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DIFS Urges Consumers to Take Precautions Against Catalytic Converter Theft
December 21, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 21, 2021
(LANSING, MICH) With a rising number of catalytic converter thefts occurring across the country, Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox is encouraging Michiganders to review steps they can take to protect against these thefts, especially since the expensive damage caused by this crime may not be covered by their auto insurance policies. As with any potential loss, Michiganders should review their insurance documents or speak with their insurance agent to understand their coverage before they experience a loss.
"Thieves can easily remove these expensive parts from cars and then sell them to recyclers for hundreds of dollars depending on the car's make and model," said Director Fox. "In addition to replacing the expensive converter itself, the damage caused by these thefts can be extensive and may cost as much as $3,000, or more, to repair. This will be covered by a comprehensive auto insurance policy but those who have not purchased this non-mandatory coverage may end up paying out of pocket for these repairs."
A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle's exhaust system and often closely resembles a standard muffler. It is designed to remove pollutants from a car's exhaust. Converters contain small amounts of rare and precious metals such as platinum. Often, these thefts occur in the middle of the night and can go undetected until the vehicle is started in the morning.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), 14,433 converters were reported stolen nationwide in 2020, up from just 3,389 in 2019 and 1,298 in 2018. To protect your vehicle from this type of theft, the NICB recommends that you take the following steps:
- Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device. These are available from various manufacturers and can provide a level of security from theft.
- Park vehicles in a garage if possible.
- If vehicles must be parked in a driveway, consider installing motion sensor security lights. While lights may not provide complete security, it may make some thieves think twice, making them leave the area and your vehicle untouched.
- Call local law enforcement and your insurer should you become the victim of a catalytic converter theft.
DIFS encourages consumers to review policy documents or contact their insurance agent or company to understand their coverage before they experience a loss, so they can make sure they are financially protected. If your catalytic converter has been stolen, call your insurance agent or company to determine what coverage is available under your policy. If you have questions or concerns with your insurance policy or wish to file a complaint, contact DIFS at 877-999-6442 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Additional information about the auto insurance reform law, including the amnesty period that allows uninsured drivers to get penalty-free auto insurance if they apply for coverage before January 1, 2022, can be found at Michigan.gov/AutoInsurance. Frequently asked questions, tips for shopping for insurance, and an insurance locator to help find licensed agents are also available.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.