Major insurance carrier says catalytic converter thefts in Arizona are spiraling out of control

In 2021, State Farm paid out $1.4 million dollars in catalytic converter thefts.
According to State Farm, these catalytic converter thefts are spiraling out of control, costing the insurance industry millions.
Updated: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:30 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - As you drive around the Valley, you probably don’t even realize your car has a catalytic converter. But thieves know, and they’ll do anything to steal yours, even in broad day light .

Numerous videos on the Internet have been shared of individuals catching thieves stealing catalytic converters from underneath their vehicles. State Farm spokesperson Amy Harris said, “You don’t even know your catalytic converter is missing until you start your car and hear the noise. And you immediately know something wrong.”

Catalytic converters are part of the exhaust system and contain precious metals such as platinum. Carfax shared a video with On Your Side, showing that it only takes about a minute or so to cut off the converter using a saw. Then the thieves can take it to a scrap metal dealer where they’re paid hundreds of dollars. If yours is stolen, you’ll know it, because your car will sound loud and rough. “The cost involved, and the cost to get it replaced can really be an inconvenience,” Harris said.

According to State Farm, these converter thefts are spiraling out of control costing the insurance industry millions. In 2019, State Farm said it paid out only $9,900 for catalytic converter theft claims. Two years later in 2021, State Farm paid over $1.4 million dollars. That’s quite a spike, and the dollar amount is expected to be even higher for 2022, making Arizona ninth in the nation for State Farm payouts. “The data is staggering. It’s really mind-boggling to look at and see nationally and not just in Arizona. It has grown 109% since last year,” Harris said.

To prevent yourself from becoming a victim, park in your garage if you have one and of course, close and lock the door. “We’ve heard numerous stories where people leave their car in the garage, and it’s taken from the garage. So, if it’s not closed, that’s another potential problem,” Harris said. Depending on your vehicle, replacing a catalytic converter can cost anywhere from a thousand dollars all the way up to $2,500. If you have comprehensive coverage through your insurance company, however, replacing it should be covered.