia models. Why? It’s simple: they are too easy to steal. Progressive continues to honor Kias and Hyundais that have existing coverage, but new policies are not being written. It’s hard for owners to shop their auto insurance, let alone find new carriers wiling to cover them at all.
How to Protect Yourself
- Research recalls. If you have a Kia or Hyundai, contact your dealer to find out if your vehicle is eligible for any recalls. Getting a free fix for your vehicle will go a long way to protect you from theft.
- Think before you buy. In the market for a new car? Make sure you’re not buying a Kia and Hyundai with this defect. Find a list of effected models by clicking here.
- Talk to your advisor. Tell your Cincinnatus Advisor about your situation if you own a Kia or Hyundai. Our advisors at Cincinnatus Insurance are fully up to speed on how insurance carriers across the market are handling coverages for these vehicles. Let them know if you installed any extra security or took advantage of the recall. Communication is key to protect yourself from financial disaster!