DENVER — Some Colorado vehicle owners continue to face problems insuring Hyundai and Kia models due to the increased risk of theft they face.
Last week, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser joined 16 other attorneys general in urging a national recall of Hyundai and Kia models that have ignition switches that are easily bypassed and lack engine immobilizers.
Why some Kia and Hyundai vehicles top Denver’s most stolen list
Denver7 spoke with Morgan Lloyd, an independent insurance agent in the Denver area. He said he hears from clients on a weekly basis struggling to insure their Kia and Hyundai vehicles, and has also been sharing insights with vehicle owners on Reddit.
“It’s frustrating for everybody. It’s frustrating for me,” Lloyd said. “You find a great package for somebody, and then it all falls through because of this. You know, it’s really maddening”
Below is the list of the top 10 vehicles stolen in Colorado in 2022, according to the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority. Six of the top 10 are Kia and Hyundai models.
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- Kia Sportage
- Hyundai Sonata
- Kia Optima
- Hyundai Tucson
- Hyundai Elantra
- Ford F-250
- Honda Civic
- Kia Sorento
- GMC Sierra
Both Kia and Hyundai have rolled out software updates to prevent thefts, but also have said their vehicles comply with federal safety standards and therefore don’t need to be recalled.
Hyundai told Denver7 it has 100% availability in its software update program, which is two months ahead of schedule. The company is also working with AAA insurers to insure drivers with affected vehicles are protected, according to company officials.
"Hyundai Motor America is committed to ensuring the quality and integrity of our products. A subset of Hyundai vehicles on the road in the U.S. today – primarily “base trim” or entry-level models – are not equipped with push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices. It is important to clarify that an engine immobilizer is an anti-theft device and these vehicles are fully compliant with federal anti-theft requirements. Thieves discovered a specific method by which to bypass the vehicles’ security features and then documented and promoted their exploits on TikTok and other social media channels.
In response, Hyundai has taken comprehensive action to assist our customers, including: (1) made engine immobilizers standard on all vehicles produced as of November 2021; (2) fully rolled out a free software upgrade to prevent the method of theft involved, two months ahead of schedule; (3) introduced a program in partnership with AAA insurers to offer insurance options in most states for eligible affected Hyundai customers; (4) initiated a program to reimburse affected customers for their purchase of steering wheel locks; (5) launched https://hyundaiantitheft.com/ [hyundaiantitheft.com] to provide owners with information on all of the support options available and created a dedicated customer service support team and call center, 888-498-0390, to assist impacted owners.
Hyundai is committed to continuing our efforts in completing the software upgrade for all affected vehicles in the most effective manner possible. We are communicating with NHTSA on our many actions to assist our customers."
Lloyd said there are still currently some insurance providers who will offer coverage, including Nationwide and Traveler’s. However, he's seen the list of options consistently shrink.
“This is changing constantly,” Lloyd said. “Don’t assume you’re going to be able to even get coverage with any carrier at this point. Just shop around, and you’re going to have to work to get coverage.”
Denver-area Hyundai and Kia owners struggle with insurance woes as thefts climb
Ultimately, Lloyd recommends either switching vehicles or avoiding impacted models entirely, if that is an option.
“I’d say get a Toyota, get a Honda,” he laughed. “You know, get something a little more reliable, that was better built [and] didn’t have this issue.”