Can You Be Sued After an Auto Accident in Kansas?

One of the most common questions we get at AHI Group serving Olathe, KS is how Kansas is a no-fault state, but you can still be sued after an auto accident.

Each driver’s auto policy provides coverage for their medical bills and other expenses, regardless of who caused the accident. But the other party can file a personal injury claim against you after an auto accident in Kansas if:

  • They have medical bills of $2,000 or more.
  • They have a serious injury, such as a broken bone, permanent disfigurement, permanent disability, loss of a body part, loss of body function, or death.

The individual suing you has to submit evidence that proves two things:

  • Their injuries were caused by your breaking a traffic rule or failing to act reasonably and
  • Your actions resulted in your being at least 51 percent at fault.

Kansas has a modified comparative negligence rule for personal injury lawsuits. For instance, if you are sued and found 75 percent at fault for the other party’s injuries, you may have to pay 75 percent of their claim. But if the other party is more at fault than you are, they are not awarded any damages.

Your auto coverage helps you pay personal injury claims. It may also help you pay your attorney bills. Your insurance company may advise you to defend against a suit, or it may settle the suit for you. But as long as you have enough coverage, your policy will pay the other party’s claim.

Here’s one thing to keep in mind:

The state-mandated minimum of $25,000 for property damage and $50,000 for bodily injury is not enough to settle potential claims for a severe crash for which you are at fault. Speak with your agent at AHI Group serving Olathe, KS, about how much liability coverage you need for your car.

What are car theft “hot spots?”

Auto thefts increased in frequency rather dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, jumping by almost 20% in 2020 and 2021. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (or NICB) has released statistics showing that these numbers are beginning to drop once more, but in certain areas of the country, they’re still rather inflated, causing serious ramifications to policyholder’s car insurance.

The current rate of auto theft in the U.S. amounts to two stolen every minute. While it has dropped in some states, such as Kansas, South Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, etc., rates for theft have increased in California, Texas, Washington, Florida, and Colorado. Here’s what’s going on.

Which states are considered designed hot spots for theft?

Regardless of where you live, taking precautionary measures to protect your car (such as not leaving it running, concealing your keys and not leaving them in your car, parking in well-lit areas, etc) is crucial. However, some areas have been identified as being more at risk than others. The list below (from Forbes) is comprised of different states in descending order with their theft rates per 100,000 residents:

  1. Colorado (731)
  2. District of Columbia (700)
  3. Washington (603)
  4. Oregon (541)
  5. New Mexico (540)
  6. California (520)
  7. Missouri (483)
  8. Nevada (481)
  9. Texas (350)
  10. Tennessee (337)
  11. Minnesota (312)
  12. Illinois (308)
  13. Oklahoma (299)
  14. Louisiana (297)
  15. Arizona (295)

Which states are considered designed hot spots for theft?

Numerous factors contribute to why certain states may put you at higher risk of auto theft than others. For one, population density. Several of the states as designated on this list have some of the highest populations in the U.S. (California, Texas, Ilinois, etc.) and densely populated cities, which provide more opportunities for thieves to operate quickly and anonymously.

Another reason why these states may be considered hot spots for theft is economic conditions. Economic disparities can influence crime rates, including car theft. States with higher unemployment rates and economic instability often see a rise in criminal activity as individuals may turn to theft out of financial desperation.

Border proximity, law enforcement resources (or lack thereof), socio-political factor, and the availability of high-value vehicles all tend to factor into why certain states may see more auto theft than others. Usually, a combination of these factors may contribute to a state landing itself on the “hot spot” list. However, no state’s citizens are immune to auto theft.

Which cars are most at risk for auto theft?

It varies by state, city, and insurance company, however generally older “high-volume” (aka number of insureds on the road) are taken more often than your luxury/new vehicles since they’re most often taken to be sold individually as parts. They’re usually driven away or towed where they can be stripped down into components and then sold off to repair shops and over the Internet. Sometimes even overseas!

Electric cars tend not to be the target of theft for one reason: a lacking of charging infrastructure in overseas countries. There isn’t much demand for their parts as there aren’t many electric-powered vehicles in the countries these parts are being sold to, so as a result they can be less at-risk for theft. Still, they’re not entirely immune, and vehicles can still be stolen for any number of purposes!

Why your rates could be impacted if you live in theft hot spots

Living in a high-risk area for car theft can significantly impact your auto insurance rates, even if you haven’t personally experienced theft. Insurance companies base their premiums on the likelihood of claims being filed, and residing in a theft hot spot increases this risk. Your rates could be higher for any of the following reasons:

  • You’re now an increased risk for insurers. Living in a neighborhood with a high incidence of car theft puts you at an increased risk of your insurer having to pay out for stolen vehicles. This increased risk is reflected in higher premiums to offset potential future losses.
  • Historical data and trends show a higher incidence of future losses. Areas with a history of high car theft rates are considered more dangerous, and this statistical analysis influences the calculation of your insurance rates. Even if your car has never been stolen, the past data from your area plays a significant role in determining your premiums.
  • The cost of claims is higher in your area. Insurers factor in not just the value of the stolen vehicle but also administrative costs, investigations, and potential legal fees. Higher claims frequency in theft hot spots drives up these costs, leading insurers to charge more to cover these expenses.
  • You may be asked to invest in security measures. Insurers might require or recommend additional security measures for your vehicle, such as alarms, GPS tracking, or immobilizers. These added precautions can reduce the risk but also increase the overall cost of insuring your car, as its total replacement value has now increased. However, some insurers will discount your insurance for these devices, which can combat the overall increase.

