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Recently, it has come to light that Kia and Hyundai models are remarkably easy to steal. The problem is the result of a viral TikTok that showed an easy exploit for key-started vehicles. Now, Hyundai and Kia owners are being denied insurance coverage in cities like Columbus, Milwaukee, and Saint Louis. Even worse, these companies are denying coverage on cars that aren’t subject to the exploit.

A yellow 2016 Kia Soul on a brick road
The 2016 Kia Soul is one of the Korean cars subject to easy theft | Kia

Progressive, State Farm among insurance companies denying coverage

Reports by the Saint Louis Post Dispatch indicate that State Farm and Progressive are among the major insurers denying coverage on Hyundai and Kia models. And while those companies have denied insurance coverage to new Hyundai and Kia owners, existing policyholders are also having issues. Drivers renewing existing policies are seeing large price hikes. 

A St. Louis County resident noted a $150 increase in his American Family Insurance premium for a 2016 Kia Soul. At seven years old and purchased brand new, premiums for such a vehicle should be decreasing with the vehicle’s value. Instead, the increase is making life more difficult for owners that simply wish to keep their older vehicles on the road. Meanwhile, State Farm and Progressive reportedly denied opening a policy on the vehicle altogether.

Hyundai and Kia owners denied insurance starting in November 2022

According to insurance broker Jim Kirn, Progressive has declined new insurance policies on Kia and Hyundai vehicles since November. State Farm salesperson Josh Franklin has indicated a similar timeline for his company. We’ve reached out to representatives from both Progressive and State Farm and have yet to receive a response.

Meanwhile, brands like Nationwide and Geico have opted to raise premiums on the oft-stolen vehicles, often at a higher rate than average for similar vehicles. 

Unaffected Kia and Hyundai vehicles are still denied insurance coverage

One important thing to note is that only key-started Kia and Hyundai models are subject to easy thefts. Those with push-button start are unaffected, but insurers aren’t noting the difference. One Saint Louis County resident was denied coverage by Progressive for his Hyundai Elantra, despite it having push-button start. It cannot be stolen with the same easy exploit, but that doesn’t seem to help his case, as his existing policy renewal will cost $200 more over a six-month period.

How often are Hyundai and Kia cars stolen?

While the thefts have slowed down in recent months, thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles in St Louis increased 1,450% in 2022. Nearly 4,000 of these South Korean models were stolen in the city in 2022, compared to just 273 in the year prior. Hyundai and Kia vehicles represent 38% of car thefts in Columbus, OH, while in Los Angeles 20% of stolen cars come from the South Korean brands.

A gray Elantra GT Hatchback driving past rolling hills
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is subject to rampant theft | Hyundai USA

How Hyundai and Kia have fixed the problem

Unfortunately, existing Hyundai and Kia models have no easy fix. Despite calls to hold the manufacturers accountable, Hyundai and Kia take little ownership of the situation. In a statement, attorneys for Hyundai and Kia note that immobilizer devices are not a federal requirement. That said, all Hyundai and Kia vehicles from November 2021 forward include immobilizer tech. For those driving affected vehicles, they recommend installing a security kit – a retrofit that will cost you $500 to install.

Many, including insurance companies and police departments don’t believe that does enough, but for now, no bigger fix is on the horizon.