As Many As 153,000 Catalytic Converters Were Stolen in 2022, According To CarFax Data
According to new data from Carfax, catalytic converter theft, a long-standing concern for car owners, has been much more widespread than previously thought, with up to 153,000 incidents reported in the United States in 2022.
After analyzing millions of service records for catalytic converter replacements, Carfax data scientists arrived at this estimate, which represents a 2% increase from the previous year. In 2021, media reports had suggested that the number of insurance claims for catalytic converter replacements was around 52,000.
Carfax data scientists examined all instances of catalytic converter replacements in the United States, not solely those involving insurance claims. They accounted for converters that were replaced due to defects or recalls by the manufacturer, converters that were replaced because they were aged and malfunctioning, and converters that were stolen from vehicles parked on dealer lots.
Sergeant Matt Casavant of the Maine State Police describes catalytic converter theft as an "opportunistic crime," with thieves showing little discrimination in their choice of targets. Both well-lit parking lots and car dealerships have been frequently targeted, according to Casavant, and the audacity of the thieves appears to be unbounded. "The thieves were so brazen that it didn't matter," he stated.
The aforementioned figures were based on insurance claims, yet it is worth noting that a significant number of car owners do not file such claims. Why is this the case?
- Firstly, some car owners simply do not have insurance coverage.
- Secondly, owners of older vehicles may lack comprehensive coverage, which would typically include damage of this nature.
- Lastly, replacing a catalytic converter is a costly endeavor, with experts estimating a price range of $2,000 to $3,000.
Catalytic Converter Theft Claims: 2018 - 2021
Why Are Catalytic Converters Such A Hot Target For Thieves?
Thieves seek to obtain a significant profit by melting down the precious metals present in catalytic converters, specifically platinum, palladium, and rhodium.
At present, platinum is valued at $970 per ounce, while palladium is trading at around $1,330 an ounce. Rhodium is the most valuable, with a staggering value of approximately $10,000 per ounce. By comparison, gold is worth a modest $1,850 per ounce. These prices are subject to change as they fluctuate frequently.
The scarcity of these metals, coupled with high demand worldwide, has contributed to their high cost, resulting in research exploring gold as a future alternative.
Experts claim that thieves can sell a standard catalytic converter for anywhere between $25 to $300. In contrast, converters from hybrid vehicles can fetch up to $1,400.
“The frequency and cost of catalytic converter theft losses continue to grow nearly unabated. Every week there is another news report detailing this theft epidemic,” says Chris Sestito, Chief Operations Officer. “The rise in the value of the precious metals found within catalytic converters and the low-cost availability of the tools capable of quickly dismantling them from vehicles makes for an ideal environment for thieves to commit these crimes."
About Premiere Services
CAT-Converter Express is a national service that handles theft and vandalism claims for all private passenger vehicles and the majority of commercial vehicles. Claims handlers can send an assignment to Premiere Services via CCCOne®, warm transfer phone call, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or through Premiere’s secure online quick claim portal found at https://premiereservices.com/quick-claim-form/. There are no setup fees, additional costs, or IT integration needed.
Premiere Services has been exclusively serving the insurance claims industry for 30 years. The company was started after Mark Puente experienced a theft loss, and after the claim was finished, he felt “there had to be a better way”. That has been the guiding principle for the company since 1991.
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About Premiere Services
Premiere Services is a leading nationwide mobile electronics replacement, wheel & tire and catalytic converter replacement service provider since 1991. We serve the consumer, fleet, collision and insurance markets.