Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Written by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Dec 27, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Cars are commonly stolen for replacement parts
  • Older models are at a high risk because they’re easier to steal
  • The most popular models with consumers are also the most popular models with criminals

In some cases, cars thefts are a crime of opportunity, but there is often a larger pattern at play.

While you may think that high-end cars are at the top of the list for criminals, it may surprise you to learn that simple family sedans and work trucks are head of the list for most stolen cars.

As you learn more about the patterns and trends, you can effectively protect your investments from theft.

If you also want the best auto insurance rates, start comparison shopping by entering your ZIP code above!

A Pattern to Car Theft

A car is stolen every 48 seconds in the United States, meaning that nearly a million cars are stolen every year.

There’s typically one underlying motivation for stealing a car, and that is the money that people stand to make from either selling the vehicle intact, shipping it overseas, or breaking it into pieces and selling it for parts.

There are several factors that play into whether your car becomes a target. Factors include the make and model as well as where you park it. A running car is a particularly easy target, and criminals love finding spare keys in or around cars.

However, there are a few things the criminals hate, including:

  • Daylight and well-lit locations
  • Kill switches
  • Loud alarms
  • Nosey neighbors
  • Security cameras

Understanding What Makes Some Cars Bigger Targets

The criminals are looking for certain models that are easier to sell or have a high demand for second-hand parts.

However, they’re also on the lookout for easy marks where they can get in and out quick while making some easy cash.

Here are the top mistakes car owners can make when it comes to protecting their vehicles:

  • Leave the car doors unlocked
  • Park in dark or deserted areas
  • Neglect to use anti-theft systems or alarms
  • Leave the car unlocked or running while in the driveway
  • Assume that an old car is safe from theft
  • Leave valuables out in plain view

Where You Live Matters

Where you live can also make a difference in your risk level. Throughout Florida, there are certain hot spots that are simply more popular among thieves.

These hot spots include:

  • The 10 most populous counties, including Dade, Broward, and Hillsborough
  • Apartment community parking lots and apartment parking garages
  • Household driveways

You should especially be just as cautious at home as you are when out running errands. Criminals are always looking for targets, and a quiet neighborhood at night is more attractive than the mall parking lot in the middle of the day.

Choose the Right Home

You can protect yourself by choosing the right type of home. It’s not just about finding a nice neighborhood with low crime rates.

You really want to look for certain home features that will help keep your property safe, including:

  • Streetlights that come on at dark
  • Exterior home lighting that will eliminate most shadows around the car
  • Lockable garage where you can keep your car a little safer

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10 Most Stolen Vehicles in Florida

Nothing on this list is considered a high-end car, but one just might be out in your driveway. Peruse the vehicles below to find whether the car you own made it on Florida’s top 10 list. If you own one of these cars, then you may want to invest in anti-crime systems and better insurance.

10 Most Stolen Vehicles in Florida

(Click here for an interactive chart)

#10 – 2014 Nissan Maxima

The Maxima consistently gets high marks from consumer groups, and it’s one of the most popular cars in the country. This popularity may be why it makes the top ten list in Florida with 479 thefts in 2015 alone.

When cars are in high demand, they also have an increased demand for expensive replacement parts. By parting out the car and selling the pieces off, thieves can maximize their profit levels while tidily disposing of evidence.

#9 – 2005 Dodge Pickup (Full Size)

The Dodge trucks have a reputation for being hardworking and reliable, and the older Rams are still on the road.

Current owners may also need parts that are becoming harder to find. The scarcity of parts may be why 534 of these trucks vanished from properties throughout Florida.

#8 – 2015 Chevrolet Impala

The Impala is a non-assuming yet attractive car. It’s popular with families and commuters alike, and thieves helped themselves to 542 last year.

Experts believe that several factors play into the high theft levels for the Impala, including the black market for parts and the fact that they’re easy to break into.

#7 – 2015 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)

There were 786 Chevy pickups were stolen last year, and this may be a reflection of how popular the Silverado has become.

Authorities urge owners of these cars to park their trucks at the head of the driveway with another vehicle behind it to essentially secure it in place until you’re ready to use the truck.

#6 – 2014 Toyota Corolla

The Corolla comes loaded with technological features and cool accessories, and that also makes this car a prime target for thieves. The car is popular with the American public, and that will keep it a top choice among car thieves.

914 were stolen in Florida, so owners are encouraged to use anti-theft systems and keep their cars locked.

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#5 – 1997 Honda Accord

Honda Accords are a top choice among criminals across the country, and Florida is no exception with 1,025 models being stolen in one year.

Honda has attempted to address this long-running problem with anti-theft measures, but this car continues to be in the top ten across the nation.

In addition to keeping your Honda locked at all times, you also may want to invest in better insurance.

#4 – 2014 Toyota Camry

Families love the Camry, and so do car thieves.

With 1,089 models stolen in Florida alone, it’s clear that the Camry is a high-risk car that may cost you a little more to insure.

Models from the late 1990s are the most popular because they were easy to steal, but recent changes from the manufacturer have helped to reverse this trend.

#3 – 2015 Nissan Altima

This car made the top list for the entire nation, so it’s no surprise that 1,098 were stolen in the Sunshine State.

Auto theft is only covered under the comprehensive part of your insurance plan, so plan on investing in this upgrade if you’re interested in this sport, family-friendly car.

#2 – 2000 Honda Civic

Overall, thefts of automobiles are down, yet 1,127 Civics were reported stolen in Florida.

It’s important to note that newer models are not stolen as frequently thanks to improvements in technology and anti-theft systems, but older models in the 2000 are still in high demand.

#1 – 2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size)

In addition to taking 2,070 trucks, criminals also love stealing things out of the beds of trucks.

If you’re a tradesman who travels with tools, then you should add locking tool boxes or even a cap to your truck to protect the contents. Keep the truck doors and windows locked, and be sure to get a quality anti-theft alarm to reduce your risk of theft.

Steps You Can Take to Avoid Car Theft

If you’re feeling a little concerned about the high risk of car theft, then you’ll be relieved to learn that there are at least a dozen ways to protect your investment and keep your insurance rates down.

Follow these tips to thwart the criminals:

  • Always lock the car and take the key with you
  • Never leave the keys in your car when you go to pay for gas or even pump the gas
  • Don’t use hidden spare keys that are attached to wheel wells or other parts of your car
  • Keep valuables out of sight to reduce temptation
  • Park in the garage when possible
  • Point the nose of your car towards an obstacle like a house or pole while turning your wheels hard to one side so that the car will be more difficult to roll
  • Firmly secure your convertible top, and keep windows rolled up all the way
  • Consider buying a manual transmission that most young thieves won’t know how to drive
  • Have parts like fenders and window glass chemically etched with your VIN
  • Invest in a tracking device
  • Use immobilizing systems that will actually shut the car down
  • Get a visible steering wheel lock to make your car a less attractive target

Shopping Around for the Right Coverage

Most insurance companies offer comprehensive coverage, but the rates can vary drastically based on:

  • Your car’s features
  • Where you live
  • Your coverage levels
  • Deductible
  • Discounts you may qualify for

By shopping around, you can identify better policies with lower rates and get the best quote.

Before making your final decision, check the ratings on companies to ensure that you’re doing business with a reputable firm.

Start comparison shopping today by entering your ZIP code below in our FREE online quote tool!