Since 2020, our nation has seen a dramatic increase in auto and catalytic converter thefts, costing both policyholders and insurance companies thousands of dollars per claim. Stillwater wants to help by providing some tips to help you minimize your risk and hopefully avoid becoming a victim of this national crime wave.
Most car thefts are perpetrated by organized crime rings. Stolen vehicles are dispensed to chop shops within minutes of their theft to be cut up and sold piece by piece. And with today's supply chain issues, this criminal enterprise is even more profitable. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends you use a "layered protection" approach to help avoid this happening to your vehicle - the more layers of protection you can implement, the more of a challenge it will be to steal.
LAYER 1: Always Use Common Sense
LAYER 2: Use a Visible or Audible Device
LAYER 3: Install a Vehicle Immobilizer
LAYER 4: Invest in a Tracking System
You may be asking, "What's a catalytic converter, and why would anyone want to steal one?" A catalytic converter is part of a car's exhaust system that converts the engine's hazardous exhaust into less harmful gasses using the precious metals inside them: platinum, palladium and rhodium. The value of these metals is what makes catalytic converters so desirable to thieves. Vehicles with higher emissions standards have the most valuable catalytic converters because they contain more of these precious metals.
Besides being very valuable, catalytic converters are also easy to steal, as they can be cut off the exhaust system in about 3 minutes using a small electric saw. SUVs with higher ground clearance are largely a target since their catalytic converters are easier to access.
Catalytic converter thefts happen in parking lots, driveways, and while vehicles are parked on the street. Because it's such a crime of opportunity, you could find your vehicle is missing its catalytic converter at any time - and it could cost you between $1000 and $3000 to replace it!
Here are some things you can do to deter a thief from targeting yours:
Check your policy or call your insurance company. If you have full coverage - which includes liability insurance, plus collision and comprehensive coverages that repair or replace your car - your policy will cover a theft of your vehicle or a stolen auto part. If you have a deductible, you will be required to pay that first. A deductible is in your policy agreement and is your share of the costs to repair or replace your vehicle. Liability only policies will not cover you in the event your vehicle or catalytic converter is stolen.
How to purchase a policy from Stillwater: