Press Release – AA Insurance
AA Insurance reports today that – based on the theft incidence rate of all AA Insurance car claims made over the past four years – Wellington has New Zealand’s second largest number of car thefts, beaten only by the Auckland region. South Island regions – excluding Christchurch – appear to have the lowest vehicle theft rate. A vehicle is over five times more likely to be stolen in Auckland than in the South Island (bar Christchurch).
AA Insurance also announced the 10 most frequently stolen cars, based on its own claims data. The Honda Torneo has topped the list for the second consecutive year, after debuting on the top 10 list in 2010.
Subaru models continue to be popular with thieves, with the Impreza moving up one spot this year to second position, tailed by the Forester and Legacy. Nissan models also prove popular, with the Skyline, Cefiro and Sunny making the list once again. New entries include the Mazda MPV and Mazda Atenza.
Top 10 Stolen Cars (Source: AA Insurance claims data Jan 2009 – Dec 2012)
1. Honda Torneo
2. Subaru Impreza
3. Subaru Forester
4. Subaru Legacy
5. Nissan Skyline
6. Nissan Cefiro
7. Nissan Sunny
8. Mazda MPV
9. Honda Integra
10. Mazda Atenza
The average value of a stolen vehicle in the top 10 list is $5,360.
Owners of newer models of cars on the list should not be unnecessarily alarmed, as thieves prefer older vehicles as they tend to have less sophisticated security features and are often easier to steal. AA Insurance has found that 89 per cent of theft claims relating to models in the top 10 list were for cars manufactured more than 10 years ago. Sixty-six per cent of the vehicles on the list were manufactured before 2000.
According to AA Insurance claims data, a car manufactured before 1997 is twice as likely to be stolen as a car manufactured from 2005 onwards.
“We have a large fleet of ageing, second-hand, imported cars in New Zealand, so it’s no surprise that older models, which have less-advanced or no security features than newer vehicles, are easy targets for thieves,” said Suzanne Wolton, Head of Customer Relations, AA Insurance.
“Whether your car is an older import or not, there are some simple things you can do to make your car less attractive to thieves,” said Suzanne. “Install an alarm, a steering lock or consider an immobiliser and make sure it can be clearly seen. Thieves will always go for the easiest, fastest option, so if you make it just a little bit harder for them, chances are they’ll lose interest in your car and move on to an easier target.”
While vehicle theft remains a concern, rates have been decreasing over the last three years. According to New Zealand Police crime statistics on motor vehicle theft and related offences, there were 55,618 reported offences in 2011/2012, compared to 58,299 in 2010/2011, and 61,363 in 2009/2010.
“Our claims data has revealed that vehicles are most commonly stolen when parked on the street or in the driveway at the owner’s home at night. So the best chance of keeping your vehicle safe is to park it in a garage or carport,” said Suzanne.
One AA Insurance customer learnt this lesson the hard way. His older model Nissan was stolen from the street outside his home overnight, and was later found burnt-out at a local riverbed. The customer subsequently moved, and replaced his Nissan with an older model Toyota. Sadly, this replacement vehicle was also stolen from the street outside his new address, and it too was found burnt-out in the riverbed.
“The premiums of about 30 customers went on paying these two claims alone,” said Suzanne. “It’s in everyone’s interest, apart from the thieves’, to make our cars as difficult to steal as we can, so that insurance remains as affordable as possible.”
“If you do park on the street, then park under a street light, as this will make your car – and any potential thieves – easier to spot. And if parking in a car park, park near the attendant or in front of a security camera where you know your car will be seen.
“One of the simplest things you can do is to lock your car, even when it’s at home or parked in the garage,” said Suzanne. “Always know where your keys are and, even at home, never leave them out in the open or in the car.”
It’s also good to remember to be extra vigilant over weekends and during the summer months when there are generally more thefts reported. AA Insurance claims data shows vehicles are more likely to be stolen during the weekend – from Friday night through to Monday morning – as well as during balmy weather; thieves, like the rest of us, hate cold weather.
AA Insurance tips for preventing car theft
• Always lock your car, even when parking at home
• Keep all valuables and your car keys out of sight
• If you have to park on the street make sure your car is under a street light or in a well-lit area
• Use an attended, secure parking building if possible and park close to the entrance or exit
• Install visible security such as an alarm light, immobiliser or steering lock
• Never leave your keys in the car or your car running when unattended
To calculate theft incidence rate, AA Insurance measures the number of claims made for each model of car for which 20 or more claims have been made, as a percentage of the total number of policies it holds for that model. The information is based on AA Insurance’s highest theft claims incidence over the last four years for cars covered under comprehensive insurance.