If you’ve ever had your car stolen, you know that bewildering feeling — wandering around the parking lot thinking, “But I know I left it right here!” Or coming out in the morning to find your driveway tragically empty. And it does happen: the FBI says that there were $5.9 billion worth of motor vehicle thefts in 2016 (the most recent report).

Here’s the list of the Top 10 most stolen cars, as ranked by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

  1. Honda Civic (1998) 
  2. Honda Accord (1997)
  3. Ford Pickup Full Size (2006)
  4. Chevrolet Pickup Full Size (2004)
  5. Toyota Camry (2017)
  6. Nissan Altima (2016)
  7. Toyota Corolla  (2016)
  8. Dodge Pickup Full Size (2001)
  9. GMC Pickup Full Size (2017)
  10. Chevrolet Impala (2008)

Want to avoid being one of the victims, even if you drive that super popular 1998 Honda Civic? Check out these tips to help deter car thieves.

Park your car carefully

As in, where it’s harder to steal. Whether it’s in a parking lot or on the street, choose a well-lit area and preferably one with plenty of traffic. At home, use the garage if you have one.

Car thieves are looking for easy opportunities. So anything you can do to thwart their hope for a quick grab is ideal.

Watch out for “staged accidents”

Sometimes car thieves make off with your vehicle right in front of your eyes. The NICB says two common maneuvers include side-swiping your car and stopping abruptly in front of you so you rear-end them. Then when you pull off to the side to discuss the incident, the thief takes your car (dents and all). For this reason, it’s all the more important to have your phone at the ready to snap photos and even video.

Use an anti-theft device

A steering wheel or tire lock makes it harder for a thief to drive away. Another smart option is a GPS tracking device … which might not make it harder to steal but will make it easier to find. (Plus, these devices could earn an auto discount!). 

Drive a stick shift

Fewer and fewer people are learning how to drive manuals since 90% of new cars have automatic transmissions. Which means, if you drive a stick, there’s a decent chance a car thief won’t know how to operate it. 

Don’t leave your door unlocked — and the key inside

This one might seem obvious. But in a small town with a low crime rate, it’s easy to get comfortable. Always take your car keys with you and lock your vehicle. 

Having your car stolen is painful. Having the right coverage can make dealing with it (WAY) less painful. Get an auto quote with Esurance and find out how we’re making insurance surprisingly painless.

Car insurance 101 | Car safety


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.