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VaultNov 21, 2023 1:42:16 AM6 min read

Vehicle Theft Prevention: How to Deter Catalytic Converter and Auto Theft

Are you taking vehicle theft prevention measures to ensure your car is secure? Now more than ever, mitigation is a must as the United States sees record auto theft.

Here’s what you need to know about vehicle theft and how to prevent your car from being targeted:

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Auto Theft Prevention

Auto theft and break-ins are increasing. Here are ways to prevent your vehicle from being targeted.


Motor Vehicle Theft Statistics

In 2022, there was a 7% increase in stolen vehicles over the previous year. More than 1 million vehicles were stolen, costing $8.9 billion in losses.

Theft was so severe it hit record highs in many areas around the country. According to the Insurance Information Institute, a vehicle is stolen about every 41 seconds. Illinois had a 35% increase in car thefts from 2021 to 2022. California and Texas had the most stolen cars.

Some cars were more vulnerable to thieves, causing a class action lawsuit against two car makers. It has caused difficulties for auto insurers and customers alike.

Repairs are harder to do if something is damaged from a theft attempt or recovered after being stolen. The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) reported car repair prices went up in 2022, with parts costing 22.5% more and labor increasing by 9%. Luxury and specialty car repairs were even more costly.

Wait times for vehicle repairs now take 4 – 6 weeks on average due to supply chain issues and job shortages. According to the CCC Crash Course Report 2023, more cars are being totaled as a loss instead of repaired.

Premiums have increased due to insurers struggling to keep up with the challenging auto market. Some insurers are scaling back on the types of vehicles or areas they will insure.


Catalytic Converter Theft

The catalytic converter is a part of your vehicle’s exhaust system. It changes the toxic gases from burning fuel to carbon dioxide and water.

Catalytic converter theft is also up 540% since 2020. These converters are made with precious metals such as palladium, which has spiked in cost due to the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia, the world’s leading source of palladium.

What cars are targeted for catalytic converter theft? According to Carfax, the top five vehicles targeted are Ford F-Series Truck, Honda Accord, Toyota Prius, Honda CR-V, and Ford Explorer. This is because their converters are easier to access.

But hybrid cars and luxury vehicles are also often targeted at high rates. These cars have more or higher quality precious metals in their converters.

Hybrid cars have more palladium because these vehicles are supposed to reduce harmful emissions more than the average car.

Luxury cars, specifically Lamborghinis and Ferraris, have the most expensive catalytic converters available. While these cars tend to be parked in private garages and low to the ground, making the converter harder to get to, determined thieves may still try. That’s because one stolen catalytic converter from these luxury vehicles is worth more than $3,000.


Auto Theft Prevention Tips:

  • Park smart. Park in well-lit areas and well-trafficked to help deter theft and car break-ins. When at home, parking inside a garage or locked, gated area will also help protect your vehicle.
  • Lock all doors and windows. Never leave your doors unlocked, windows rolled down or even cracked open. Make it a habit to double-check that all windows are rolled up, and your car door is locked.
  • Never leave keys in your vehicle or your car running unattended. This may seem like common sense, but it’s a surprisingly common way thieves steal cars. Even if you’re in your driveway, never leave your keys in the car and your car running unattended. This is the easiest way for a thief to jump in and drive away in the blink of an eye.
  • Do not leave spare keys in or near your vehicle. While you may think a thief wouldn’t find it, they know the common areas where people tend to hide spare keys. Instead, keep your keys on your person. Give a spare key to someone you trust in case of an emergency, or leave the spare at home.
  • Don’t leave valuables in the car. Luggage, purses, valuable items, and even change are enough to entice a thief to attempt to break into your car. Whenever possible, bring all items of value inside with you. If not possible, store it away in the trunk and hidden from sight.
  • Install anti-theft devices for your car. Installing a car alarm system is one of the best ways to deter theft. Other options include steering wheel and pedal locks and vehicle immobilizers. A GPS tracking device will also help recover your vehicle if it’s stolen. 


What to Do if Your Car Has Been Stolen

If you’ve been victim of car theft, make sure to file a vehicle theft report with the police.

Keep a copy of your license plate number and VIN written down and stored safely. A copy of your car registration will have this info. You’ll need this information to file a report if your car is stolen.

After you’ve contacted police, you should call your insurance provider as soon as possible to start the claims process.


Does Car Insurance Cover Theft?

Auto insurance can cover vehicle theft if you have comprehensive coverage. This coverage will cover the cost of the vehicle to the agreed-upon value. In the general marketplace, this is usually the current value with depreciation.

In the luxury auto market, this is usually the agreed value at the time of purchase with no depreciation. Vault provides this level of coverage to our customers.

Your insurance may also provide reimbursement for a rental car and coverage for damages if your stolen vehicle is recovered.

It also pays to take preventative measures. Car theft prevention devices, such as a car alarm, usually qualify for discounts or credits toward your auto policy.

Check with your insurance provider or broker for a full explanation of the benefits of your insurance policy.


Protect Your Vehicle from Theft

At Vault, we know risk education and mitigation are key to reducing the severity of loss. Protecting your assets is more than insuring them, it’s looking at the bigger picture to reduce all possible risks. We provide all-encompassing risk management services to help proactively safeguard the life you’ve built – that’s the Vault difference.


Request a quote and experience the Vault difference.


Related Products: Auto Insurance


Featured Resource:
Auto Theft Prevention

Auto theft and break-ins are increasing. Here are ways to prevent your vehicle from being targeted.


While Vault believes the information provided in this article to be accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information provided. Vault is not responsible for, and does not adopt, endorse or approve any third-party webpages, or their content, that may be hyperlinked from this page. Nothing on this page alters any terms or conditions of an insurance policy and is not intended to be taken as legal, medical, or other professional advice. 



Vault is comprised of passionate, dedicated, and highly skilled team members committed to delivering exceptional service at every touchpoint. From our Concierge team as your first point of contact to our Business Development Managers out in the field working with our partners, we are committed to making insurance a simple and personable experience.