How acquainted are you with the Kia Problem?
Even when you answered “By no means,” you could have nonetheless heard in regards to the TikTok development of individuals hot-wiring and stealing Kias and Hyundais for enjoyable.
This was an alarming flip of occasions for the homeowners of round 8.3 million at-risk automobiles, a quantity estimated by the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. Whereas each Kia and Hyundai have introduced software program updates to handle the difficulty, a lot of these autos are nonetheless unprotected, in accordance with the NHTSA — together with the automobiles owned by each writers of this text.
For full transparency: Ryan drives a Hyundai, Drew drives a Kia and neither car is presently eligible for the software program updates. So this text is extra than simply one other task — it’s additionally the recommendation we’re following to guard our automobiles.
What’s the Kia Problem?
The Kia Problem began in Milwaukee with a gaggle referred to as the Kia Boyz. They gained native notoriety in 2021, however discovered a nationwide viewers in July 2022 when a TikTok video confirmed how you can hot-wire a Kia with solely a screwdriver and a USB cable.
Kias and Hyundais have been focused due to an ignition software program vulnerability, in accordance with the NHTSA. A number of fashions from 2011-2022 don’t have anti-theft expertise that’s change into the trade commonplace. And when the Kia Problem turned a viral development, it brought about a spike in automobile theft.
In 2021, 6,970 Kias and Hyundais have been reported stolen in Milwaukee, in contrast with 895 Kias and Hyundais in 2020, in accordance with the workplace of the lawyer basic of Wisconsin. And Milwaukee is only one affected metropolis — Atlanta, Chicago and Denver even have seen will increase in thefts of the autos. You possibly can examine for data on car thefts in your space via USAFacts, a nonprofit that collects U.S. authorities knowledge. The group compiled knowledge on reported automobile thefts from greater than 500 police departments and federal businesses nationwide.
How the Kia Problem could have an effect on your insurance coverage
Having your car stolen is a nightmare. After submitting a police report, you might also need to submit separate insurance coverage claims for the car and any valuables inside, which is able to seemingly have an effect on your insurance coverage charges.
Now, the elevated threat for particular Kia and Hyundai years and fashions has made insurance coverage corporations cautious of overlaying these autos. In an emailed assertion, State Farm confirmed it has “briefly stopped accepting” functions in some states for some Hyundai and Kia autos.
Progressive has taken an analogous stance, saying in an emailed assertion that the corporate has seen theft improve by an element of 20 in some areas. A spokesperson confirmed by way of electronic mail that the corporate will proceed insuring present clients however has issued fewer new insurance policies and elevated premiums in some areas.
What you are able to do to remain insured
For those who drive a Kia or Hyundai, listed here are a couple of methods to enhance your possibilities of staying insured and conserving your charges in examine.
Contact your carmaker
Kia and Hyundai have rolled out free anti-theft software program updates for fashions on the highest threat. Contact your producer to see in case your mannequin is eligible, and if not, what choices you’ve got.
For instance, Drew came upon his Kia is eligible for the software program replace, though the replace gained’t roll out for his explicit automobile till someday this summer season.
Ryan was in a position to get reimbursed for a steering wheel lock (with receipt) after a cellphone name to Hyundai confirmed his automobile is ineligible for the software program replace. Hyundai did announce plans to reimburse homeowners for different anti-theft units like alarm kits.
Kia homeowners: Name 800-333-4542.
Contact your insurer
It’s arduous to foretell how the software program replace will impression Hyundai and Kia homeowners’ automobile insurance coverage within the close to time period, however there’s hope the replace could ultimately ease any price burden for affected drivers. In an emailed assertion, Progressive inspired homeowners to get the software program replace “as quickly as potential” and stated it would monitor the software program’s effectiveness and regulate Progressive insurance policies accordingly.
For those who haven’t acted but, make the decision to your agent or firm quickly. “Most individuals do not need to cope with insurance coverage till they need to file a declare,” says Scott Holeman, a spokesperson for the Insurance coverage Data Institute, a company consisting of insurance coverage provider member corporations.
You can begin by asking the next questions:
Do I’ve the protection I would like? Complete protection pays for car theft and vandalism, and rental reimbursement protection helps pay for a rental automobile when you want it.
How are my charges impacted? Don’t be shocked in case your charges go up if you renew your coverage, particularly when you stay in a high-crime space. Typically, the extra widespread a automobile is to steal, the costlier it’s to insure.
How can I get a greater worth? Ask about reductions and different methods to decrease prices. For instance, when you don’t drive a lot or when you park in a storage, you would possibly qualify for decrease charges. And let your insurer know when you’ve gotten the software program replace or put in anti-theft units.
Some price will increase are outdoors your management. “The excellent news is that auto insurance coverage is a extremely aggressive trade,” Holeman says. Even when you drive an at-risk Kia or Hyundai, some insurers will provide higher charges than others, so don’t be afraid to buy round, Holeman says.
NerdWallet recommends comparing car insurance quotes at the very least yearly. You must also store round any time you progress, purchase a brand new automobile or expertise a giant life change like getting married.
How you can keep away from getting your automobile stolen
There are a couple of greatest practices you may comply with to cut back the chances of getting your automobile stolen, no matter its make:
Park good. When potential, park in extremely seen areas, reminiscent of underneath a streetlamp or in safe areas like garages. Lock your doorways, shut your home windows and preserve valuables out of your automobile.
Set up an anti-theft system. Contemplate including safety like an aftermarket engine immobilizer or alarm system.
Add visible deterrents like a steering wheel lock or blinking mild. The presence of an anti-theft gadget could make would-be thieves assume twice about stealing your automobile, Holeman says. Hyundai and Kia additionally provide window stickers for purchasers who get the software program replace. You may even purchase a pretend anti-theft blinking mild or window sticker on-line.
Observe your automobile (simply in case). In case your automobile doesn’t have a car restoration system, take into account including one. You possibly can even cover a small monitoring gadget like an Apple AirTag someplace in your automobile, Holeman says.
All of the prevention on the earth cannot shield you totally from automobile theft. Nevertheless, following these steps gave us peace of thoughts, and we hope it helps you, too.