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Catalytic converter theft

Catalytic converter thefts up tenfold in 2019

Thieves target expensive exhaust components

AA insurance services have seen the number of claims for catalytic converter thefts increase tenfold from the beginning of the year.

In January, eight vehicles had their catalytic converters stolen whereas in October 79 were stolen from unsuspecting car owners*.

A few drivers have had their catalytic converter stolen twice, meaning they have had to make two separate insurance claims.

Although catalytic converter thefts represent a very small proportion of all insurance claims made, the number of claims has steadily increased since January 2018.

As there is often no third party to claim against, drivers claiming against their insurance policy would also lose their No Claims Discount, unless otherwise protected.


Shutterstock cat conv


Table 1 – Number of Catalytic Converter claims to AA insurance since January 2018

Month Cat Conv Thefts  Month Cat Conv Thefts
December 2019 TBC December 2018 1
November 2019 TBC November 2018 8
October 2019 79 October 2018 3
September 2019 63 September 2018 6
August 2019 24 August 2018 3
July 2019 13 July 2018 2
June 2019 21 June 2018 2
May 2019 13 May 2018 1
April 2019 19 April 2018 2
March 2019 10 March 2018 3
February 2019 5 February 2018 1
January 2019 8 January 2018 0

Catalytic converters contain precious metals such as palladium, rhodium and platinum and can either be sent for scrap or sold privately via online auction sites.

As the converter is either unscrewed or sawn off the car, other damage can occur, such as cutting through electrical wires. This means repair bills can be around £2,000 to £3,000.

Criminals are being bold and brash by stealing converters in broad daylight
Janet Connor, managing director for AA insurance services

Police forces across the UK have recognised the increase in crime too and have rolled out targeted communications to help protect drivers**.

Janet Connor, managing director for AA insurance services says; “A tenfold increase in claims for catalytic converters due to theft is a shocking revelation.

“Criminals are being bold and brash by stealing converters in broad daylight, as they believe passers-by won’t question someone tinkering underneath a car.

“Where possible, drivers should park in a garage or in a well-lit area. Manufacturers have also developed anti-theft devices which can be attached to the fixings and give the converter a unique serial number. Concerned drivers should contact their dealer for further information.

“Scrap dealers and online auction sites have a role to play too, by making appropriate checks to ensure the parts being sold or scrapped have not been illegally gained.”


* Data provided by AA Insurance Services

**https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/advice/vehicle-crime/vehicle-crime/catalytic-converter-theft-prevention-advice

More information on protecting your vehicle from catalytic converter theft can be found on the AA website here.