Drivers in the U.S. reported over a million motor vehicles stolen in 2023, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). That’s roughly the same theft rate as 2022, but part of an ongoing spike in auto theft since 2019. The latest auto theft statistics available from NICB, the FBI and other expert sources indicate that technological vulnerabilities are a major driver of motor vehicle theft in 2024.

Key auto theft statistics

  • In 2023, 1,020,729 vehicles were reported stolen, up from 1,008,756 in 2022. (NICB)
  • California remains the state with the most vehicles stolen in 2023 (208,668), but Colorado has the highest theft rate (NICB)
  • Maryland and the District of Columbia saw the biggest percent increase in thefts from 2022 to 2023. (NICB)
  • Theft claim frequency for 2003–2023 Hyundai and Kia models was almost 7 times higher than for all other makes in the first six months of 2023. (IIHS-HLDI)
  • The average claim severity for stolen cars other than Hyundai and Kia models was $21,681 in the first half of 2023. (IIHS-HLDI)
  • Motor vehicle theft is the third most common property crime in the United States. (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics)
  • In 2022, over 85 percent of stolen vehicles were recovered, with 34 percent recovered the same day. (NICB)

How often do cars get stolen?

Car theft is increasingly common in the U.S. In 2023, 1,020,729 vehicles were stolen, compared to 1,008,756 in 2022 and 794,019 in 2019, according to the NICB. That’s an increase of 28.5 percent in just four years.

According to the latest data from the FBI, the motor vehicle theft rate per 100k people in the U.S. was 282.7 in 2022. The FBI also found that:

  • In 2022, 45 percent of auto theft victims were between the ages of 20 and 39.
  • 12 percent of offenders in 2022 were teenagers.
  • Only 23 percent of auto thefts were committed by offenders confirmed to be known to the victim.
  • 33 percent of stolen vehicles were taken from a residence, compared to 25 percent from a highway or street and 23 percent from a parking lot or garage.

In other words, while rates of car theft are up across the country, you’re more likely to experience this crime if you’re a young driver parking your car somewhere other than a home garage.

Where do the most cars get stolen?

In 2023, the three states with the highest motor vehicle theft rates per 100k people were the District of Columbia, Colorado and Nevada. The top metropolitan statistical areas by theft volume were Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley and Chicago-Naperville-Elgin.

  • The five states with the greatest increase in auto theft rate from 2022 were District of Columbia (64 percent), Maryland (63 percent), Connecticut (33 percent), Nevada (18 percent) and Massachusetts (16 percent).
  • The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area saw the largest increase in thefts compared to 2022 (52 percent).
  • The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area saw the largest decrease in auto thefts from 2022 to 2023 (-22 percent).
  • San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas-Fort Worth saw major spikes in auto thefts (28, 19 and 13 percent).

California, Texas and Florida remain the three states with the highest overall number of cars stolen in 2023 due to high population numbers, but none of these saw a major increase in theft rates from 2022 to 2023.

Car theft statistics by state

The NICB hasn’t yet released its full auto theft report for 2023, but 2022 data points to states in the West and the Washington, D.C., area as key areas for motor vehicle theft, while New England states like Maine and New Hampshire see the lowest rates of auto theft overall.

State Theft rate per 100k people Thefts
Colorado 731.28 42,706
District of Columbia 700.06 4,703
Washington 603.54 46,990
Oregon 540.88 22,934
New Mexico 540.57 11,424
California 520.17 203,018
Missouri 482.60 29,815
Nevada 480.81 15,279
Texas 350.10 105,133
Tennessee 337.95 23,830
Minnesota 311.90 17,832
Illinois 307.57 38,699
Oklahoma 298.70 12,007
Louisiana 297.11 13,638
Arizona 294.79 21,694
Kansas 292.39 8,588
South Carolina 290.48 15,345
Arkansas 269.76 8,216
Maryland 260.94 16,086
Ohio 258.26 30,361
Nebraska 257.02 5,058
Michigan 256.65 25,753
South Dakota 248.29 2,259
Alaska 245.64 1,802
Georgia 243.86 26,612
Kentucky 226.43 10,217
Indiana 225.96 15,440
North Dakota 224.57 1,750
Montana 223.71 2,512
North Carolina 220.36 23,576
Utah 209.48 7,082
Alabama 209.21 10,616
Mississippi 209.18 6,150
Florida 206.88 46,020
Wisconsin 198.71 11,709
Connecticut 195.55 7,091
Delaware 184.51 1,879
Hawaii 183.24 2,639
New Jersey 174.54 16,165
Pennsylvania 172.73 22,407
Iowa 168.07 5,379
Rhode Island 164.21 1,796
Virginia 164.17 14,256
Vermont 160.57 1,039
New York 143.94 28,323
Wyoming 132.44 770
West Virginia 115.26 2,046
Massachusetts 101.46 7,084
Idaho 91.08 1,766
Puerto Rico 84.89 2,735
Maine 68.14 944
New Hampshire 53.75 750

What vehicles are stolen most often?

