COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Insurance is warning Ohioans about a recent rash of catalytic converter thefts in Columbus and is encouraging them to take steps to protect themselves from becoming victims. According to reports, thieves have been stealing catalytic converters and then selling them for scrap metal.
“Many times, thieves can steal these converters in less than a minute,” said the Ohio Department of Insurance. “They also do a lot of damage to the car when they do steal it. Taking a few precautionary measures may deter thieves from attempting to steal your catalytic converter.”
The Ohio Department of Insurance offers these tips to protect your vehicle:
- Always park in well-lit or protected public parking lots, and to park your car in your home garage if possible.
- Ask your mechanic to weld the heads on the catalytic converter bolts or perhaps shear them off.
- Install a cage around the converter. This product can be installed by a mechanic or at home with an included specialized tool and many are backed by a money-back guarantee.
- Take part in future catalytic etching events offered by the Department and National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
Officials have noted that catalytic converter theft is on the rise in many parts of the country, including Ohio. The converters contain precious metals such as palladium, platinum and rhodium. With these metals trading at record levels, converters have become a hot item for thieves, and can be sold for up to $200 per converter.
Replacing a catalytic converter is expensive. The cost can range from $200-$900 but the costs don’t end there. Repairing a damaged exhaust system, which is often necessary following a converter theft, can run over $2,000. By preventing catalytic converter theft, Ohioans will not only save themselves money, but also others in the form of lower insurance premiums.
Ohioans who wish to report insurance fraud or agent misconduct should call the Department’s Fraud hotline, 1-800-686-1527. Information about fraud and misconduct can be found on the Department’s web site, www.insurance.ohio.gov.