In essence, living in these “hot spots” can result in higher insurance premiums – even if you yourself have not made an insurance claim! Having a better grasp on these factors may permit you to navigate your insurance options better so you can find ways to lower your rates.

Have additional questions? Our agents at AHI Group will be more than happy to help out. Request a quote or, better yet, give us a call and ask us directly.

What counts as a classic car?

Classic cars are beloved by the car community, with around 43 million cars in the United States fitting the definition of “collector” or classic vehicle. The combined value of those collector cars is estimated to exceed $1 trillion in insurable value.

What exactly is a classic or collector car? How does one define classic for both registration and insurance purposes? Let’s get into it.

What old does a car have to be to be considered a classic?

There are several ways to truly define a classic car, and those can differ immensely. America’s Classic Car Club defines classic as a vehicle that is distinctive or fine and generally built between the years of 1915 and 1948. That being said, to register a classic car you would need to adhere to state law. With most states, cars of that age are considered vintage or antique automobiles. Make sure to check with your own state’s specific automobile guidelines.

From an insurance perspective, the age of a classic car must be at least 20 years old but not more than 40. In order to have it insured and registered as a classic, your vehicle must not be modified and kept to its original design/specifications. Any restoration done must be consistent with the way the car was built originally, meaning that it needs to include the kinds of materials used in the interior and all the kinds of parts used in the engine. No “modern” applications, so no built-in nav system or audio player.

Is it expensive to insure a classic car?

You may be surprised to learn this, but classic car insurance is traditionally less expensive than typical automobiles. This is because classic cars have restrictions on how long/far they can be driven and how often, and some insurers or states only allow classic cars to be driven and used at events like car club meetings, parades, or car shows. They cannot be used for daily transportation.

If a car spends more time in the garage than out and about, there’s less risk of it getting into an accident or experiencing other damage. Rates will be lower, but this doesn’t mean that these cars should be without insurance. Firstly, it’s illegal in most states to drive without auto insurance, and even though classic cars are only driven sporadically, it’s still enough that they need to adhere to automobile regulations. A ticket could cost you more than the car would cost to insure for one whole year.

However, there are instances where you won’t always pay less to insure a classic. Classic cars, unlike regular automobiles, become more valuable with age. Any other new car will start depreciating the second it leaves the dealership, but classic cars, after a certain point, begin to appreciate. If they are well-maintained, their replacement cost will be much higher than it is for new cars.

Like any other car, the cost to insure a classic car varies by location, driving record, car usage, and more. Working with an agent is the best way to get affordable car insurance.

Why do classic cars need special insurance?

Classic or collector cars are not only valuable but also require specialized care and maintenance. Because of their distinct characteristics and needs, classic cars require special insurance coverage that differs significantly from standard auto insurance.

As mentioned above, the value of a classic car is often significantly higher than that of a standard vehicle and it appreciates with time. Special insurance policies typically offer “agreed value” coverage, which means the insurer and the car owner agree on the car’s value at the time the policy is written. This ensures that in the event of a total loss, the owner will receive the full agreed-upon amount, rather than a depreciated value.

Classic cars are also not used as primary vehicles or driven regularly and are used solely for special occasions. Classic car insurance takes this into account, offering policies tailored to limited usage. This can result in lower premiums compared to regular auto insurance, which assumes daily use and are much higher mileage than classic/collector cars.

There is also special consideration when insuring classic cars due to the uniqueness of their repairs. Repairing a classic or collector vehicle often requires specialized knowledge and skills, as well as rare/custom-made parts. Standard auto insurance may not cover the costs associated with these specialized repairs. Classic car insurance policies often include provisions for using original parts and cover the higher costs associated with maintaining and restoring classic vehicles.

Liability insurance often comes with additional implications. Classic cars often draw attention and can attract larger crowds at events. This increased exposure can raise the risk of accidents or incidents involving the car. Special insurance policies for classic cars often come with higher liability limits to provide additional protection in case of any damage or injury claims.

How do I get insurance for a classic car?

Working with an agent is one of the best ways to get affordable insurance for your classic car. Not only will an agent be able to help you find an insurance policy that meets the needs of your exact classic car, but they’ll also be able to find you a great price! Call AHI Group at 913-839-1478 for a free quote.

Does auto insurance follow the car or the person?

We’ve all occasionally driven other people’s cars, whether because ours was in the shop awaiting repairs or because we’re visiting another state or even country. You might not have thought too much about it. After all, you have insurance. Isn’t that good enough? But does auto insurance follow the car, or does it follow the person?

