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Auto Theft Rate Drops for Sixth Straight Year

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Reviewed byJoel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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The auto theft rate in the United States dropped for the sixth straight year in 2009, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

One would assume with the way the economy is going, auto theft would be on the rise, but statistics compiled by the NICB reveal quite the opposite.

The group reported that auto thefts have fallen a whopping 18.7% in the first six months of 2009 compared to the first six months of 2008.

This is good news for all of us with auto insurance, because insurance companies spread the cost of theft among all of us when determining car insurance rates.

In the event your car was stolen, you would need to have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy in order to be compensated. “Comp,” in addition to collision coverage, constitutes the physical damage portion of your auto policy.

Physical damage coverage is not mandatory on a vehicle unless you have a loan or are leasing the vehicle. Your lender (lienholder) typically requires this coverage to protect their interest in the car. They want to make sure it gets fixed or replaced in the event of an accident.

Liability insurance is the other piece of the puzzle. This minimum car insurance coverage, or at least the minimum liability limits, are mandatory in almost every state.

The states that do not require auto insurance still enforce laws that require a form of bond, or self insurance that demonstrates a threshold of financial responsibility.

“Full coverage” is the term used to describe a policy that has both liability and physical damage coverage.

Laredo, Texas top spot for car theft.

If you’re wondering where the worst place for car theft is…it’s Laredo, TX. If you’re not familiar, it’s located at the very tip of Texas, on the border of Mexico.

In fact, there is a “mirror” town on the Mexico side of the border know as Neuvo Laredo. The area is known as a narcotic trafficking area, which is probably tied to the elevated auto theft rate.

Laredo “stole” the top spot (pun intended) from Modesto, California, which was number one in 2008. Don’t worry though California, you still have three of the top four spots according the data collected by the NCIB; Modesto fell to number two, followed by Bakersfield, Stockton and Fresno CA.

Modesto and Laredo may have some serious competition in 2010 though, as Fresno jumped five spots in 2008 from number ten on the list.

The moral of the story is; stay away from the southern tip of Texas and most of inland, central California if you don’t want an abnormally high chance of having your car stolen.

For those who live there, it is recommended you purchase full coverage auto insurance and make sure to keep your doors locked at night!

Top 10 Cities for Car Theft

1. Laredo, TX
2. Modesto, CA
3. Bakersfield, CA
4. Stockton, CA
5. Fresno, CA
6. Yakima, WA
7. Bay Area, CA
8. Visalia-Porterville, CA
9. Las Vegas, NV
10. Albuquerque, NM

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