Michigan auto insurance group helps reduce auto thefts

A Michigan group funded by the auto insurance industry offers rewards to tipsters who help recover stolen cars

A group funded by auto insurance companies, Help Eliminate Auto Thefts, has helped recover over $50 million in stolen cars in Michigan.

The group celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Since its 1985 inception, H.E.A.T. investigations have led to the arrests of 3,300 people in auto theft crimes. The program is "an integral part of keeping Michigan communities and residents safe from the costs and dangers associated with auto theft-related crime," said H.E.A.T. director Terri Miller.

Oakland County sheriff Mike Bouchard added that the program has helped reduce auto theft in his county 65 percent in the last two and a half decades.

Michigan is plagued with some of the nation's highest auto insurance rates. Detroit insurance costs average about $5,000 per year, and the state's overall auto insurance costs are the country's eleventh highest.

Robert Hartwig, Insurance Information Institute president, suggested to Michigan lawmakers that the state's unlimited no-fault claims provision is the reason for residents' high auto insurance prices. By keeping auto theft low, H.E.A.T. helps to keep Michiganders' auto insurance rates from being even higher.

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Posted: January 5, 2010

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