Auto Theft Costing You in Insurance Fees

Auto Theft Costing You in Insurance Fees

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Richard Piatt ReportingAuto theft is a crime that keeps getting worse in Utah. Utah ranks 25th in the nation, and it's a problem that's causing your insurance rates to keep going up.

Here's a typical scenario: A car is stolen from a well-lit parking lot, taken to a dark alley and stripped. And you might be surprised how fast your car can go from street-worthy to scrap.

Two vehicles are stolen every minute in this country. It's an expensive crime with a black market to drive it. It cost taxpayers and insurance customers 30 billion dollars last year. And what's happening to stolen cars has changed in recent years. Stripping a car down quickly has become more important to thieves, and made it harder for police.

Curtis Stoddard, Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division: "Even if you're the neighbor that sees it, by the time we get out there, they're gone and this is what we have to deal with. "

On one of America's most frequently-stolen models, a Honda Civic, the state's Division of Motor Vehicle Enforcement showed us how quickly a car can be stripped. In six and a half minutes the car has no doors, no dash, no bumpers, hood or seats.

One of the main things motivating all this is that each of these individual pieces are worth much more as a piece than the car is as a whole. Whole, a 1999 Civic was worth $7800. The parts are worth at least 10-thousand dollars.

Eric McPherson, Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division: "They have identification numbers on them and if it's stripped off and in good condition, body shops will take them and move on. It's all about money. "

The best solution is protecting your car from being stolen; don't leave it running unattended. Keep in mind that 20 percent of your insurance bill goes to pay for both fraud and theft.

Don White, State Farm Insurance: "Obviously the costs incurred by the insurance companies are just passed on to the consumers."

The reality is some cars are easier to steal than others. But it's also amazing how easy people make it for thieves sometimes, leaving them running in chilly weather while they run inside a store "just for a minute'.

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