These Kia and Hyundai Models Deemed ‘Uninsurable’ Following Instructional Theft Videos Shared on Social Media
Despite providing consumers with industry-leading warranties, some vehicles sold by Kia and Hyundai are under threat of becoming uninsurable. Offerings from the South Korean brands under parent company Hyundai Motor Group aren’t under extensive recalls. They have neither massive defects nor dangerous mechanical qualities. Unfortunately, months-long trends of instructional theft videos circulating online have left many customers as victims of grand theft auto. Consequently, insurance companies are getting fed up.
The move by insurance companies Progressive and State Farm isn’t a blanket ban on all Kias and Hyundais, however. But specific models in some geographical regions are affected.
Instructional thefts videos shared on social media
Nearing the end of 2021, a trend took off on the popular video hosting app TikTok. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a dance, a memeable skit, or a homemade recipe. Instead, it was a how-to guide to stealing Kia and Hyundai vehicles. Reportedly, the videos instructed viewers how to access the ignition through the steering columns. Once opened, a USB thumb drive or phone charger—the modern screwdriver—could be used to start the car.
In metropolitan areas across the U.S., car thefts shot up. After a few months, law enforcement agencies realized a significant fraction of vehicle thefts were Kia and Hyundai vehicles. Subsequently, insurance giants Progressive and State Farm are hiking insurance premiums to an astronomical height. Also, both refuse to cover a wide range of existing models.
Which Kia and Hyundai vehicles are affected?
According to Forbes, neither insurance company provided a list of the Kia or Hyundai vehicles deemed “uninsurable.” A Kia spokesperson said the impacted models include “2011 to 2021 Kia vehicles equipped with a steel ignition key for turn-to-start operation.” Moreover, Hyundai models built between 2016 and 2021 have the same ignition setup. These models use a traditional key and don’t have a chip that would prevent them from starting when no key is present.
Affected Kias between 2011 and 2021 include the following:
Affected Hyundais between 2016 and 2021 include the following:
- Elantra GT
- Santa Fe
- Santa Fe Sport
- Santa Fe XL
All Hyundai and Kia vehicles built after November 1, 2021, come standard with the anti-theft immobilizer. Therefore, many current models are safe from the theft spree. The companies offered glass-break sensor security kits for the older models at dealerships. But the kit and installation fee came at the customer’s expense. The automakers also provided various law enforcement agencies across the country with steering wheel immobilizer kits to assist beleaguered owners.
Insurance companies avoiding specific geographical areas
Progressive and State Farm aren’t instituting nationwide underwriting bans on Kia and Hyundai vehicles. Yet, the manufacturers and insurance companies didn’t confirm which cities or states were impacted by the change. KHOU found that some insurance restrictions are narrowed to Georgia, Louisiana, Oregon, Washington, and Pennsylvania. But it isn’t an exhaustive list.
Current Kia and Hyundai owners shouldn’t have cause for too much concern. Changes affect the underwriting of new policies. Existing customers will not have their coverage dropped.