Yes, it does. If your auto insurance policy is comprehensive, you will be covered against catalytic converter theft. Typically, the insurance company will cover the cost of replacing the converter and repairs for anything that might have sustained damage when thieves took out the converter.
During the lockdown, courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic, catalytic converter theft rates went through the roof. The situation was so bad insurance companies were forced to state the amount they had incurred in covering converter theft.
The reason lies with the materials used in making these converters. The metals on them are valuable and can be salvaged for a hefty price on the black market.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the rate of catalytic converter theft between 2019 and 2020 went up over 300%. The number of reported cases as of 2019 was approximately 4000, but by 2020 the number was nearly 14500.
What Is A Catalytic Converter?
A catalytic converter is a major component in all gas-powered vehicles. Its function is to reduce the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere. For example, carbon monoxide enters the converter and exits as the less poisonous carbon dioxide. The catalytic converter is located between the engine and the muffler on the underside of a vehicle.
Catalytic Converter Theft- Why Does it Happen?
You may be wondering what is it about this component that makes them attractive to car thieves. The answer lies in the materials they are made of.
Catalytic converters are made with valuable metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium.
The market value for these metals significantly went up in 2020. For example, an ounce of RhodiumRhodium goes for nearly $14000, while an ounce of palladium can sell for $2000.
They are also located in an easily accessible part of the car- its underside. It takes a few minutes to take out a catalytic converter, making it easier to steal.
Cars at Risk of Catalytic Converter Theft
Needless to say, any car with a catalytic converter is at risk of having it stolen. Catalytic converters gain popularity in the 70s, 1975 to be exact. Unfortunately, thieves tend to target the older models of cars when hunting for converters. The reason is that older car models are made with more metals than newer ones.
Hybrid vehicles are partly powered by electricity making their catalytic converters more valuable than those of non-hybrid vehicles. In addition, the converters on hybrid vehicles are seen as more valuable because they see less use than that standard cars.
Lastly, cars with high ground clearance such as vans and SUVs make a great target for catalytic converter theft. Their height off the ground makes it easier for thieves to get under them and steal the converter.
Cars that are at higher risk of catalytic converter theft include
1. Lexus SUVs
4. Cars with high ground clearance such as vans and SUVs
The table below contains the average cost for a catalytic converter replacement for cars at a higher risk of catalytic converter theft.
|Cars at higher risk of catalytic converter theft||average cost for a Catalytic Converter Replacement|
|Lexus SUVs||$1824 – $1844|
|Toyota||$1708 – $1714|
|Honda Accord||$950 – $2500|
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know My Catalytic Converter Has Been Stolen?
Because of where your catalytic converter is located, you cannot likely tell it is missing from just looking at your car.
When you turn on the engine, the first clue that your car’s converter has tampered with shows up, without your catalytic converter, your car will make loud noises. These noises get louder every time you push the gas pedal.
In addition to this, your car will make noises when you change the vehicle’s speed. You may also notice a smell coming from the exhaust since poisonous emissions are being released into the air. Lastly, the car will not operate as smoothly.
You can look under your vehicle and check for a hole between the engine and the muffler where the converter is supposed to be.
How Can I Prevent My Catalytic Converter From Being Stolen?
You can do several things to prevent your catalytic converter from getting stolen. The easiest and least expensive option is to ensure your car is parked in a secure location when it is left in an unattended position. Such a location can be a garage that is locked or your personal premises.
Another thing to consider when decreasing your chances of being a target of catalytic converter theft victims is to weld your converter to the car.
This makes it more difficult to take out of the vehicle than converters simply screwed on with bolts.
Lastly, you can upgrade your car’s security system. Set your car’s security alarm to go off when it detects vibration. This will alert you when anyone is trying to tamper with your car without consent as they cannot turn it off.
How Much Will It Cost To Replace My Catalytic Converter?
According to The Spruce, a victim of catalytic converter theft will incur about $2000 in replacing and repairing their vehicle.
If you plan to purchase from the original manufacturer, this will cost more than buying a generic model. Our advice is it may be worth the extra effort to check out prices from different vendors and go for the best one.
Asides from the cost of replacing the converter itself, you may also incur additional costs for repairing any damage done to the car in the course of being ransacked.
How Much Is A Catalytic Converter Worth?
A catalytic converter can sell for as high as $3000 at scrap value, depending on the make of the car and what kind of precious metals it is coated with.
Catalytic converter theft is rising, and you may be the next victim. With a comprehensive insurance policy, you need not worry about the expenditure that accompanies such an event. Your insurance provider with handle it.
If you are yet to experience catalytic converter theft, we would strongly advise you to adhere to the prevention tips discussed earlier, as the event can be a destabilizing one.