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Protect yourself against catalytic converter theft – CoverLink insurance



A catalytic converter is a device found in a vehicle’s exhaust system that converts environmentally hazardous exhaust gases into less harmful gases. Although catalytic converters have been installed in every new vehicle since 1975, theft of these units has skyrocketed in recent years due to the highly valuable precious metals they contain. With catalytic converter theft on the rise, it’s important that you understand how to protect yourself.

Why catalytic converters get stolen

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) found that the number of reported catalytic converter thefts increased from around 1

,300 in 2018 to more than 52,000 in 2021. Several reasons why thieves are targeting these devices include:

  • They are easy to steal. It only takes a few minutes to steal a catalytic converter using a saw or wrench, and most vehicles don’t need to be jacked up for thieves to access the unit. Taller cars may be targeted more often because they are easier for thieves to get under.
  • They are very valuable. In recent years, the rare earth metals – such as platinum, palladium and rhodium – used to make these devices have greatly increased in value. In 2021, platinum sold for $1,100 per ounce, palladium for $2,400 and rhodium for $18,000.
  • Catalysts are not made the same way. Hybrid cars, for example, are highly targeted because their catalytic converters contain more precious metals.
  • They are hard to track. Catalytic converters do not have an identification number, so it is almost impossible to identify them as stolen property.

How to prevent catalytic converter theft

Some states, such as Indiana and Texas, have passed laws to reduce the frequency of catalytic converter theft. These include requiring scrap dealers to ask for vehicle titles or other documentation before buying used units. But since replacing a stolen catalytic converter can cost upwards of $1,500, it’s still important for vehicle owners to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of theft. The following are ways to minimize catalytic converter theft:

  • Install an anti-theft device. Many manufacturers have developed anti-theft devices, such as steel plates that protect the underside of a vehicle or steel cable holders that make removal more difficult. Installing an alarm or a strong motion sensor light can also deter a thief.
  • Park in safe areas. If available, vehicles should be parked overnight in a locked garage or in a well-lit, enclosed lot. When parking on the street, choose a well-lit area with high traffic.
  • Paint the catalytic converter. Using a high-temperature, fluorescent car exhaust spray paint on the car part can create a visible deterrent to warn thieves to move on. Color can also signal law enforcement and recycling companies to look for etched numbers or identification marks.
  • Get the device etched. Some police departments and muffler shops will etch a VIN or registration number onto the catalytic converter for free, making it more difficult for thieves to sell the part. Vehicle owners can also purchase an engraving machine for a minimal cost at a hardware/DIY store.
  • Buy comprehensive car insurance cover. While in-place coverage will not prevent catalytic converter theft, it will help cover expenses if the part is stolen. Keep in mind that purchasing only car liability coverage does not cover theft.

Catalytic converter theft

Conclusion

Even with the right insurance coverage, victims of catalytic converter theft may still have to wait for repairs due to delays in parts delivery and repair shop backups. With such thefts on the rise, prevention is the best way to avoid becoming a target. Contact us today to review your car insurance and make sure you have the right insurance.





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