Theft of catalytic converters are on the rise in the US. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that the theft of catalytic converters has risen 1750% from January 2019 to December 2020.
A catalytic converter is part of the vehicle’s exhaust system. Located between the engine and the muffler, the catalytic converter is an emissions control device, converting toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide into less hazardous pollutants. The converter contains precious metals that act as a catalyst for this conversion.
According to the NICB, as of December 2020, rhodium was valued at $14,500 per ounce, palladium at $2,336 per ounce, and platinum going for $1,061 per ounce. Typically, recyclers will pay $50 to $250 per catalytic converter.
All types of vehicles are being targeted; however, high profile commercial trucks allow easier access to the undercarriage of the vehicle. Theft of catalytic converters can be completed in five minutes or less. Hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, are also targeted, as they do not run on gas all the time and the precious metals are less likely to be used up/corroded.
Although the increase in theft is occurring most everywhere, the top five states are: California, Texas, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Illinois. The Hartford Claim’s Department has responded to a significant increases in catalytic converter theft during the time period and in states identified by NICB.
Costs of replacing the converter and repairing damage to the vehicle can range from $1,000 - $3,000 for private passenger vehicles and $5,000 - $10,000 for commercial trucks. This does not include loss of use of the vehicle, business delays, or the expense of renting temporary vehicles.
Catalytic Converter Theft has risen to 1750% from January 2019 to December 2020 with replacement and repair costs ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the type of vehicle.
To help deter such thefts:
When possible, store vehicles indoors at night.
Evaluate and enhance physical security: increase fencing height (8’ or higher, wrought iron or block better than chain link fencing), secure gates, heavy duty padlocks and chains.
Enhance lighting in vehicle storage yards.
Cameras have not proven effective in theft prevention. Consider yard motion detectors, gate opening sensors or other detection devices that will trigger a burglar alarm and lights / sirens on the premises.
Install theft deterrent devices on the vehicles such as Catstrap™ or CatClamp®.
Law enforcement groups suggest stamping or etching the VIN number on the units to prevent resale.
Re-calibrate your vehicle alarm to trigger when vibration is detected.
Hire security guard for larger trucking yards.
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The information provided in these materials is intended to be general and advisory in nature. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford does not warrant that the implementation of any view or recommendation contained herein will: (i) result in the elimination of any unsafe conditions at your business locations or with respect to your business operations; or (ii) be an appropriate legal or business practice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for the control or correction of hazards or legal compliance with respect to your business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute our undertaking, on your behalf or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that your business premises, locations or operations are safe or healthful, or are in compliance with any law, rule or regulation. Readers seeking to resolve specific safety, legal or business issues or concerns related to the information provided in these materials should consult their safety consultant, attorney or business advisors. All information and representations herein are as of March 2021.