The rich and famous helped popularize the Cadillac Escalade in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and since then, you hear less about the Escalade. This luxury behemoth, however, is still popular among thieves. According to the Highway Loss Data Institute’s analysis of insurance claims for vehicles from the 2008 to 2010 model years, the Escalade is six times more likely to be targeted by thieves.
The HLDI notes that these results aren’t unusual. “The Escalade for years has dominated HLDI's list of vehicles with the most theft claims, and 4 versions of the luxury SUV appear at the top this time,” the HLDI says. The Escalade EXT is the most stolen, with more than 14 claims for every 1,000 vehicles. The HLDI says that is more than eight times the average.
The Ford F-250 crew cab with four-wheel drive has the second highest number of claims, with 9.7 per every 1,000 insured vehicles. In fact, the Chrysler 300 HEMI is the only vehicle with the highest claim rates that isn’t a truck. The HLDI attributes this trend to the early availability of ignition immobilizers in cars and SUVs. Ignition immobilizers keep thieves from hot wiring your car, a process that allows them to start the engine without a key.
But the HLDI says that the commonality of ignition immobilizers doesn’t account for all thefts. “Immobilizers are a good deterrent against joy-riding teenagers, but professional thieves can easily haul away an SUV on a flatbed truck,” says HLDI Senior Vice President Kim Hazelbaker. “A pickup that can’t be driven away is still vulnerable to having tools and cargo snatched from its bed.”
Cars, SUVs and one wagon round out the HLDI’s vehicles with the lowest claim rates. The Audi A6, a large luxury car, has the lowest claim rates, with 0.5 claims per 1,000 vehicles. The 2009 to 2010 Mercury Mariner, 2012 Chevrolet Equinox and 2009 to 2010 Volkswagen CC follow.
The HLDI says its theft numbers can’t compare with figures from other organizations because they are based on the number of insured vehicles. The National Insurance Crime Bureau, for example, addresses the number of stolen vehicles, regardless of whether or not they are insured. “As a result, the list usually reflects the most commonly driven vehicles, not how likely a vehicle is to be targeted,” the HLDI says. To calculate theft claims, the HLDI uses insurance data from companies that represent about 80 percent of privately insured vehicles, and includes all types of theft: entire vehicles, vehicle parts and vehicle contents.
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