According to a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Hyundai and Kia models have become easy targets for thieves amid a surge in car thefts. The rise in thefts has been linked to viral social media videos detailing how to start specific models of Kias and Hyundais without a key.
The report found that the 2019-2021 Hyundai Tucson, 2021-2022 Kia Seltos, and 2020-2022 Kia Telluride were among the most stolen vehicles in the United States, with inadequate security features making them attractive to thieves.
Numerous Kia and Hyundai Models Lack Electronic Immobilizers
If you have a Kia or a Hyundai, don’t panic immediately. Only certain SUVs and cars lack electronic immobilizers, which rely on a computer chip in the car and another in the key to confirm that the key belongs to the vehicle. Without the proper key, the immobilizer should prevent the vehicle from moving.
While immobilizers were standard equipment on 96% of vehicles sold from 2015-2019, only 26% of Hyundais and Kias had them at that time. Models with push-button start systems typically have immobilizers, but not all vehicles with turn-key ignitions do.
Hyundai and Kia Owners May Be Eligible for Free Software Upgrades
Due to a viral social media video demonstrating how to start specific Kia and Hyundai models without a key, these vehicles are at risk of theft. Kia and Hyundai have offered free software upgrades to address the issue, with some available as early as this month. These upgrades are designed to prevent unauthorized engine starts.
To receive information on eligibility and timing for the upgrade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises vehicle owners to contact their automaker using the numbers listed below:
To minimize the risk of theft, it is recommended that vehicle owners follow these tips when parking and exiting their vehicles:
- Close and lock all windows and doors.
- Park in well-lit areas, if possible.
- Never leave valuable items in the vehicle, especially if they can be seen from outside.
Vehicle owners are encouraged to schedule the recommended software upgrade as soon as possible.
The rise in thefts has resulted in certain insurers refusing to extend auto insurance coverage to owners of Kias and Hyundais or drastically increasing rates. We’re here to help you navigate your insurance needs if you are in this situation. Contact Lupton & Luce in Riverhead, New York, for more information about adequately insuring your Hyundai or Kia vehicle.
This blog is intended for informational and educational use only. It is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact your insurance professional for further information.