Most commonly stolen cars in the U.S. And how to avoid buying a stolen vehicle

Last updated: January 1

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a vehicle is stolen somewhere in the United States every 42.2 seconds. Find out which cars are most commonly stolen, how you can avoid buying a stolen car and what you can do to help prevent your vehicle from being stolen.

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The top 10 most stolen vehicles of 2018

Each year, the NICB compiles a "Hot Wheels Report" that provides information on the most stolen vehicle makes and models. Here are the 10 most stolen vehicles of 2018 by make and model year:

  1. 2000 Honda Civic
  2. 1997 Honda Accord
  3. 2006 Ford Pickup (full-size)
  4. 2004 Chevrolet Pickup (full-size)
  5. 2017 Toyota Camry
  6. 2017 Nissan Altima
  7. 2018 Toyota Corolla
  8. 2018 GMC Pickup (full-size)
  9. 2001 Dodge Pickup (full-size)
  10. 2000 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

How to avoid buying a stolen car or part

The NICB warns that even if you didn't know you bought a stolen vehicle, it can be confiscated and returned to its original owner. To help avoid buying a stolen vehicle, NICB recommends that you:

  • Contact your state's motor vehicle department to check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • Run a title search on the vehicle.
  • Ask your insurance company if they can inspect the vehicle before you buy.
  • Be wary of buying a car from anyone you don't know, especially from online ads.
  • Walk away if you don't trust the seller.

Stolen car parts, like bumpers, doors, wheels and hoods are also on the rise, according to the NICB. To avoid unknowingly having stolen parts installed on your vehicle, the NICB suggests:

  • Using repair shops with Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technicians.
  • Getting shop recommendations from friends, family or your insurance provider.
  • Asking for a written warranty for installed parts and completed paint work.

How to prevent auto theft

Taking steps to help prevent your car from being stolen could save you a lot of time and money, particularly if you drive one of the most stolen cars or you live in an area prone to auto theft. Some basic preventive measures, such as locking your doors, installing an anti-theft system and parking in well-lit areas, can help deter thieves.

It may also be a good idea to review your auto insurance coverage, since comprehensive coverage may help if your vehicle or just certain parts of it are stolen. Knowing you've taken action to help protect your car may give you some peace of mind.