The Highway Data Loss Institute released its official list of vehicles with the highest and lowest insurance claims for theft. The study combines the rate of insurance claims per vehicle as well as the cost of those claims, helping companies that supply coverage determine exactly how much to charge us poor saps. The 2007-2009 Cadillac Escalade is the vehicle with the highest insurance claims for theft.

The Escalade has $146 in theft loss payments per insured vehicle, per year. On average, insurance companies pay out around $11,934 per theft claim when it comes to the Escalade, with 10.8 of the SUVs stolen per 1,000 vehicles. That's more than 10 times the theft rate of the vehicle with the lowest theft losses – the Volvo S80.

"Sedate family cars and fuel sippers aren't on the hot list," says Kim Hazelbaker, HLDI senior vice president. "Thieves are after chrome, horsepower, and HEMIs."

HDLI noted that the Escalade ranked worst in overall theft in six of the last seven reports. In fact, of the top 10 vehicles on the Highway Data Loss Institute's list, six were of General Motors origin and most of them are full-size trucks and SUVs. How do the thieves get around the bad-guy battling OnStar vehicle immobilization? Easy. They load the coveted SUVs onto a flat bed and drive away.

The company reports that since 1998 the frequency of theft claims for cars and SUVs has declined while average insurance payments per claim have increased.

Methodology

While other "most stolen cars" lists abound, HDLI claims their data is the most accurate because their information takes into account the real costs of theft for these vehicles, not just the sheer number of claims.

HLDI's are the only reported theft results based on the number of insured vehicles on the road. Information on theft losses published by the National Insurance Crime Bureau doesn't take into account the number of each vehicle insured, so the most popular vehicles on the road tend to top this organization's list of most-stolen vehicles. This doesn't tell an individual owner how likely a particular car is to have a theft claim. To answer that question, HLDI identifies vehicles with the worst theft losses by counting the number of insurance claims by make and model relative to the number of each make and model insured. This indicates the vehicles that are most likely to be theft targets, taking into account their exposure on the road.

“Best Losses”

You won’t be able to find a new car in America that thieves are guaranteed to avoid, but you can cut your losses by looking at HDLI’s lists of those cars that present the lowest claims.

The company says the Volvo S80 leads its list with the lowest overall costs of claims.

The 10 best vehicles have overall theft losses less than 15 percent of the average. Average payments for a theft claim are less than one-third the average.