In a nutshell: car insurance coverage technically follows the car and not the person, but there are exceptions to this rule, including the state where you live, who’s listed as a driver on your policy, and the kind of endorsements you have.

Is there such a thing as “driver insurance?”

You can be listed on others’ insurance policies as an occasional driver, but there’s technically no such thing as driver insurance. There is also non-owner car insurance for those who don’t own vehicles at all but may regularly borrow/rent them, which can help to satisfy a SR-22 (or FR-44) form. You may also be able to purchase endorsements that will cover you while using rental vehicles or borrowing friends’ vehicles, but that’s limited in duration and applies situationally. Adding endorsements will also increase your car insurance premiums.

Friends and extended family members who don’t have vehicles but might want to take your vehicle out for a spin sporadically can be covered under your policy, but we recommend informing your agent or insurer of this first. They are unlikely to be covered if they were to get into an accident unless they’re included in your policy’s terms, but be mindful of the fact that their actions may impact your insurance.

What is non-owner car insurance?

If you don’t own a car but frequently need to rent cars or borrow the cars of others, you can purchase a liability policy separately known as non-owner car insurance. It’s also helpful if you ever need to show proof of car insurance.

Non-owned car insurance, depending on the state, can include liability coverage as well as other required options, like uninsured motorist or medical payments coverage. Each state has its own requirements for minimum auto insurance (except for the few states that don’t require insurance), and each car must be insured adequately to satisfy the law. The primary focus of non-owned coverage is on liability insurance.

Only one person may be listed on a non-owner car insurance policy. Some companies will apply coverage to a spouse, but many don’t include this option.

Non-owner car insurance offers coverage if you get into an accident in a borrowed vehicle and helps to pay for the damages/injuries of others via the liability coverage provided by the policy. Keep in mind that non-owner car insurance is secondary to any existing coverage on the policy, so if you got into an accident with a friend’s car while having this insurance, and that friend had bodily injury limits of $15,000 but the accident capped out at $30,000 in medical bills, there’d be an outstanding $15,000 to pay. Non-owner car insurance could help cover the remaining amount. In short, non-owner car insurance covers:

  • Bodily injury and medical expenses caused while driving a vehicle owned by someone else
  • Property damages caused while driving a vehicle owned by someone else
  • Legal defense if you are sued for causing an accident in a car owned by someone else

Non-owned car insurance won’t cover damages to the car you’re driving, any injuries you sustain, any injuries sustained by other passengers, business driving, or personal belongings. In fact, that car won’t be covered at all for physical damages unless the registered owner already has a full coverage car policy; non-owned car insurance shouldn’t be depended on to provide protection that doesn’t already exist with the vehicle’s main policy.

Who needs non-owned car insurance?

Here are some reasons why someone might choose to purchase non-owned car insurance:

  • You frequently use car-sharing services. Companies that offer these services, like Zipcar, usually have their own insurance but non-owned car insurance may help in extending the otherwise limited options that the companies provide.
  • You want to avoid having a gap in your car insurance.
  • You frequently rent vehicles while abroad or travelling, or just in general.
  • You’re faced with a state law to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form (which requires you to show proof of car insurance if you’ve ever had a DUI conviction, been caught driving without insurance, license suspension or revocation, etc.) This way you can get auto insurance and show proof of insurance without needing to own a car.

Will my auto insurance cover me if I’m driving another vehicle?

This goes back to the question of, “does auto insurance follow the car or the person?” The short answer is technically no, but if you are listed on the policy of that other vehicle, then you would be covered. It wouldn’t be your auto insurance per se, but you would be covered.

With some insurers, they’ll accept others driving your car as “being covered” assuming that there’s a reasonable belief that you’d have had permission to drive the car. This goes for a lot of situations, such as the following:

  • Borrowing a family member’s car while yours is in the shop for repairs
  • Driving the vehicle of a parent with permission, assuming you haven’t been excluded from their car insurance policy
  • Renting a car from a car rental company or car-sharing marketplace (with some exceptions)

With the above scenarios, your full insurance may not extend to these borrowed/rented vehicles. Generally, all you’ll have is liability coverage, but your comprehensive/collision coverage likely won’t apply. With certain car rental companies or agencies, you’ll often be asked to purchase the insurance that they offer to ensure that their asset and investment is fully protected.

Get unique coverage solutions with AHI Group

Don’t own a car but drive and rent others’ cars often? Own your own car but frequently use rentals when you travel? Lend your car to a friend? Whatever your unique situation is, AHI is happy to discuss your coverage needs with you and find a policy suited to how you drive. Give us a call today.

What is insurance fraud and why should I care?

The total cost of insurance fraud in the United States is estimated to exceed $40 billion a year. You might think, “well, that’s a big number, but why should I care?” While you might not know it, unfortunately, insurance fraud impacts everyone, not just the insurance companies. They do the crime, and we all end up paying for it. Data from the FBI suggests that insurance fraud costs the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 in premiums to compensate for losses from fraud.

What is insurance fraud, and how do you recognize it when it’s happening?

