The humble Honda Jazz is becoming uninsurable following a spate of thefts which has increased the risks of providing cover.
Drivers of the car have been denied cover by the provider LV= following a sharp spike in catalytic converter thefts which has made theft too costly to insure.
The insurer said it has made the “difficult decision” to stop offering quotes to drivers of the SE model made between 2001 and 2008.
It said the model had become a particular target of thieves looking to steal valuable parts.
Some 38,000 people drive a Honda Jazz SE. Thousands more drive the latest models, which have won a string of awards including What Car?’s “Small Car of the Year”.
Criminal gangs wielding hacksaws target the popular hatchback as its catalytic converter – made of precious platinum, palladium and rhodium metals – is easy to access and strip off due to the car’s higher ground clearance.
A used converter could fetch more than £500 on the black market, according to Crimestoppers, while the average replacement cost is £1,300.
The Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 2013, which made it illegal to post ads offering cash for old converters, helped cut a wave of converter thefts but the crimes started rising again during the pandemic.
The invasion of Ukraine has also caused the price of parts to soar as 40pc of the world’s palladium is located in Russia.
LV said the number of catalytic converter thefts reported by Jazz owners have almost doubled in three years, while claims have increased by 52pc in the same time frame.
A spokesman said: “We appreciate that this vehicle may not seem high-risk, but our claims experience with catalytic converter thefts shows they’re at a continually increasing risk of theft.
“Due to the sharp increase we’re seeing in terms of these vehicles’ catalytic converters being stolen, we’re having to make the tough decision to stop insuring them.
“We never want to leave our customers in the difficult situation of having to find alternative cover, however, these thefts are something we’ve been monitoring and we must make difficult decisions to help keep the cost of insurance down.”
Insurance premiums for all drivers have soared over the past year. Comparison site Confused.com found that the typical insurance premium now costs £366 more than 12 months ago – an increase of 58pc.
Almost two in three drivers reported a rise in premiums at renewal in the first half of 2023.
As well as the Jazz, certain models of the Honda CR-V, Toyota Prius and Toyota Auris are also prone to thefts due to the location of their catalytic converters.
Hybrid vehicles are also attractive to thieves because the metals in the converter are less likely to corrode and therefore worth more money.
Later Jazz models are not targeted to the degree of older cars, as from 2008 Honda positioned the converter within the engine bay to make theft more difficult.
While the Jazz has a target on its back for a particular part, a host of premium vehicles are being stolen for their full value.
In the year to March 2023, one in every hundred Land Rovers was stolen, with types of Range Rover accounting for six of the top 10 most stolen car models overall.
As a result, sales have been affected and the cars have become almost uninsurable, particularly in London.
The Ford Fiesta holds the unwanted title of being the most stolen car, with almost 6,000 being taken last year according to the DVLA, while insurer Axa UK says in the period between 2021 and 2023, Lexus thefts have increased by 22pc.
Statistics from the Association of British Insurers show payouts to customers over stolen cars and theft from vehicles reached £178 million in the three months to the end of September 2023 – a 35pc rise from 2022.