Catalytic Converter Thefts Are Up, Should You Worry?

It seems every news cycle there’s a new type of car theft to worry about. With catalytic converter thefts on the rise, it’s important to know if you’re at risk and what to do about it.

What is a catalytic converter?

Catalytic converters are part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, designed to control pollution released into the air. Before catalytic converters, unfiltered fumes from the combustion of your engine would just enter the atmosphere. A catalytic converter reduces these toxic emissions.

Why are they being stolen?

The part itself is pricey- sometimes over $1000 each on the black market. That’s because it’s made with precious metals such as palladium, platinum, and rhodium, all of which are more valuable than gold. In rhodium’s case, it’s selling at $5900 per ounce. Also, the pandemic can partly be blamed for the rise in these thefts. People weren’t driving their cars regularly and these metals’ valuations were on the rise, creating a “perfect storm” to drive catalytic converter thefts. They’re also easy to steal- it can be done in as quickly as 90 seconds.

Are you at risk?

First, it’s important to know if your vehicle is at risk at all. Here’s an idea of which types of vehicles are even more at-risk for catalytic converter theft:

  • Luxury vehicles: The Ferrari F430 has the most expensive catalytic converters, for example.
  • Hybrid vehicles: The more emissions-friendly the vehicle, the more valuable its catalytic converter tends to be. These vehicles require a higher concentration of precious metals, upping the total value (and the incentive) for thieves.
  • SUVs and trucks: The larger the engine, the larger the catalytic converter. Also their high ground clearance makes their converters easier to access. Consider this: the Dodge Ram 2500’s catalytic converter’s value is nearly Ferrari-level at a staggering $2,000.
How to Protect Yourself

After pinpointing if you’re at risk, now it’s time to take action to protect yourself.

  • First, find out which specific makes and models of vehicle are being targeted in your community. Local police stations and even local muffler shops can assist with this.
  • If you can, etch your VIN into your catalytic converter. They are less likely to be stolen if they can be traced.
  • Always park your vehicle in a well lit area, your driveway, or garage if possible.
  • Install an antitheft device to your catalytic converter.
  • Make your home a tough target by installing a home security system.
Does Auto Insurance Cover Catalytic Converter Thefts?

Additionally, you may be wondering if your auto insurance covers these thefts. Check to see if you have comprehensive coverage on your car. Having full coverage on your vehicle likely gives you protections when these kinds of thefts occur. You should always have a strong idea of the coverages you have for your vehicle. Contact your advisor at Cincinnatus Insurance if you need clarity. Understanding your auto insurance coverage is a major key to protecting yourself!

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