Defining insurance fraud

In short, insurance fraud is the intentional misleading or activities that take advantage of an insurer’s agreement to pay claims. This can take many forms, but insurance fraud is always usually divided into two main categories: opportunistic and premeditated fraud. The former occurs when a policyholder takes advantage of an existing claim to exaggerate or mislead in order to receive a higher claim payout whereas the latter is intentional, organized crime that can oftentimes have very real consequences that go beyond the financial losses, including but not limited to severe body injury.

Examples of opportunistic fraud might include:

  • You get into an accident with another vehicle. Your vehicle has minor damages, but you file a claim for damages to your car that predated the event in order to receive a higher payout.
  • After a claim, you exaggerate the extent of your injuries and/or medical treatment needed.

Examples of premeditated fraud might include:

  • Staged collisions, where the other driver is either participating or unsuspecting.
  • Jump ins, where someone later files an injury claim against the unsuspecting driver despite not having been inside any vehicle involved in the collision.
  • Misrepresentation or misinformation regarding one’s primary address, driving habits, etc., to receive lower insurance premiums.

Fraud is fraud, whether it’s premeditated or opportunistic. Both have the potential to greatly impact other policyholders and insurance fraud is a felony that can be punishable with jail time in many states.

What are some common insurance fraud scams?

Here are some examples of common insurance fraud scams that take place in the United States. These fraud scams exist throughout all types of insurance, but are most common with auto.

  • Fake theft claims: Policyholders falsely report items stolen from their homes or vehicles to receive reimbursement from their insurance providers. In some cases, the items claimed as stolen never existed or were intentionally disposed of.
  • Exaggerated claims: We discussed opportunistic fraud in the point above; exaggerated claims are really the most common example of this. Policyholders inflate the extent of damage or injuries suffered in a genuine accident to receive higher payouts from their insurance companies.
  • Property arson: When premeditated fraud goes to the extreme, real damages and potential issues can arise. Property owners intentionally set fire to their homes or businesses to collect insurance money for the damages. Sometimes, they may even destroy valuable possessions before claiming the loss. This can cause damage to neighboring property unintentionally.
  • Worker’s compensation fraud: Both employees and employers may engage in fraudulent activities related to workers’ compensation claims, such as exaggerating injuries or underreporting payroll to reduce premiums.

This is only a few examples of different types of insurance fraud scenarios that take place. Identifying insurance fraud can be difficult, although many insurance companies have fraud detection systems in place intended to mitigate losses and preserve their integrity.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for policyholders. It’s hard to detect fraud. With a particular fraud scheme, “staged collisions”, you can end up becoming an unwitting participant in a scam, whether you were aware or not. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the different types of staged collisions that exist to keep yourself and your household safer on the roads.

How does insurance fraud impact me?

While insurance fraud may seem like a victimless crime and just “a few extra dollars” received from an insurance company, it’s more than that. Those extra dollars can amount to hundreds, thousands, and beyond over time and with thousands of criminals participating. The financial implications don’t just impact the insurance industry, but policyholders as a whole.

See, it boils down to the way insurance companies pay claims. Insurance companies use premium payments for a variety of things, including funding their operations, and revenue. Still, most of what premiums are used for is to contribute to a “pool” of funds, which are then later used to make payouts when claims are filed. All insurance companies are typically required to maintain a certain “safety fund” to ensure claims can be paid out in the event of an unexpected disaster in a single geographic region (a huge storm, wildfire, etc.)

When fraud is committed, claim payouts go up, and that pool is diminished. In order to ensure claims can continue to be paid out, insurance companies must raise rates for every policyholder across the board, which can make it seem like your insurance costs have gone up for “no reason.” That’s the unfortunate consequence of insurance fraud. While you may always be honest and upfront with your insurance agent and company, others may be abusing their policies for personal gain – and you end up paying for it.

Stay vigilant. If you have any questions about insurance fraud or its impacts, or are concerned about rising insurance premiums, please give us a call.

Here’s how to get rewarded for good driving behavior

You’ve been driving for 2, 5, 10, or even 20 years without much issue (apart from maybe the odd fender bender or not-at-fault incident here and there), but you’ve noticed your auto insurance rates have increased. What gives? You’ve been a good driver, so why should you be paying the price?

Auto insurance rates increase for any number of reasons, and sometimes those reasons are out of our control – like owning a high-theft vehicle. Luckily, you can leverage your good driving behavior and even qualify for discounts on your insurance. Here’s how:

What is usage-based auto insurance?

Imagine this: your auto insurance prices are tailor-made based on how you drive, rather than being out of your control due to factors you cannot control, such as your location or age. This is essentially the description for usage-based auto insurance, an offering that many insurance companies are now making available to their policyholders in order to allow more control over their rates.

Usage-based auto insurance, also known as telematics insurance, is named because it uses a device—a telematics device—to track a user’s driving behavior. A user will either need to download a mobile application or install a device in their car that records certain aspects of their driving behavior, such as the following:

  • Braking time
  • Acceleration rate
  • Speed
  • How far you drive
  • How long you drive for
  • Idling time
  • Etc.

