The Ford F-Series has been America's best-selling truck for decades, but along with the good comes the bad, apparently. In addition to being popular with consumers, the Highway Loss Data Institute notes that the F-Series Super Duty has risen in popularity among thieves. Based on its new study, the four-wheel drive crew cab F-250 Super Duty has topped the list for the country's highest rate of insurance theft claims, knocking the Cadillac Escalade from the top spot – a distinction the luxury SUV has held since this annual report was first established in 2003.

To reach its findings, HLDI looks at theft data from the previous three model years (in this case 2010-2012) to determine the frequency of claims for a particular make and mode,l as well as the average payment per claim. As the report points out, the claims aren't always for the theft of the entire vehicle – they can include components (say, wheels and tires) or property taken from the vehicle. At seven claims per 1,000 insured vehicles, the F-250 is six times more likely to suffer a theft claim than the average vehicle.

The Cadillac likely dropped from the top of the list to sixth due to additional theft-prevention features including a steering wheel lock and inclination sensor for the alarm, but GM's other fullsize trucks and SUVs still occupy eight of the list's 10 spots. Some of the least stolen vehicles with below-average loss payments include the Lexus HS250h, Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V and Dodge Journey. Head on over to the HLDI's website for the full list that shows the most and least popular vehicles among thieves from 2010 through 2012.
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Ford F-250 has highest theft rate of any 2010-12 vehicle;
Cadillac Escalade drops to 6th on list after years on top


ARLINGTON, Va. - The Ford F-250 has replaced the Cadillac Escalade as the favorite target of thieves, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) reports. 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.

"General Motors has put a lot of effort into new antitheft technology, so that may help explain the decline in the Escalade's theft rate," says HLDI Vice President Matt Moore. "On the other hand, sales of the Escalade have fallen in recent years, so there may be less of a market for stolen Escalades or Escalade parts."

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 don't distinguish 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.

This year the Escalade has a claim frequency of 5.5 per 1,000 insured vehicle years. Though still more than 4½ times the average, that's about half the rate for 2007-09 Escalades reported in 2010. Only the regular four-wheel-drive version of the Escalade is included in this report. Other versions didn't have sufficient exposure or claims. To be included, a vehicle must have at least 20,000 insured vehicle years or 100 claims.

The Escalade always has had a standard ignition immobilizer, but thieves still could tow away the SUV on a flatbed truck. Since 2010, the Escalade has had a steering column lock as well. An improved version of this feature, along with an inclination sensor that sets off an alarm when the vehicle's angle is changed, was added in the 2012 model year. One indication these new features may be helping is that the average loss payment of each Escalade claim has fallen to $6,508, suggesting fewer whole-vehicle thefts. In contrast, the average loss payment for 2007-09 Escalades was $11,934. Other antitheft features, including a wheel-lock system, are available as options on 2012 models.

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 simply lists the most frequently stolen vehicles. As a result, that list usually reflects the most commonly driven models.


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  • 41 Comments
      sortabad83
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have a feeling a lot of them get transported out of the country.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Scooter
        • 1 Year Ago
        They didn't go anywhere, you find Hummers on your local dealers lot for under $18,000 just about anywhere.
          mchica
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          GM and depreciation go hand in hand :(
      barry.love1
      • 1 Year Ago
      The highest claims rates are Fords and GMs, and all are fullsize trucks and suvs. I guess jackers are not worried about mpg's.
        merlot066
        • 1 Year Ago
        @barry.love1
        The statistic also includes vehicles being broken into. Large SUVs are typically owned by families with kids, who probably leave them unlocked with valuables inside (iPads, DVD players, wallets). And work trucks like the F250 are used primarily by people who work out of them and keep lots of office-type supplies inside (laptops, mobile printers, checkbooks). I draw that conclusion from real life experience of my neighbor leaving their Sequoia unlocked and my uncle having the front window of his Sierra smashed and their belongings stolen.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      I guess thieves have fine taste.
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      What's even more messed up is contractors will have tools and things stolen on the worksite during the job talk about low.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cruising
        [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cruising
        [blocked]
      Doss
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's no wonder the Super Duty has so many theft claims against it. Has anyone seen how easy it is to break into one (2003-present)? Stick a screwdriver under the door latch panel and then unlock the door. That's how easy. Seriously, check youtube. It takes about 15 seconds. On top of that, most modern trucks have some high-dollar equipment in them. Navigation, leather seats (King Ranch), and then all the other stuff the owners leave in them. All of this is pretty easy to take out too. The tailgate on trucks are really valuable as well and literally takes less than 2 minutes to walk off with. The step tailgate on some of these trucks are $1000+ and even if locked will fall to the same break in methods as the door locks. There are plenty of other parts that are really easy to resell on these. Top that off with the fact that there are literally thousands of these trucks on the road and you have a vehicle that can easily be broken into and then driven away while fading into the crowd.
      hayato
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hyundai Tucson? Dodge Journey? Wouldn't be surprised if the thieves brought'em back.
      ksrcm
      • 1 Year Ago
      God bless ... thieves in this country have a REALLY bad taste. My CAR, nay, coupe is perfectly safe.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ksrcm
        [blocked]
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      I always get a chuckle when somebody thinks thieves want their "new" cars. My neighbor used to block in his Nissan Juke with all his other cars. Hilarious!, you can't even pay most people to drive that thing, let alone steal it. On a more serious note, I think many people mistakenly think everybody wants their precious car. For the most part the cars most often stolen are the ones with the most "street" value. Be it for looks (Caddys), purpose (older Honda Civics) or just street value in general. I'm sorry but chances are no thief wants your brand new Hyundai Sonata, chances are the dirty old 90's Honda Accord parked next to you would be stolen ten times before a thief would even consider most cars.
      mary.keana
      • 1 Year Ago
      Who knew farm equipment was such a hot item
        Scooter
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mary.keana
        Guys in my area do all kinds of things to trucks, lift kits and rims, not really surprised. Some of those trucks brand new reach well into the $40k's.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mary.keana
        [blocked]
          mary.keana
          • 1 Year Ago
          Since the CR-V is the best selling SUV on the planet, kinda makes sense. Not sure why your reply makes any sense however. Are you saying a CR-V makes just as good a piece of farming equipment as a Ford heavy duty pickup truck?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mary.keana
        [blocked]
      johnb
      • 1 Year Ago
      My car wouldn't get stolen with the engine running, doors open, and abandoned in detroit.
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