Thefts of vehicle catalytic converters continue to increase across the country. In the past quarter alone, our Sentinel Risk Advisors Claim Department has submitted over 20 claims to our carriers. Most of these thefts are to commercial vehicles.
Catalytic converters, which have been required in all US vehicles since 1974, contain precious metals that can be easily stolen and sold quickly at local scrap yards. There doesn’t appear to be an end to these thefts in the near future as our region begins to recover in a post-COVID environment. In fact, North Carolina is one of five states leading the country in stolen catalytic converters.
The financial cost of replacing the converters and renting a vehicle during repair, is running between $1,500 to as high as $7,000. Some of the additional costs associated with a stolen catalytic converter include:
- Time to report to the police. Insurance policies require a police report.
- Down time as the vehicle is not drivable so there a possible loss of business income.
- Cost to tow the vehicle to your local repair shop.
- Down time waiting for available parts to be delivered to the repair shop.
- Cost to rent a vehicle, if a comparable commercial vehicle is available.
- Time to submit a claim a claim to your agent. Sentinel clients can submit their claim to our dedicated claims email at email@example.com.
- Insurance comprehensive deductible will apply.
What can a business do to prevent and reduce the chance of having their fleet of vehicles from becoming a part of this trend? Here are some ideas:
- Park inside a building parking lot rather than an open lot.
- Park vehicles in a well-lit and secured area, preferably a fenced–in area.
- Park vehicles side-by-side.
- Install video surveillance equipment with signs posted stating video surveillance is in force.
- Weld the catalytic converter to the vehicle to make it harder to remove.
- Install a motion detector alarm system on the vehicle.
Now is a good time to review measures to protect your vehicles, as well as review your automobile coverages. The theft of catalytic converters is considered a comprehensive loss under the automobile policy and not all individuals choose to carry comprehensive coverage, due to the age of the vehicle and the premium charges.
Additionally, most standard automobile policies do not provide rental reimbursement for this type of loss, but it is possible to have the policy endorsed to add rental reimbursement coverages. Rental reimbursement coverage has a maximum daily and cumulative allowance.
For answers to your individual policy coverages for comprehensive and/or rental reimbursement related to the theft of a catalytic converter from your vehicle, please contact your Sentinel Risk Advisors Account Manager.