Car thefts are up at an alarming rate in the Palmetto State according to the latest report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The annual “Hot Spots” report ranks the Myrtle Beach area 15th nationally in auto thefts per capita with 616 per 100-thousand people. That figure is number one in the Southeast. The Grand Strand Area ranked 23rd last year. Officials say Myrtle Beach is a prime spot for car thefts because it is a destination for tourists, it hosts large events, and its near the state line. Anderson ranks 29th, Sumter 34th, Columbia 37th, and the Charlotte area which includes York County ranks 50th nationally. South Carolina Insurance News Service spokesperson Allison Dean Love says the number car thefts and what models are often stolen can affect auto insurance rates.
“Auto theft is covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance and the likelihood that your car will be stolen certainly does impact what you pay for your insurance.”
Also in the report Greenville ranked 65th nationally, Spartanburg 71st, Florence 73rd, and Charleston ranked 102.
According to a 2008 study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau the most commonly stolen vehicle in South Carolina was the 1994 Honda Accord followed by the Chevrolet full size 1500 pickup. Love says it is a good idea to check the list of commonly stolen vehicles when shopping for a car or truck.
“Whenever you’re buying a new car you really need to examine that car’s vehicle theft/lost record because if your car is more likely to be stolen then you will pay higher auto insurance costs”.
Also in the top 5 of targeted models in the state are the 1997 Ford Explorer at number three, followed by the 1997 Ford F150 series pickup, and the 1996 Ford Taurus.
Love says equipping your car with the latest anti-theft devices will help prevent your car from being stolen and may save you a few dollars on your auto insurance. “Actually if you have a GPS tracking device it certainly does help to locate the car if it has been stolen and a lot of the technology these days certainly does help. There is low jack systems and fuel disabling switches and all kinds of devices car owners can use that do help.”