Catalytic converter theft is an increasingly common problem, spiking 2,000% in the past three years. This may seem like a problem only in big cities, but think again. In April of 2023, seven thieves were arrested for stealing hundreds of catalytic converters across New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Is a Stolen Catalytic Converter Covered by NH Car Insurance?
If you find yourself a victim of catalytic converter theft, here’s what to know about car insurance before you file a claim.
Why thieves steal catalytic converters
Thieves commonly target catalytic converters because of the precious metals these components contain. Converters use metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium to reduce emissions.
As prices for metals across the board have increased, so too has the scrap value that thieves can get for these parts. In some cases, the parts are alternatively resold at a high price.
How to protect your vehicle’s catalytic converter
Regardless of any insurance coverage, it’s preferable to keep your vehicle’s catalytic converter from being stolen in the first place. You can help protect your vehicle and its catalytic converter by:
- Parking in well-lit areas or secure garages whenever possible
- Installing a catalytic converter lock or security ring
- Engraving your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) on the catalytic converter (for tracing post-theft)
- Installing motion-activated lights in your driveway
How auto insurance covers catalytic converters
Any coverage your New Hampshire auto insurance provides for a stolen catalytic converter would fall under comprehensive coverage (also known as other-than-collision, OTC). Comprehensive coverage normally protects against non-collision incidents that involve only your vehicle, such as animal strikes, falling trees, vandalism, fire, and theft -- typically including theft of a catalytic converter.
Not all auto policies have comprehensive coverage, but it's an essential coverage to consider and one that most car owners in New Hampshire probably should have. For example, the claim would fall under comprehensive coverage if you ever hit a deer (or forbid a moose). So too, would many other incidents that could wreck your vehicle, not to mention loans or leases generally require it.
Even if your vehicle is older and not worth fixing in an accident, then it is often suggested to drop collision coverage but keep comprehensive. This is because anyone can get a chip in their windshield, and comprehensive coverage is much less expensive than collision coverage.
The importance of a deductible
Assuming you have comprehensive coverage, you likely have a valid claim if your catalytic converter is ever stolen. There's one additional detail to check, though.
Your deductible might make a claim not worth filing. If your deductible is close to the cost of a new converter, it could be better to pay for a new one yourself. You'd have to pay the deductible anyway, and this could be the majority of what a new converter costs to purchase and install.
Installing a new catalytic converter can range from ~$950 to ~$2,500. If your deductible is $1,000 and your vehicle's converter cost is on the lower end of this range, there may be little reason to file an insurance claim. On the other hand, filing a claim makes sense if you have a deductible of only $100 or $250 or if your vehicle's converter is on the upper end of this range.
You will also want to check if you have a separate comprehensive deductible for glass losses versus other comprehensive losses. Some companies offer different comprehensive deductibles to customize coverage to meet the consumer's needs.
An insurance agent specializing in auto coverage, such as HPM Insurance, can help you choose an appropriate deductible.
Get help with comprehensive coverage
If you have questions about comprehensive coverage or don’t know whether you have sufficient comprehensive coverage, talk with us at HPM Insurance. One of our knowledgeable New Hampshire agents can review scenarios where comprehensive would likely offer protection and help you choose a suitable deductible for your vehicle. Stay safe~