Ford F-250 Tops List of Most Frequently Stolen Vehicles
The Ford F-250 has replaced the Cadillac Escalade as the favorite target of thieves, according to a new report from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).
New antitheft technology on the Escalade, as well as its waning popularity, are two likely reasons the luxury SUV has fallen from first to sixth place in the ranking of vehicles with the highest rates of insurance claims for theft.
Thieves continue to target large pickups and large SUVs at higher rates than other vehicles. No. 1 on this year's list, the four-wheel-drive F-250 crew cab, has a claim frequency of 7 per 1,000 insured vehicle years, or nearly 6 times the average for all vehicles. An insured vehicle year is one vehicle insured for one year, two for six months, etc.
Theft rates in general are declining, thanks in large part to the spread of ignition immobilizers, which prevent vehicles from being hot-wired and were standard in 89 percent of 2012 models. Fewer pickups than cars or SUVs have the feature as standard, which may help explain the higher theft rates for pickups. However, it doesn't explain the high theft rate of the F-250, which had a standard immobilizer for 2010-12, the model years covered in this year's report.
Many pickup claims result from the theft of equipment from the truck bed, and that may be the case with some of the F-250 claims. HLDI's data doesn't distinguish between theft of vehicle contents or components from theft of a whole vehicle.
Each year HLDI analyzes theft losses for vehicles from the three previous model years. This is the first year since 2003 that some version of the Escalade hasn't topped the list of vehicles with the highest theft claim rates. To be included, a vehicle must have at least 20,000 insured vehicle years or 100 claims.
HLDI's theft numbers differ from other rankings because they are based on the number of insured vehicles on the road. In contrast, information published by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) simply lists the most frequently stolen vehicles. As a result, that list usually just reflects the most commonly driven models.