LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercury Insurance is reporting a dramatic increase in vehicle vandalism and auto theft in California with comprehensive auto insurance claims up 40% since pre-pandemic levels. While the increase in theft and vandalism began when the COVID-19 pandemic started, theft of audio and other car parts, including catalytic converters, continue to rise as pandemic restrictions are relaxed.
"Thieves have been waiting for this moment," said Randy Petro, Vice President and Chief Claims Officer at Mercury Insurance. "Staying vigilant and keeping in mind good practices when you leave your vehicle can help reduce the likelihood of your car being stolen or damaged. Comprehensive coverage provides that extra peace of mind knowing you will be covered from theft or vandalism."
This year, Northern California has reported nearly twice the comprehensive auto claim frequency than Southern California, with smaller population density areas reporting a higher theft rate than areas with larger populations. The top five vehicles for Mercury comprehensive claims in California are the:
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Tacoma
- Toyota Camry
"Thieves love the Toyota Prius," said Petro. "The frequency of claims for this vehicle compared to the other vehicles on the list is nearly double. If you own a Prius, be extra careful of where you park and what you keep in it."
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, California leads the nation in car thefts. Motor vehicle theft reports have increased nearly 24% since 2019. The top five vehicles for Mercury total thefts in California are the:
- Chevy Silverado 1500
- Hyundai Sonata
- Honda Accord
- Kia Optima
- Honda Civic
Car thieves can strike anywhere at any time. According to Mercury claim data, nearly 22% of comprehensive claim losses occur at night. Mercury offers the following tips to help keep owners from falling victim to a potential prowler:
- Never leave keys in the ignition or the car running while unattended, not even when parked in front of your house or on your property.
- Whenever possible park in well-lit, high traffic areas.
- Roll up all windows, lock your vehicle, and set your car alarm every time you park.
- Never leave purses, wallets, cell phones, keys, or packages in plain view. It doesn't matter if the windows are rolled up and the alarm is on, a smash and grab can occur within seconds.
- Never leave personal identification, such as a driver's license or your vehicle title, in your car.
- Purchase comprehensive insurance coverage to protect your vehicle in the event it is damaged due to something other than a car collision—such as theft, vandalism, fire, and floods.
Victims of auto theft or vandalism should contact their local police department immediately to file a report. Contact your insurance company and file a claim within 24 hours of your vehicle being vandalized or stolen.
About Mercury Insurance
Mercury Insurance (NYSE: MCY) is a multiple-line insurance carrier predominantly offering personal auto, homeowners, renters and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia, as well as auto insurance in Florida. Mercury writes other lines of insurance in various states, including business owners and business auto, landlord, home-sharing, ride-hailing and mechanical protection insurance.
Since 1962, Mercury has provided customers with tremendous value for their insurance dollar by pairing ultracompetitive rates with excellent customer service. Mercury has earned "A" ratings from A.M. Best and Fitch, as well as ranking highest in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Insurance Digital Experience StudySM and four consecutive "Best Auto Insurance Company" awards from Insure.com. For more information visit www.MercuryInsurance.com or follow the company on Twitter or Facebook.
SOURCE Mercury Insurance