How to Prevent Honda Insight Catalytic Converter Theft

You’re right to be concerned about catalytic converter theft from the Honda Insight. Read our guide to learn how to protect your hybrid.
Written by Jessica Gibson
Reviewed by Christelle Agustin
The Honda Insight is one of the most targeted cars for catalytic converter theft, but you can reduce your risk by parking your hybrid in a secure location, painting the catalytic converter, or installing a protective device.
Catalytic converter theft is on the rise, with hybrid vehicles being frequently targeted. If you’ve had your catalytic converter stolen in the past or you’re just looking to prevent it from happening to your Insight, we’re here to help. Read through our guide for ways to protect your investment, what to do if yours does get stolen, and what kind of car insurance covers catalytic converter theft.
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Is it easy to steal the catalytic converter from a Honda Insight? 

Simply put, yes. All it takes is the thief sliding under the bottom of the car and using power tools to cut away the catalytic converter from the surrounding pipes. It takes most thieves less than two minutes, with some having accomplished the theft in just 30 seconds!

Top Honda Insight years that catalytic converter thieves target

The truth is, thieves don’t target specific Insight years more than other ones. Any Honda Insight produced since 1999 is at high risk for catalytic converter theft.
Unfortunately, your hybrid Honda is at even more risk for theft because it’s a hybrid. Hybrid catalytic converters use more precious metals, so they’re worth more on the black market. Any hybrid vehicle is a top target for catalytic converter thieves.

Why are Honda Insight catalytic converters stolen?

Thieves target catalytic converters because they contain precious metals like rhodium, palladium, and platinum. If you were to slice a catalytic converter in half, you’d see a fine honeycomb of these metals. They filter pollution from your car’s exhaust and help your vehicle run more efficiently.
Unfortunately, as the value of these metals increases, so does the chance of your catalytic converter getting stolen. Here’s how much each of the precious metals in your Honda Insight’s catalytic converter is worth as of December 2022:
  • Platinum: $1,027 per ounce 
  • Palladium: $1,950 per ounce 
  • Rhodium: $12,700 per ounce 
While there’s less than one ounce of each of these precious metals in your Insight’s catalytic converter, you can see how these high values make it worthwhile for thieves. 

Honda catalytic converter replacement cost

Now for the bad news. If your Insight’s catalytic converter does get stolen, Repair Pal estimates that it will cost you between $2,191 and $2,225 to replace. This doesn’t take into account taxes and fees.
If you’re hoping to save on replacement costs, choose an aftermarket part. It won’t save you a huge chunk of money since all catalytic converters are expensive, but every little bit helps!

How to prevent catalytic converter theft from a Honda Insight

As the value of the precious metals in a catalytic converter increases, the likelihood of theft rises too. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of catalytic converter theft. Here are some simple but effective strategies:

Park in a secure area

Try to avoid parking your Honda Insight on the street. Instead, park in a garage. If you can’t do that, park in a well-lit and populated area—street lamps, motion sensor lights, and being around other cars are all really helpful. Best of all, you’ll want to park somewhere with video surveillance. If thieves suspect they’ll be spotted or recorded, they’re less likely to target your car.
MORE: How to find city parking

Purchase a catalytic converter shield

A catalytic converter shield is just like it sounds—it’s a shield that covers your entire catalytic converter. Since they’re designed to fit your specific model, a shield costs more than a generic catalytic converter lock or cage. 
Locks or cages connect heavy-duty wiring to the car’s frame or engine block. While they don’t completely cover the catalytic converter, they do slow down thieves who have to cut through the lock or cage to get to the cat.
Most catalytic converter shields, locks, or cages come with security bolts and hand tools so that you can install them yourself. Not mechanically minded? Don’t worry—many muffler shops will install your shield or lock in just a few hours.
Don’t forget to let your insurance provider know that you’ve installed an
anti-theft device
. They might offer a discount on your comprehensive coverage!

Put your VIN on the catalytic converter

If you make it harder for thieves to sell the catalytic converter on the market, they’ll be less likely to steal it. One way you can do this is to get your vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN) etched onto the cat itself. Mechanics do this for a small charge, or law enforcement might hold free etching events.
Another way to deter thefts is to paint the entire catalytic converter with brightly colored, high-temperature spray paint. Thieves can’t try to sell the converter until they remove all of the paint, so they may avoid your cat and move on.

Invest in comprehensive insurance

We know—insurance won’t prevent catalytic converter theft. But a good insurance policy protects your investment if someone does manage to steal your Insight’s catalytic converter.
You need
comprehensive insurance
if you want to submit a claim and get the insurance provider to pay for the catalytic converter replacement cost. Many insurers will charge more for hybrids or vehicles commonly targeted by thieves. However, if you shop around for
car insurance
or switch to a low-deductible plan, you can minimize your Honda Insight expenses.

What to do if your Honda Insight’s catalytic converter is stolen

Catalytic converter theft is theft, so contact the authorities immediately. The police will take a statement and can pull security footage if security cameras monitored your car. Once you file your report, make a note of the report number.
Contact your insurance company next and give them the police report number. Submit a claim for the catalytic converter theft if you’ve got comprehensive insurance. You’ll have to pay the deductible, but since it costs thousands of dollars to replace the cat, you’ll save money.
Talk over the details with your insurance company. You might need to get a quote from a mechanic, schedule a repair appointment, and pay your policy’s deductible before the insurance provider covers the cost.
If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you can’t add it after the fact and get coverage for the theft. You will have to replace the catalytic converter and pay for it out of pocket. Since catalytic converter theft is so widespread, shop around to find a mechanic that gives you the best quote.

Can you drive a Honda Insight without a catalytic converter?

You can still drive your Insight without the converter, but the real question is, should you? 
The catalytic converter’s essential job is to reduce pollution that’s being emitted into the atmosphere. If you drive your Insight without the catalytic converter, it probably won’t be able to pass emissions testing (which might be required in your state). You’ll also notice increased road noise and rough acceleration when you drive.
The best plan is to drive your Honda Insight to the mechanic as soon as possible, where they can install a replacement catalytic converter.
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