For good drivers (hopefully such as yourself) it means that if you consistently demonstrate safe driving behaviors, such as avoiding sudden stops, obeying speed limits, and driving during less risky times of the day, you can be rewarded with lower premiums. Depending on the insurance company, discounts can vary – but they can sometimes be up to 30%!

Why participate in usage-based driving?

There are several benefits to participating in usage-based driving.

For one, it offers fair pricing. Traditional auto insurance often relies on demographic factors like age and location to determine premiums. With usage-based insurance, your risk is assessed based on individual driving behavior. This means that safe drivers are rewarded with lower premiums, ensuring that you pay a fair price based on your actual driving habits rather than generalized statistics.

The better your driving, the stronger your potential is for savings. By consistently demonstrating safe driving habits such as obeying speed limits, avoiding sudden stops, and driving during less risky times, you can qualify for discounts and lower rates.

And, if you’re a semi-decent driver who is looking to be even better and increase your good driving habits, telematics can incentivize safe driving practices. Knowing that your driving behavior directly influences your insurance costs can be a powerful incentive to drive more responsibly. Usage-based insurance encourages safer driving habits, such as avoiding distractions, following traffic laws, and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles.

Finally, usage-based driving can also offer you direct feedback and insights into your driving behavior. By reviewing this information, you can identify areas for improvement and become an even safer driver. This feedback loop promotes continuous learning and helps you maintain good driving habits over time.

In short, here are some reasons to opt into usage-based auto insurance:

  • Receive fair pricing based on actual risk
  • Get access to additional benefits and rewards for good driving practices
  • Enjoy transparency in insurance pricing based on real-time data
  • Flexibility to adjust driving habits to lower insurance costs
  • Receive feedback and insights to improve driving skills
  • Have the potential for lower premiums based on individual driving behavior

Are you a good candidate for usage-based auto insurance?

Participation in usage-based auto insurance is ideal for drivers who prioritize safe and responsible driving habits. If you’re a cautious and conscientious driver who obeys traffic laws and has an overall decent safe driving record, then it can be hugely beneficial for you. Here are some examples of individuals who would be good candidates for usage-based auto insurance:

  • Experienced drivers
  • Defensive drivers
  • Low-mileage drivers
  • Eco-conscious drivers
  • Seniors with safe driving practices
  • Teens with responsible habits
  • Drivers looking to hold themselves accountable

If you’re seeing high rates due to a recent at-fault accident or have been labelled high-risk, but you’re otherwise a good driver, usage-based auto insurance can help combat the inflation in your rates.

Get rewarded for good driving with AHI Group

Want to be rewarded for good driving behavior? Contact AHI Insurance. Our agents would be happy to discuss your insurance needs with you and assess whether usage-based driving is the right choice for you. Insurance is unique, and no one’s needs are exactly the same. This is why it helps to have an agent in your corner who can help you make the tough decisions and find you the best auto insurance protection for the best price. Give us a call today.

What does high risk mean in insurance?

In insurance, risk is everything. Risk is what an insurance company “accepts” in exchange for your monthly, semi-annual, or annual payments – or “premiums,” as they’re referred to in the insurance world. When you’ve been labelled high-risk, you’re someone whose risk is greater than the average. Often, as a result, your premiums will be higher (but that’s not the only impact).

Being high-risk isn’t a good thing, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get affordable insurance. Let’s dig in a little more into what being high-risk might mean for you.

Why was I labelled as high risk?

High-risk usually applies to auto insurance, but it can apply to home insurance as well. To have been labelled as high-risk, it’s likely that you’re someone who:

  • Has been involved in multiple at-fault accidents
  • Has received multiple speeding violations or tickets
  • Has been cancelled previously due to non-payment
  • Has been convicted of insurance fraud
  • Has been convicted of major violations, like DUI
  • Has a rural or non-standard property
  • Has a home that’s 100 years or older

If you’ve ever been told that you’re a high-risk driver or have a high-risk home, odds are it’s because of one or more of the reasons listed above. Sometimes, young drivers or inexperienced drivers (including immigrant drivers, who may not have had their driving history carry over from their country of origin) may see similar rate hikes as high-risk drivers, but may not have the same high-risk label.

What happens if I’ve been labelled high-risk?

Being high-risk means you do not qualify for standard insurance. You’ll probably end up paying more for your insurance, sometimes two or three times as much. You’ll be required to purchase non-standard insurance, otherwise known as “high-risk” insurance.

What happens if you’ve been labelled high-risk? How is it different than ordinary insurance?

  • High-risk insurance always costs more than standard insurance. It can cost a minimum of 20% more, but sometimes up to 2-3x as much. It depends on your insurance company and why you’ve been labelled as high-risk.
  • Your payment options may be significantly limited. The most common reason why drivers are labelled as high-risk is due to non-payment. As a high-risk policyholder you may only be able to pay via certain means, or may be forced to pay for your policy upfront.
  • Your coverage will be limited. You may not be able to customize your policy nearly as much as if you had standard insurance. You’ll usually have capped liability limits, higher deductibles, and your policy may have certain conditions placed on it.

Being high-risk won’t just affect you. If it’s for your auto insurance, every other driver listed on your policy will also be impacted. It may also impact others living in your household.

