Catalytic Converter Theft: What It Is and How to Prevent It

Catalytic Converter Theft: What It Is and How to Prevent It

If you aren’t familiar with what’s under the hood of a car, chances are you have no idea what a catalytic converter is! It’s actually a pollution control device that contains precious metals, and thieves are running rampant for them in recent years. BeenVerified found that nationwide, thefts were up 540% in 2022 compared to 2020.  Catalytic converters can be removed within minutes using a battery-operated saw, making them an easy target for thieves.

High Reward, High Cost

Catalytic converters contain high-value precious metals that work to reduce harmful chemicals emitted by vehicles. Who would’ve thought such a great invention would lead to such a terrible theft increase!

The National Crime Insurance Bureau states thieves can expect a high reward per ounce of metal, averaging:

  • $14,500 for rhodium
  • $2,336 for palladium
  • $1,061 for platinum

With such a high reward for thieves, auto owners who fall victim to catalytic converter theft get the short end of the stick! You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 - $3,000 to replace your catalytic converter. Not to mention the cost of paying for alternate transportation while your car is being repaired.

Has My Catalytic Converter Been Stolen?

Signs your catalytic converter may have been stolen include:

  • A loud roaring sound that gets louder when you push the gas pedal.
  • A sputtering sound when you accelerate.
  • Increased exhaust smells.

If you notice any of these signs out of the blue, you may want to take a look under the hood. Catalytic converters are typically located between the engine and the muffler. If it does appear to be missing, your best bet is to file a police report and document the loss.

Does My Insurance Cover the Cost of a Stolen Catalytic Converter?

If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, you may be covered! Theft is a covered cause of loss under comprehensive coverage, so be sure to contact your independent insurance agent after you discover a missing catalytic converter to verify if you have coverage. If you do, you should only be responsible for paying your auto deductible, which is likely $500-$1,000.

Preventing Catalytic Converter Theft

While there is no surefire way to prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen, there are precautions you can take to deter thieves and lessen the chances:

  • Park in a secure garage or in a well-lit area. If you park in your driveway, install motion sensor lights and security cameras.
  • Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device such as a cage or steel plates.
  • Increase the sensitivity level of your car alarm to alert you if anyone tampers with your car.
  • Engrave your vehicle identification number and phone number on your catalytic converter. It could help law enforcement track and identify the stolen part.
  • Put a security sticker on your windshield. A sticker warning that your vehicle is equipped with an alarm system could deter thieves.
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Amy Casey
Social Media & Communications Specialist
Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she has obtained her Associate in General Insurance designation.