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How these hot spots might affect your auto insurance rates

By Bethany Harris on June 7th, 2010

When you think of hot spots, night clubs or tropical locations may come to mind. But when the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports annually about hot spots, they are referring to the most popular areas for car theft. Although auto theft is declining, recovery rates are at a 20 year low. Theft activity is costing consumers dearly, especially when it comes to auto insurance.

After evaluating vehicle theft information from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation's Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), the NICB has compiled a top 10 list for 2009:

NICB 2009 Hot Spots

  1. Laredo, TX
  2. Modesto, CA
  3. Bakersfield, CA
  4. Stockton, CA
  5. Fresno, CA
  6. Yakima, WA
  7. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, CA
  8. Visalia/Porterville, CA
  9. Las Vegas/Paradise, NV
  10. Albuquerque, NM

Although western states dominate the list, car theft makes an impact nationwide. Auto insurance rates are affected in a few ways. Living in a high-risk area is more than likely increase your auto insurance rates. In addition, the vehicle you purchase may be more at risk. Keep in mind that new, expensive cars aren't the only vehicles stolen. The 1994 Honda Accord and 1989 Toyota Camry were among the top ten most frequently stolen passenger vehicles in 2008 according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Preventing Auto Theft

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Uniform Crime Report stated in 2008 that a vehicle is stolen every 33 seconds in America. You don't have to be a victim. Being proactive and following these tips may help you protect your vehicle from theft:

  • Never leave your keys in the ignition
  • Close doors/lock windows
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Use warning devices, such as alarms, tire locks, steering column collars and decals
  • Use immobilizing devices like smart keys, kill switches and fuel pump disablers
  • Use tracking devices to monitor vehicle location

A proactive approach can also save you money. Some car insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders that use theft deterrent and recovery devices.

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