How long will I be considered high-risk?

It depends on why you were high-risk in the first place.

For homes, it’s a little more difficult. Usually, if you weren’t cancelled due to non-payment in the past, your home is high-risk due to its infrastructure or where it’s located. You may be stuck with your high-risk label, unless you make certain modifications to your home, such as renovating its roof, older features, etc. Ask an agent for ways to save on high-risk home insurance, or discuss your situation with us and we’ll see if we can make some suggestions.

For cars and auto insurance, it boils down to time. Whether you were cancelled due to non-payment or for an at-fault accident, usually your high-risk label will fall off after 3-6 years. During this time, we recommend reviewing defensive driving habits, avoiding impaired driving, setting up automatic withdrawals or being upfront and honest with your broker if you’re ever unsure if you can make your insurance payments on time. If your financial situation is especially tight, you may wish to consider alternative transportation until your rates can come back down with time.

Who are the best insurance companies for high-risk?

Not every company offers high-risk insurance, but it’s important to find one that works for you and your budget if you are ever labelled as high-risk. The right company will offer decent coverage options at low rates (low as far as high-risk goes) and potentially even offer discounts to help you save even more.

Here are some of the best insurance companies if you’ve been labelled high-risk:

  • Progressive
  • State Auto
  • SafeCo
  • American Modern

To discuss more about high-risk insurance, or recommendations on how to save money despite a high-risk label, give us a call at 913-839-1478 today or get a free quote. AHI Group is more than happy to walk you through your new circumstances or connect you with an insurance company who specializes in high-risk insurance policies, saving you money and time.

Auto theft trends in 2024

Auto theft is on the rise. Just 2 years ago, it was estimated that there was 283 auto theft cases for every 100,000 people, which equates to around one motor vehicle theft for every 31 seconds. Unfortunately, as criminals indulge more and more in trends like street racing and the practice of stripping cars for parts and reselling them internationally, more and more vehicles are beginning to vanish off the road.

Part of the reason why theft has increased was due to the pandemic-related stay-at-home orders, but in 2024 the majority of us have returned to office and resumed life “as per usual.” So why should you still be concerned about auto theft in 2024? Why is motor theft still such a huge issue?

Is auto theft on the rise?

While we’re still in the early stages of 2024, it’s tough to say how auto theft will continue to evolve. What we do know is that theft had risen by almost 11% between 2021 to 2022, according to data from the FBI, and that it may continue to do so as manufacturers continue to pump out highly appealing vehicles and car theft cases continue to go unsolved.

Why are so few vehicles recovered in car theft cases?

Unfortunately, solve rates for auto theft have always historically been low, but the spike in auto theft incidents has caused them to drop even more. Public data from New York City shows that police make 14 arrests per every 100 car thefts and in Denver that number’s even lower with 7 arrests for every 100 reported car thefts.

This is for a number of reasons. One is that, typically with property crimes, law enforcement resources are minimal. Budget, staffing, and technology can’t keep up with the rate of auto thefts. Worse still, car theft is often associated with worse crimes. Many thieves will use vehicles to commit worse crimes as they can later ditch the vehicle and law enforcement can’t track them down using a single license plate.

Hyundai and Kia motor thefts in the country

If you didn’t read our previous blog on the latest Hyundai and Kia news, here’s the quick rundown: many major insurers, like State Farm (as the biggest example), are no longer insuring Hyundai and Kia model vehicles due to their high “theftability.” This “theftability” comes from a TikTok demonstrating how certain models of Hyundai and Kia cars could be broken into with a USB cord and a screwdriver. As a result, these vehicles were being lifted off the streets left, right, and center, and insurers no longer wished to stay on risk due to the high chance of a theft claim.

This isn’t old news. Tons of vehicles are considered higher theft than others, whether because of their specific luxurious features that are appealing for resell, their prevalence on the roads, or vulnerable points that allow hackers to steal them easier.

OLBG did a good “prediction” list of what will be the most stolen cars in 2024. When purchasing a car, we recommend drivers to be conscious of the cars on this list. Many insurers will hike the rates of vehicles with high theft appeal; to combat that hike, drivers can either consider alternative models or invest in aftermarket security products.

What are the expectations for auto theft in 2024?

It’s very early to see how trends will shape up in 2024, but we’re already starting to see some shifts that could suggest what we’ll see throughout the year.

One trend that may start to increase in frequency is the use of specific electronic locksmith tools, i.e. ProPads, to steal high-performance vehicles. Vehicles with keyless entry features can be stolen through relay attacks via a blank key FOB and tech found on the Internet. This seems to occur the most with high-output engine vehicles, like Dodge Chargers, Durangos, and Challengers, as well as Jeep Grand Cherokees. These vehicles are usually stolen for the purpose of being re-tagged and then sold to unsuspecting buyers, or even later wrecked in street races.

Education in 2024 will be as important as it has ever been for decreasing the risk of auto theft. Vehicle thefts for cars that have been left with their keys inside were extremely common in 2022 and 2023, and may be no different for the coming year. Even if you feel you live in a “safe” community, you never know. Never leave your vehicle running and unattended (yes – even in the cold!) and always take your keys with you when you leave your vehicle.

