Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Mar 31, 2022

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Is catalytic converter theft covered by insurance? Is there a specific type of catalytic converter car insurance? If your catalytic converter was stolen recently, wait before buying a replacement because your car insurance company can help you. Comprehensive coverage pays for catalytic converter theft.

How much you pay for comprehensive coverage depends on the vehicle you drive and the company. Continue reading to learn which car insurance companies offer the cheapest comprehensive rates.

Find affordable car insurance rates for comprehensive insurance to cover catalytic converter theft right now by entering your ZIP code in the FREE comparison tool above.

Stolen Catalytic Converter Car Insurance Rates

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) publishes the average car insurance rates each year. Let’s examine the latest national average car insurance rates.

National Average Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type
Coverage TypeAverage Annual Car Insurance RatesAverage Monthly Car Insurance Rates
Full Coverage$1,030$86

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Compared to liability and collision coverage, comprehensive insurance is more affordable. However, comprehensive coverage only covers damage from incidents that don’t involve a collision. Therefore, you won’t be able to make a comprehensive claim if your catalytic converter is damaged in an accident.

If your catalytic converter is stolen, you can file a car insurance claim under your comprehensive coverage. According to the NAIC, you can pay as low as $12 per month. However, your car insurance rates could vary depending on the auto insurance policy.

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What is a Catalytic Converter?

The catalytic converter, also called a cat or cat-con, is part of the vehicle’s emission’s system. Car exhaust goes through the converter, where a chemical process converts toxic fumes into the slightly less toxic exhaust. Every gas-powered vehicle manufactured since 1975 is fitted with one.

Before conversion, exhaust includes the highly toxic carbon monoxide as well as hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen. Once the chemical processes are applied, these toxins are converted to the less dangerous carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water that makes up car exhaust.

Watch this video on how catalytic converters work.

It’s easy to tell that a vehicle’s catalytic converter has been stolen because the car will be extremely loud. The car’s owner may not notice at first glance, but once the vehicle starts, the exhaust system will roar loudly. The sound is similar to the noise of motorcycles and should be very obvious. Once the engine is shut off, the car’s owner can check underneath the vehicle to ensure that the catalytic converter is missing; it usually rests just behind the tailpipe.

Although you can still drive a car without a catalytic converter, it’s best to avoid doing so if possible. Not only is the car extremely loud, but it also has toxic emissions that can pose a hazard to others near you in traffic.

Cars without catalytic converters cannot pass a city’s emissions test, so you will not be able to renew its registration without repairing the vehicle. The thieves may also cause damage to the fuel lines or wiring that could make the car dangerous to operable.

Although you’ll want to confirm this with your insurance company, it’s usually acceptable to consider your vehicle non-operable until the converter has been replaced.

How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

You reduce your chances of having your catalytic converter stolen with catalytic converter lock. These devices like an anti theft device will secure your catalytic converter in wire ropes and bolt-on installation, making it difficult for thieves to steal your catalytic converter.

Park your car in a well-lit area, also. Install security cameras around your home to monitor what is going on when you’re asleep at night or when your vehicle is at your residence.

If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you should consider shopping for a company that offers cheap comprehensive car insurance. Enter your ZIP code to start shopping.

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How much does a New Catalytic Converter cost?

Although the part is relatively small, it can be very pricey to replace. The price will vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle. The average price is around $1,000. The cost may be higher due to labor costs, and it could cost substantially more if there’s additional damage to surrounding areas.

For older-model vehicles, it’s not uncommon for a stolen catalytic converter to produce a total loss, although the car is otherwise undamaged. When this happens, it’s the owner’s choice between accepting the total loss settlement and replacing the vehicle, retaining the car on a salvage policy and repairing it, or choosing not to repair the car.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, driving without a catalytic converter may violate emission laws. If you live in an area with no emissions requirements, you may wish to forgo repairs, but be aware that the exhaust will be substantially more toxic than regular exhaust.

