The Most Stolen Cars in the U.S.

Thieves are also attracted to a vehicle's cargo. The Ford F-250 and F-350 SuperCrew pickups have open beds that may include expensive equipment or tools that are just as appealing to thieves as the truck itself. The average loss payment claim for these vehicles are among the highest ($19,250 and $20,138, respectively), which may also include claims for whatever equipment or cargo these trucks may have been holding at the time they were stolen.

Adding Deterrents

Cadillac recognizes that the appeal to thieves "is an unfortunate side effect of the desirability" of the Escalade, but says it is doing its part to make the vehicle harder to steal, according to a Cadillac spokesperson. For the 2009 model year, Cadillac added a theft-deterrent feature through General Motors' OnStar communication system. When an Escalade or Hummer is reported stolen, OnStar will remotely shut off the vehicle's power, making it virtually impossible for anyone to drive it.

But reporting a vehicle stolen needs to happen quickly, since a thief wants to offload it quickly--either whole or as parts. The Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit organization, estimates a car is stolen every 24 minutes.

The best deterrent of all, however, is buying the kind of car that thieves tend not to steal, especially something like the Volvo V70 (the claim frequency is only 0.8 out of 1,000 per insured vehicle year). Nevertheless, if the V70 or any other car suddenly were to become attractive to thieves, auto experts say there is relatively little that a car owner can do to stop them. If professional thieves want a certain kind of car badly enough, they'll go to just about any lengths to get it.

"If a thief wants your car, they will load it on a flatbed," says Rader. They will either strip it for parts or head for coastal borders "where it will end up on a boat and be exported overseas."

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