Canadian Underwriter

Truck tailgate theft up in the U.S.: report

February 7, 2013   by Canadian Underwriter

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In a first-time report, the National Insurance Crime Bureau in the United States has reported that from 2006 to 2012, there were more than 1,300 claims related to tailgate theft from pickup trucks.

TruckBetween Jan. 1, 2006 and Sept. 30, 2012, the NICB identified 1,343 claims related to tailgate theft, or the stealing of the hinged board or closure at the back of a truck used for loading and unloading. The claims numbers included in the report were only those listed in the ISO ClaimSearch database.

The stolen tailgates often end up online for resale, as they are high in demand, since they can be easily damaged from loading and unloading or collisions, and expensive to replace, the report suggests.

Of the total claims, 90% were associated with personal policies, with the remainder related to commercial lines, the NICB said. More than 200 different vehicle models were identified, it also noted.

The claims spanned 45 states, with Texas being the highest loss state with 451 claims, 96 of which were in Houston. California and Arizona were also high loss areas, with the three states accounting for 63% of total claims.

While these thefts aren’t anything new, they have been increasing, the bureau notes. From 2006 through 2009 there were only 23 tailgate theft claims processed. In 2010, that number shot up to 430 and increased again in 2011 to 472. Through Sept. 30, 2012, tailgate theft claims in 2012 reached 418, with 557 projected through all of 2012.

The numbers in the report reflect insurance claims and are not representative of the actual theft activity, the NICB said. It is also possible that some thefts may have been missed, as some thefts likely go unreported.

Tailgates can be stolen as quickly as within 30 seconds, without complicated tools, the NICB notes. It said that the cost for a replacement tailgate is about $1,200.

In Canada, reports indicate tailgate theft is a problem, especially in Alberta. Last May, the Edmonton Sun newspaper reported that 30 such thefts were reported for the first five months of the year.

That report suggested that replacement costs could be as high as $4,500, while a 2011 CBC News report about tailgate theft in Calgary suggested replacement costs could be around $2,500, including paint and labour costs.

To prevent tailgate theft, the NICB recommends the following:

  • First, if your model has an integrated lock, use it. If a tailgate can’t be opened, it can’t be stolen as easily. If you don’t have one, get one; they are relatively inexpensive.
  • Park with the tailgate as close as you can to an object or a structure to prevent the tailgate from opening.
  • Etch the truck’s vehicle identification number (VIN) or your own personal identification number into the tailgate; this will aid in its recovery and may prevent its theft in the first place.