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The Facts

  1. The Northwest is a hotbed for auto thieves as 38,629 vehicles were reported stolen across all three states in 2011, an average of 106 vehicles per day and nearly five vehicles an hour.
  2. Spokane topped all Northwest cities with the fourth-highest auto theft rate in the nation in 2011.
  3. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area and Yakima ranked 12th and 5th respectively.
  4. Auto theft is the nation's number one property crime, costing an estimated $5.2 billion in 2009.
  5. Washington ranked highest among the Northwest states with 28,833 stolen vehicles, a 1.6 percent drop from 29,298 in 2010.
  6. In Oregon, 8,896 vehicles were stolen last year, a 3 percent decrease from 2010 figures when thieves stole 9,169 vehicles.
  7. Idaho reported 900 stolen vehicles in 2011, a 6.4 percent drop from 2010.
  8. NW Insurance Council offers an annual $5,000 Insurance Fraud Awards Fund for citizens who report fraudsters. Call the Fraud Hotline at 800-TEL-NICB. Callers may remain anonymous.
  9. Claims for theft of insured vehicles are paid under the auto policy's Comprehensive Coverage. Industry-wide, about 26 percent of the comprehensive premium is used to pay theft claims, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. This figure may vary widely by specific region, depending on the seriousness of the theft problem in that area.
  10. The FBI estimates the average economic loss for each vehicle stolen in 2010 was $6,152. The total economic loss for Washington state residents for the year was $177 million.
  11. Insurance premiums are based on actual losses. Several factors are evaluated to determine auto insurance rates: age, driving record, claims history, type of vehicle, auto theft, where you live, etc.
  12. Current statistics may show a higher propensity for auto theft in one city as compared to another. Insurance companies analyze trends over the course of several years to accurately set rates.
  13. Insurance premiums are affected by the number of insured vehicles stolen and the value of those vehicles.
  14. NW Insurance Council works closely with insurance companies and law enforcement agencies to combat auto theft and educate consumers.
  15. Many insurance companies provide premium discounts for specific vehicle anti-theft devices. Thirteen states require anti-theft discounts. The state determines which devices are eligible and the amount of the discount for each device. Generally, these discounts range from 5 percent to 30 percent of the comprehensive premium, depending on the sophistication of each device. States that require discounts for specific antitheft devices are: Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas.

Resources: National Insurance Crime Bureau, Insurance Information Institute