Highway Loss Data Institute Ranks Cadillac Escalade Highest for Theft Loss Insurance Claims

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), the 2007-2009 Cadillac Escalade has the highest theft loss average of any vehicle in America. The Ford F-250 crew-cab pickup, Infinity G37 and HEMI-equipped Dodge Challenger also ranked at the top of the institute’s list. HLDI senior vice president Kim Hazelbaker said, “Sedate family cars and fuel sippers aren’t on the hot list. Thieves are after chrome, horsepower, and HEMIs.”

In its recently released study, the HLDI, which is affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, stated that the theft loss amounts for the Escalade, F-250, G37 and HEMI-powered Challenger were between three and five higher than other vehicles.

Theft losses are calculated on the rate at which theft claims are filed as well as the size of the claims paid by insurance companies. The study included passenger vehicles between one to three years old and found that the vehicles with the highest theft losses are large pickup trucks and SUVs. The Escalade holds the dubious distinction of having the highest overall theft losses in six of the last seven studies conducted by the institute. The four Escalade models top the list with average annual losses of more than seven times the average for all other passenger vehicles. Of the four models, the EXT 4WD ranked the highest with payments per insured year of $146. That compares with an average for all other passenger vehicles is only $14.

By segment, large luxury Sports Utility Vehicles rank highest in overall theft losses with an average of $82 in theft payments. Overall, theft losses for large pickup trucks averaged $57 per insured vehicle. The institute reported that two-door small cars have the lowest theft losses at just $4 per insured vehicle.

On average, nearly 25% of theft claims by Escalade owners were for $40,000 or more. All Escalade models come equipped with standard ignition immobilizers and other antitheft features. However, Hazelbacker said, “Thieves still can put them on flatbeds and haul them away.”

Unlike some other theft studies, including the one conducted each year by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the HLDI’s results are calculated by comparing the number of insurance claims for a particular vehicle to the number of insured vehicles of that make and model.

New to the list is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Although the Z06 isn’t stolen as often as many other vehicles on the list, claims payments for the model averaged $41,299.

Hazelbaker said large pickup trucks are also prime targets for thieves. She said, “Investigators tell us big work trucks like the Ford F-250/350, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Dodge Ram 2500 are attractive not only because of the vehicles themselves but also because of the tools and cargo they carry.”

So which vehicles have the lowest theft losses? Topping the list is the Volvo S80 with average theft losses of a mere 4% of the overall average for all other passenger vehicles. Also included in the HLDI list of lowest theft loss vehicles are the Nissan Murano, Saturn VUE 4WD and Toyota Prius.

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