Data from the NICB and HLDI show that full-size pickup trucks, older Honda sedans and Hyundai and Kia vehicles from 2011 to 2022 are the most-stolen vehicles in the U.S. today.

Full-size Chevrolet pickups top the NICB’s list of most stolen vehicles for 2022 with 49,903 total thefts that year. Two more large pickups — the Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra — also made the top 10. The other vehicles on the list were primarily sedans.

Vehicle Total annual thefts Most-stolen model year
Full-size Chevrolet pickup (e.g. Silverado) 49,903 2004
Full-size Ford pickup (e.g. F-150) 48,175 2006
Honda Civic 27,113 2000
Honda Accord 27,089 1997
Hyundai Sonata 21,707 2013
Hyundai Elantra 19,602 2017
Kia Optima 18,221 2015
Toyota Camry 17,094 2021
Full-size GMC pickup (e.g. Sierra 1500) 16,622 2005
Honda CR-V 13,832 2001

Used cars are also more likely to be stolen than new cars, according to NICB’s research. With the exception of the Toyota Camry, the most-stolen model year for the top 10 models was at least five model years old.

Hyundai and Kia thefts account for huge 2023 increases

Stealing Hyundai and Kia vehicles was more than a crime trend in 2023. It was also a social media trend, driven by a notable crack in the makes’ technological armor. While most cars manufactured in the 2010s included immobilizers — passive security systems that require a programmed key fob to match the car’s security system before the vehicle can be turned on — Hyundai and Kia didn’t include these devices in many of their cars manufactured between 2011 and 2022. Only 26 percent of Hyundai and Kia vehicles from the 2015 model year came with immobilizers, compared to 96 percent of cars from other manufacturers.

TikTok users discovered this technological security oversight and sparked an explosive auto theft fad, leading theft claims for Kia and Hyundai users to increase dramatically in 2022 and 2023. In 2022, insurance claim frequency for Hyundai and Kia users was 364 percent higher than the claim frequency for all others makes; in the first six months of 2023, it jumped to 681 percent. Model years from 2011 to 2021 saw the most severe increases.

Colorado and Wisconsin were among the first states to see a spike in Hyundai and Kia thefts, according to HLDI. In 2023, Maryland’s rising auto theft rates were driven in large part by Hyundai and Kia thefts, leading the city of Baltimore to file a lawsuit against both automakers in May 2023.

Does car insurance cover theft?

Your car insurance handles theft and loss in a few different ways. The comprehensive portion of your insurance policy typically covers the theft of your vehicle. It also can cover the cost of repairs, such as broken windows, locks or ignition. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage on your policy, however, you won’t be able to file a theft claim with your insurance company.

Your comprehensive coverage only covers the vehicle itself, not the items inside, so your personal belongings are not typically covered by your car insurance. However, if you have homeowners insurance or renters insurance, the personal belongings in your vehicle would likely be covered through that policy. This means that when it comes time to report your losses, you would likely need to file both a car insurance claim and a home insurance claim.

Vehicle theft rates are one of many rating factors considered by car insurance companies. If you have a model that is often stolen or susceptible to theft, you’ll likely pay higher coverage rates as a result. For example, some insurers will not issue policies to Kia or Hyundai drivers with a model from 2011 to 2021 due to the high theft rates for these cars.

How to prevent car theft

Car theft methods are increasingly technologically advanced, as thieves learn how to exploit modern vehicle security systems. Keyless entry hacks, reprogrammed vehicle software and key codes linked to VINs all allow easy entry for thieves, making car security a moving target.

To maximize your vehicle’s security (and potentially earn an extra insurance discount), consider the following measures:

  • Smart parking: A locked home garage is one of the greatest theft deterrents, but locking your car when you’re not in it, parking in well-lit areas and keeping your key fob with you can help prevent theft.
  • Keep your seats clear: Visible valuables inside your car can attract thieves — and so can blankets, coats or other items that look as if they’re covering valuables.
  • Invest in locks: Purchase locks for your steering wheel, your hood and/or your wheels to secure your car when it’s not in use.
  • Add a GPS tracker: Tracking your car won’t prevent theft, but it could increase the chances of recovering a stolen vehicle quickly.