The top 5 most stolen vehicles and how to reduce your theft risk

Anti-theft lock on a steering wheel.
Anti-theft lock on a steering wheel.
Author Jason Lam
Associate Director of Data Analytics – Dairyland
February 19, 2024

According to the National Insurance Crime Board (NICB), a car is stolen every 34 seconds in the United States.* That's pretty eye-opening. To put that in perspective, in the time it takes to read this post, eight or nine vehicles will have been stolen.

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Some key statistics from the full NICB report include:

  • The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports in 2022, more than a million vehicles were stolen—costing vehicle owners more than $8 billion.

  • Owners who reported their vehicles stolen within 24 hours were 34% more likely to get their vehicles back.

  • From 2020 to 2021, vehicle theft increased by 8%.

Top 5 most frequently stolen vehicles in the U.S.

Protecting yourself and your family from the risk of vehicle theft starts with understanding which ones are targeted by thieves. Keep in mind that just because the following vehicles are frequently stolen, it doesn't make them unsafe or problematic. In fact, it’s not a coincidence that several of these vehicles are also among the most commonly owned throughout the country.

#5. Toyota Camry

  • 2021 thefts: 17,270

  • Most-stolen model year: 2007

#4. Honda Accord

  • 2021 thefts: 30,274

  • Most-stolen model year: 1997

#3. Honda Civic

  • 2021 thefts: 31,673

  • Most-stolen model year: 2000

#2. Ford full-size pick-up

  • 2021 thefts: 47,999

  • Most-stolen model year: 2006

#1. Chevrolet full-size pick-up

  • 2021 thefts: 48,206

  • Most-stolen model year: 2004

Illustration of a car with a lock
Help ensure you’re covered for the unexpected

Why are vehicles stolen?

While vehicles are typically stolen for their parts—like sound systems, rims, catalytic converters, engines, and transmissions—thieves also steal them for expensive items people leave inside their cars, such as:

  • GPS devices

  • Smartphones and other mobile devices

  • Laptop computers

  • Purses and shopping bags

How can you protect your vehicle from theft?

Continued awareness is a crucial factor. Here are some precautionary measures you can take to help keep your car in your possession:

  • Install an alarm

  • Use a steering-wheel lock

  • Install a vehicle immobilizing device

  • Hide a GPS tracker in the vehicle

  • Park inside a garage or carpark whenever possible

  • Roll windows all the way up and lock car doors

  • Never leave the keys in the car

  • Always remove valuables from the vehicle

Illustration of two talk bubbles with dollar sign and a shield
Get peace of mind and help protect your vehicle

It can be a relief when your car is located, whether by you or local authorities—but safety is paramount. In the event you find your car before you've heard back from law enforcement:

  • Immediately call the officer you spoke with to provide the vehicle's location.

  • Contact your insurance representative with the updated information.

  • Wait for the police to arrive before approaching or entering your vehicle.

We recommend this because the thieves could still be nearby and could pose a physical danger to you and anyone with you. Plus, if there's any new damage to the vehicle, law enforcement officers need to document it as part of the investigation spurred by your original report.

If you find the vehicle and enter it prior to police arriving, your insurance company may deny your claim. Your claim may also be denied in some states if it's found that owner negligence played a role in the theft.

What to do if your car is stolen

Having your vehicle stolen can be a scary and violating experience. But if it happens to you, taking the following steps can increase the likelihood of getting your vehicle back quickly and in one piece:

  • Call law enforcement. It's natural to feel completely shocked when you discover your car isn't where you left it. Gather your thoughts and call your local police station.

  • Call your insurance provider. Within 24 hours from the time your car was stolen (preferably immediately after you finish speaking with law enforcement), call your insurance company.

  • Get the police report. If you haven't yet received a copy of the report, request the assigned case number.

Driver behaviors that contribute to theft

Sometimes, a driver’s complacency and absentmindedness can make things easy for vehicle thieves. Leaving your keys inside the vehicle, letting the car run while you grab something at the corner store, or not locking your vehicle doors can make it an easy target.

Every winter, people in colder climates warm their vehicles by letting them idle—either with a remote start button or with the keys in the ignition. And while this can lead to a slightly warmer ride, an unattended running vehicle is an open invitation for prospective thieves. As a result, several states have passed legislation making it illegal to leave your car running unattended—even in your own driveway.

Get Dairyland® comprehensive auto insurance

Protect your investment and your peace of mind with Dairyland comprehensive auto insurance. Comprehensive coverage can provide financial protection against covered theft, offering reimbursement for your vehicle's actual cash value (up to your policy limits) if it's stolen. This can help ease the financial burden of replacing your car or paying for repairs if it's damaged during the theft.

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The general information in this blog is for informational or entertainment purposes only. View our blog disclaimer.

*Data accuracy is subject to this article's publication date.