As always, regular auto theft methods such as key swaps at dealers following test drives, car-jackings, and vehicles being stolen at service centers by accessing key boxes continue to be an issue. This is likely to continue into 2024 as well.

With all these trends on the rise and new ones continuing to evolve on the horizon, it’s important to stay vigilant, to stay informed, and to keep in mind all the best ways to protect yourself and your vehicle against the risk of auto theft.

How do you protect yourself against auto theft?

Car theft happens even to the most secure vehicles. While you can’t 100% of the time ensure your car is safe from auto theft, there are a few things you can do to hugely decrease your risk.

Here’s our tips:

  • Always lock your car doors and close the windows when leaving your vehicle.
  • Park in well-lit and populated areas, especially at night.
  • Install an anti-theft device such as an alarm system, steering wheel lock, or immobilizer.
  • Don’t leave valuables visible inside the car; store them in the trunk or take them with you.
  • Use a visible deterrent like a “Car Alarm” or “Protected by [Security Company]” sticker.
  • Consider installing a GPS tracking device to help locate your car if it’s stolen.
  • Don’t leave spare keys inside or around your vehicle, even if they’re hidden.
  • Be cautious of where you leave your car keys, and avoid leaving them in obvious or easily accessible places.
  • If possible, use a garage or secure parking facility rather than street parking.
  • Be vigilant and report any suspicious activity or attempted theft to the authorities.

Note that certain aftermarket car security products can qualify you for a discount on your auto insurance. Call AHI Group to discuss insuring a high-theft vehicle or for tips on how to protect your vehicle better – and save on your car insurance at the same time.

Could EV remote control features be a security risk?

There are 2,442,270 electric vehicles, or EVs for short, registered in the United States as of 2024. With the electric vehicle market estimated to sit around $49.1 billion in 2023, it’s no surprise that we’re starting to see more and more of these vehicles on the roads nowadays. EVs are all the rage, but one of the latest advertised features, “remote control,” is starting to raise some questions.

Auto theft is on the rise, and thieves are becoming more successful in leveraging certain aspects of cars as more and more manufacturers start to offer more interesting “perks.” Let’s explore how EV remote control features could be a potential security risk.

How does remote control work?

Many electric vehicles today can be controlled remotely by using mobile applications or web-based systems. This allows the owners of EVs to perform a variety of tasks, from maintenance and assessing battery life to even monitoring the status of a vehicle’s charging, adjusting temperature, and locating the vehicle on a map. These features have greatly improved as newer models roll out, adding on additional hardware and software to improve user experience greatly.

Tesla is one such vehicle that offers remote control. Here’s an overview of what the system entails:

  • Locking and unlocking vehicles
  • Enabling or disabling AC and heating, as well as monitoring cabin climate
  • Checking vehicle’s charging status
  • Viewing vehicle’s estimated driving range
  • Opening the front trunk
  • Opening or closing the charging port
  • Seeing where the vehicle is located
  • View the vehicle’s VIN and current software
  • Flash lights/honk horn to find where car is parked
  • Park and retrieve the vehicle using the “Summon” feature

Electric vehicle safety features

Most electric vehicles, like Tesla, feature numerous security features to prevent or reduce the risk of auto theft. For example, Tesla features a Security tab on its mobile app which enables drivers to:

  • Pair their phones to the vehicle
  • Enable and disable autopilot and autopark modes
  • Enable notifications that trigger when the vehicle’s driving speed is within 5km/h of the maximum selected speed. You can disable or enable this mode as well

Although these modes may help reduce your odds of theft, they don’t prevent your chances altogether. Electric vehicles may be the most at risk due to their luxury appeal and high value. We recommend investigating aftermarket products to buff your security. Some products may even qualify you for a discount on your auto insurance!

How is remote connectivity a security risk?

For any vehicle that has remote connectivity and a computer chip, there’s a vulnerable point. In today’s tech-powered world, car thieves need to think beyond the old-school “bash in the window” in order to steal cars, and that’s just what they’ve done. Modern hackers have found EVs to be particularly vulnerable.

Connectivity features using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular networks are the number one way hackers access electric vehicles. Even having a remote starter can serve as an entryway for hackers to gain access to your vehicle (and this applies to gas-powered vehicles, too!)

Another prominent vulnerability for EV security is public charging stations. The United States alone is home to well over 60,000 public charging stations, a majority of which are connected devices. These devices are, unfortunately, prone to being hacked as well and can be an entryway for thieves to steal away with electric vehicles – especially those that are left unattended by the owner. Public charging stations are also a vulnerability when it comes to identity theft, as to use these stations you’ll need to use an app or frequency ID card which houses IP addresses, network info, and location data. Hackers can manipulate this data and use it for personal gain.

Most vulnerable vehicles

The list of most commonly stolen vehicles changes each year based on statistics and trends. However, statistics aside, these vehicle manufacturers were found to house the most vulnerabilities:

  • Hyundai
  • Acura
  • BMW
  • Ford
  • Ferrari
  • Genesis
  • Infiniti
  • Kia
  • Jaguar
  • Land Rover
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Porsche
  • Rolls Royce
  • Toyota
  • Nissan

How do you protect your electric vehicle?

