Catalytic Converter Theft

How to Protect Your Insured’s  Fleet from It

Catalytic converter theft continues to be on the rise across the country. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, claims for stolen catalytic converters soared 325% to 14,433 in 2020, the most recent year for which figures are available, up dramatically from just 3,389 in 2019 and 1,298 in 2018.

Catalytic Converter hanging on the under carriage of a car

The converters have become a target for thieves due to the value of their components  – platinum, palladium and rhodium – elements that experienced rapidly rising values since the start of the pandemic.

This theft not only forces vehicles out of service, but it can also increase harmful emissions from internal combustion engines.

As a result, the insurance sector has been working to mitigate this threat to consumers and organizations alike. But for nonprofits and human service organizations, who already operate on a limited budget, a catalytic converter theft can severely impact a fleet and as a result, the organization’s services and operations.

One of the most common vehicles impacted by this theft is also a favorite among nonprofits and human service groups. The Ford Econoline van, a popular vehicle among these organizations due to its size and comfort, is among the top targeted vehicle classes for catalytic converter thefts. And once its converter is stolen, these cars are left inoperable.

Due to the continued supply chain struggles and inflation, the costs to replace the converter and get vans back on the road ($1000 to $3000) have ballooned leaving many nonprofits and social service groups forced to pay out of pocket for the replacement.

What steps can your clients take today to protect their fleets and mitigate the risk of catalytic converter theft?

Park Smart & Secure

As always, following common sense safety protocol when it comes to parking can help prevent theft. 

  • Park in a secure area like a garage or monitored lot. 
  • Park in well-lit areas. 
  • Etch the vehicle identification number onto the converter which can help with recovery if it is stolen.
  • Park defensively. Because converters are located in the vehicle exhaust’s system, the right parking job can make them more difficult to access.

Consider a Protective Device

Consider installing a catalytic converter protection device. This cage-like device is installed around the converter, making it more challenging and time-consuming to access and steal.

There are several protective devices for nonprofits and human service organizations to consider when safeguarding their fleets. They can mount motion-detector-operated alarms next to the catalytic converter, which would make a loud noise upon activation and alert people to the thief. We recommend cages that can be installed around the converter to prevent access. Owners and operators could also etch the vehicle ID number (VIN) which makes the converter more difficult to sell.

Support Legislation

Today, several states have started to implement tracking systems and other enforcement measures to prevent this type of theft. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states enacted bills in 2021 addressing catalytic converter thefts, at least 20 states enacted 25 bills in 2022, and the trend is expected to continue throughout 2023.

Partner with the Right Insurance Expert

Keeping your client’s organization safe is paramount. With the right insurance partner, you can help them secure the necessary comprehensive coverage to protect against the risk of theft.

Now is the time for nonprofit leaders to take proper risk mitigation steps to protect their fleets from catalytic converter theft to keep their operations running. 

At Convelo, our specialized and experienced underwriters can secure the most inclusive coverage, at the most competitive pricing, that enable nonprofits and human service organizations to carry on with their missions with peace of mind and the added protection they need.

Contact us to learn more about your client’s unique risks and coverage needs today.