A SPECIAL ALERT for Auto Insurance Customers
Across the nation, law enforcement is reporting a dramatic increase in the theft of catalytic converters
from personal vehicles. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), there were fewer than
1,300 such thefts reported in 2018. That number jumped to more than 14,000 in 2020.
We want to make you aware of this emerging trend and share some tips on how you can help protect your catalytic converter from theft.
What is the Catalytic Converter? The catalytic converter is a device that helps control your vehicle’s
emissions, by converting hazardous exhaust to less harmful gasses. It’s part of your exhaust system, and
usually located between the engine and your muffler. Catalytic converters contain precious metals, which
thieves can sell to scrap metal recyclers.
Are some types of vehicles more susceptible to catalytic converter theft? Hybrid vehicles, trucks
and SUVs are popular targets. Because a hybrid car doesn’t use the gas engine as often, the catalytic
converter retains more of its precious metals. Trucks and SUVs can also be targets as it’s easier for
thieves to slide underneath the vehicle where the converter is located.
What can I do to help prevent the theft of my catalytic converter?
• If you have a home garage, park your car inside and keep the garage door shut. If you can’t park
inside, install motion sensing lights in your driveway.
• No home garage? Consider a parking garage or other type of secured parking area. When garages
are not an option, park in locations that are well-lit, highly visible and/or have security cameras, all
of which may help dissuade would-be thieves.
• If you have a high-riding vehicle (truck, SUV) back into parking spaces near lower profile cars,
fences, bushes or other obstacles to make it more difficult to access underneath.
• If you have a car alarm, set it to respond to vibrations.
• Several specialized clamps and shields are now on the market to protect catalytic converters. Talk
with a trusted mechanic or dealership to determine if one is right for your vehicle(s).
• Talk to your local body shop about etching your vehicle’s VIN on the catalytic converter. VIN
etching can help police identify the owner, aid in a criminal investigation, and alert metal recyclers
that the catalytic converter may have been stolen.
What should I do if my catalytic converter is stolen?
Report the theft to the police and then contact your insurance company. You may be covered
for the theft if you carry comprehensive coverage on the vehicle.
Catalytic converter thefts are a growing issue, but with some simple steps you can
better avoid becoming a victim.