There’s still a ton of work for manufacturers to do in order to protect electric vehicles against thieves. Remote control features are a great addition to have and enjoy for ease of access and convenience, but they do pose a serious risk as of where they’re at right now. Here are some ways you can reduce the risk of your EV (or any vehicle) getting stolen or hacked:

  • Consider using an at-home charging station as opposed to a public one. If you need to use a public station, choose a busier location where your car is more in the “public eye.”
  • Install a traditional anti-theft device that locks to your steering wheel. As old-school as these might be, they’re still a true and tried means of deterring thieves.
  • Avoid or limit the use of third-party apps that connect to your vehicle.
  • Always install the latest patch or software update from your vehicle’s manufacturer.
  • Park your car in a secure location, such as in a garage or private driveway.

For additional questions about protecting EVs or to talk about insuring an EV, give AHI Group a call.

What do I do if I’ve been hit in a parking lot?

When you think “car crash,” you might think Highway 50 side-swipe or getting T-boned turning left after someone runs a red light, but not all crashes are as dramatic as that. You might be surprised to learn that many collisions happen in public (and private) parking lots.

Busy parking lot, people backing out without looking, rushing to turn left before oncoming traffic—the hustle-and-bustle nature and close confinement in parking lots can lead to some unfortunate scenarios. As careful as we try to be, we can’t control the behaviour of others. So, what do you do if you’ve been in a parking lot crash?

Things you need to know about getting hit in a parking lot

Getting hit in a parking lot is more common than you might think, but you’d be surprised at the potential severity of injuries and property damage, even with the low speeds. If you’re in your car at the time of the incident and there are injuries, the first thing you’ll need to do is call 911. If no one’s injured, then you’re safe to exchange information with the other driver. Make sure to get their registration, auto insurance, and driver’s license information on the scene.

Preparing to file a claim for a parking lot accident is no different than filing a claim for an accident that took place on a major highway. You’ll want to document the accident, take as many photos as possible, and possibly even call the police if there are injuries or the estimated damages exceed $2,000. If there are witnesses around, you’ll want to get their statements. If the parking lot where you were hit was outside a store, ask the store owner for any possible security footage they may be able to produce.

What if I don’t know who hit me?

Imagine you ducked inside a store to do a little post-work shopping and you came back outside to find the front of your car had been backed into. No other car in sight, and no one nearby seems to know who hit you. In this unfortunate scenario, sometimes known as a “hit-and-run accident,” an incident where a driver who is unidentified or even a driver who is identified but has insufficient insurance hits your car may be covered under collision insurance.

In the even more unfortunate scenario where you or even a passenger were still inside the car when it was hit and the driver is unable to be identified, you may have some coverage for their or your injuries under a section of auto insurance known as uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage.

Still, before you go through insurance, it’s important that you take a few steps to ensure you and your passengers are safe and your car isn’t in any further risk of being damaged:

  • Move your car to the side of the road, if possible
  • Turn on your hazard lights and try to mark out the area to avoid further accidents.
  • Once everyone’s safe, get in touch with law enforcement. If your car is OK to drive or the damage was only minor, you can drive to the nearest station to file a report.
  • You may also consider asking nearby shop owners if there are any security cameras overlooking the parking lot. This can help to identify the driver who hit you.

If you don’t have collision car insurance, the odds are you may have to pay out of pocket for the incident. If you do have collision coverage, you’ll need to pay your deductible before insurance covers the rest.

Travelers, one of AHI’s partners, has some good information on car insurance and covering hit-and-runs.

Getting in touch with your insurance provider

Call your insurance provider as soon as you’re done dealing with the police (if applicable) after an accident. Even if you’re not at fault, it’s important to let your insurer know to avoid delaying your coverage and/or repairs. Remember, you are not responsible for contacting the other party’s insurer, whether you’re at fault or not! In an accident where you’ll need to file a third-party car claim (such as where the other driver was at fault) you may need to file a claim with them, but you can do so virtually or by simply reaching out to your own provider to consult about next steps.

Calling your own insurance company is recommended because of these reasons:

  • It can help expedite the claims process
  • It can assist in providing coverage ASAP for injuries or damages (especially for families and individuals who are struggling financially)
  • You may end up having out-of-pocket costs if you fail to report the accident right away
  • The other driver involved in the accident could allege damages or injuries later, which could cause the story to not correlate with what you said initially at the scene

You should always inform your car insurance company, even if there’s minimal damage/no injuries at a collision or accident. We recommend doing so even if you’re not technically obligated to do so, as it’ll ensure that they have a record if you need to file a claim later or even if the other driver ends up filing a claim against you.

If you’re confused about what to do following a parking lot crash, not to worry. AHI Group is here to help answer any questions that you may have and help alleviate your concerns or worries. At some point, the majority of us will have been involved in a car accident. It can be stressful, but knowing what to do can be a huge aid. Give us a call today.