Wednesday, 13 October 2021 20:27

Mercury Insurance Reports 40% Spike in California Comprehensive Car Claims


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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 and 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 and 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.


Source: Mercury Insurance


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