The “Kia Boys Challenge,” a viral TikTok trend that has made it alarmingly easy for individuals to steal certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles, has prompted two of the largest US auto insurers, State Farm and Progressive, to temporarily halt the issuance of new policies for affected vehicles.
The challenge, which gained significant traction on social media, involves using a USB cable or thumb drive to exploit a security flaw in specific models of these vehicles.
Following the backlash, Hyundai and Kia initially offered a third-party security system for $170. However, after facing public criticism, the automakers provided a free software update and even added stickers as a security measure.
Although these solutions have been implemented, the effectiveness of the measures remains unclear, and both State Farm and Progressive appear to be unconvinced.
According to NBC News, the recent surge in thefts involving these specific Hyundai and Kia models has led State Farm and Progressive to cease accepting new customer applications for certain model years and trim levels. In a statement, State Farm explained:
State Farm has temporarily stopped accepting new customer applications in some states for certain model years and trim levels of Hyundai and Kia vehicles because theft losses for these vehicles have increased dramatically. This is a serious problem impacting our customers and the entire auto insurance industry.
We take seriously our responsibility to manage risk and the impact of excess claim costs on all our customers. In this case, it became necessary to take action to protect our policyholders and our business.”
State Farm has not yet provided any specifics regarding which Hyundai and Kia models, years, or trim levels are affected or which states the exclusions apply to. This development has significant implications for potential buyers of late-model Hyundai and Kia vehicles, as State Farm and Progressive hold substantial market shares in the insurance industry.
Class Action Lawsuits Filed Over Hyundai and Kia Thefts
As the situation around the security flaws in specific Kia and Hyundai models continues to escalate, a new development has surfaced. According to news reports, consumers have filed several class action lawsuits against Hyundai and Kia, alleging that the automakers were aware of the security vulnerabilities and did not take adequate measures to protect their customers.
The class actions claim that both companies failed to address the theft risk in a timely manner, leaving owners vulnerable to financial loss, property damage, and personal harm. The lawsuits also argue that the automakers’ proposed solutions, such as a free software update and stickers, are insufficient to protect owners from theft and its consequences.
In response to the lawsuits, Hyundai and Kia released a joint statement:
We take the safety and security of our customers and their vehicles very seriously. We are aware of the lawsuits and are currently reviewing the allegations. We will take appropriate action to address any legitimate concerns and continue to implement measures to improve vehicle security.”
These lawsuits, combined with the decisions by State Farm and Progressive to halt new policies for certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles, could potentially lead to further complications for the automakers.
The legal actions may also prompt other customers to seek compensation for losses incurred due to the security flaws, amplifying the overall impact of the “Kia Boys Challenge” and the resulting vehicle thefts.
For those considering purchasing a recent Hyundai or Kia vehicle, it is crucial to ensure that proper anti-theft measures have been installed and to verify with insurance providers whether the vehicle can be covered before committing to a purchase. Additionally, potential buyers should stay informed about the ongoing legal proceedings and any updates on the affected models.