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Why Do Thieves Steal Catalytic Converters?

As with other types of theft, especially auto theft, the purpose of stealing a catalytic converter is so that the thief can make a profit. When thieves steal radios or navigation devices, they usually sell the whole part as-is in a pawn shop or other location. This is not the case for stolen catalytic converters.

The chemical catalyst used in the converter often employs one or more precious metals such as gold, palladium, rhodium, or platinum. Thieves can sell the converters whole to metal extractors, who can remove the small amounts of precious metals, combine them and resell them at a high profit.

In the case of rhodium, for example, an ounce can sell for as much as $6,000.

Thieves can sell each stolen catalytic converter for between $20 to $200 per unit. Considering it takes only a few minutes to remove the reasonably small part, a thief can quickly work an entire parking lot and make a massive profit. As the value of precious metals continues to rise, catalytic converter theft will happen more often.

The most stolen catalytic converter targets are pickups and SUVs because they are higher off the ground. It’s easier for thieves to get under the car and steal the part on these vehicles than on small cars, which might require jacks to raise them before the converter becomes accessible.

Also, catalytic converter thefts are happening more frequently to Toyotas and Hondas.

Will Insurance Cover a Stolen Catalytic Converter?

Because the catalytic converter is part of the vehicle that’s permanently installed, its theft will be covered under the vehicle’s comprehensive coverage. The comprehensive deductible will apply, and the insurance company will inspect the vehicle to assess the full extent of the damages and offer settlement accordingly.

If a car does not have comprehensive coverage, the theft would not be covered. This means that vehicles with a liability-only policy cannot be covered for any type of theft or vandalism.

In most cases, comprehensive insurance is very cheap to add to a policy; unless your vehicle is very old and not worth repairing, it’s a good idea to carry comprehensive coverage.

If you’re not sure what coverages you carry on your policy, you can check with your insurance agent. He or she will be able to explain your coverages and let you know what protection you have. This will help you decide whether it’s worth adding protection against theft, vandalism, or other concerns.

Get a comprehensive car insurance quote right now and get covered for a stolen catalytic converter, Just enter your ZIP code in the FREE comparison tool.

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Catalytic Converter Car Insurance FAQs

Let’s recap what you’ve learned about catalytic converter and car insurance. We’ll use frequently asked questions that appear on search engines across the internet to refresh your memory and add to what you already know about catalytic converters.

If you’re ready to compare car insurance for your catalytic converter, enter your ZIP code in the FREE comparison tool below!

#1 – Does insurance cover stolen catalytic converters?

Comprehensive car insurance coverage can pay for a stolen catalytic converter.

#2 – Which cars are most likely to have catalytic converter stolen?

SUVs and Trucks are popular cars for catalytic converter thefts. Toyotas and Hondas are also targets for catalytic converter thieves.

#3 – How can I protect my catalytic converter from being stolen?

Park your car in a well-lit area, park your vehicle near low-profile cars to restrict space for thieves, etch or write your license plate number on your catalytic converter, or purchase and install a catalytic converter lock.

#4 – Can a car drive with a bad catalytic converter?

Yes. Your car’s performance declines. If the catalytic converter is plugged, the car won’t run.

#5 – How do I know if my catalytic converter has been stolen?

When you start your car, the exhaust will be much louder when the vehicle starts.

#6 – What cars are targeted for catalytic converter theft?

Honda Jazz, Toyota Prius, Toyota Arius, and Lexus RX are the most susceptible targets for catalytic converter theft.

#7 – Does car insurance cover a catalytic converter theft?

Catalytic converter theft is covered by comprehensive coverage.

#8 – Do electric cars have catalytic converters?

No. There’s no exhaust or emissions system in electric cars.

#9 – Can I drive my car if my catalytic converter has been stolen?

You can drive your car without a catalytic converter, but it will be against standard emission standards. Driving without a catalytic converter can result in a fine.