Progressive and State Farm are designating certain models of Hyundai and Kia as too much of a burden to cover after a trend partially inspired by viral TikTok posts placed these cars in thieves’ crosshairs. The companies have refused to divulge precisely which models and which years will be affected, nor have they pinpointed the geographic range of these exclusions. Existing customers will be able to keep their insurance.
Hyundai and Kia have distinguished themselves in recent years in making much of their vehicle output easy prey for criminals. The primary issue is the absence of immobilizers on many of the makes and models. In model year 2015, while other manufacturers were incorporating immobilizers into 96% of their vehicles, the two sister companies equipped only 26% of their vehicles with this critical safeguard. Crime statistics since 2015 tell the rest of the story: Vehicles by the companies have contributed double their market share to car theft claims.
Immobilizers are a highly effective defense against a would-be car thief (unless, of course, you've been kind enough to leave a key around). The vehicle will not activate the fuel injection sequence until its electronic control unit reads a unique binary code generated by a microcircuit inside the key. Where an immobilizer is absent, however, the burglar has options. He can either execute the standard hot-wire, or, if dealing with a turn-to-start ignition system, he may be able to forcibly rotate the tumbler with as simple a device as a USB charger.
Hyundai and Kia have since adjusted to the new reality of rampant car theft, equipping all new cars with immobilizers, but they continue to contend with the fallout from their lack of foresight. Lawsuits against the manufacturers are underway in multiple states. Both companies are working to provide free steering wheel locks to affected owners, and Hyundai says it has developed a security kit that will alleviate the problem.
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