Canadian Underwriter

Catalytic converter theft: a growing problem for auto insurers

July 29, 2022   by Jason Contant

A new exhaust system with a catalytic converter

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Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is warning consumers about the need to protect their vehicles from catalytic converter theft as reports of this type of crime have significantly increased in recent months.

According to MPI claims data, the public insurer has seen approximately 150 catalytic converter theft-related claims reported monthly. In April 2022, that number exceeded 300.

These critical parts of a vehicle’s emissions system can be high in value when resold as they contain rare metals. And catalytic converters are relatively easy to remove from vehicles that aren’t parked in secure locations with correct safeguards, MPI’s president and CEO, Eric Herbelin, said in a press release.

“Although the theft of catalytic converters has been occurring for many years, the recent spike in thefts is attributed to the rising value of the palladium, platinum, and rhodium contained in the catalytic converter,” Bryan Gast, vice president of investigative services with Équité Association, told Canadian Underwriter.

“This is a serious problem and no part of the country is immune to it. Collaboration to seek solutions and to build public awareness are critical to combat the problem.”

In response to increased thefts in Manitoba, MPI launched an online education initiative aimed at giving customers information to help keep their vehicles safe.

“Our goal is to share the most common vehicles we have seen targeted and how all Manitobans can take preventative steps to increase the chances they won’t be filing a claim with MPI as result,” Herbelin said.

MPI reported catalytic converter thefts have increased significantly in Winnipeg, but are happening across the province – and the thefts can take place anywhere, from driveways to company compounds and public parking lots.

Catalytic converters are part of a vehicle’s emissions system and will disable a vehicle if removed. They’re easy to steal and high in value, making them very appealing to car thieves, MPI reported. “The converters…can easily be cut for your vehicle with a portable saw or grinder,” it added.

In Manitoba, the top five vehicles targeted for catalytic converter theft are:

  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Honda CR-V
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Kia Sportage
  • Mitsubishi RVR

“If your catalytic converter is stolen, you will need to pay your deductible, plus any depreciation,” MPI said. “That’s why it’s important to take steps to protect your catalytic converter.”

Most prevention methods involve parking best-practices. MPI gave the following tips:

  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Park close to building entrances or the nearest road in public parking lots. This leaves your car in a location where more people can see it.
  • If you have a personal garage, keep your car parked inside with the door shut.
  • Add video surveillance to the area where you regularly park your car.
  • Adjust the security system on your car, if already installed, to activate from vibrations, such as those produced by a saw.


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