Car Thieves Are After an Increasingly Valuable Part of Your Car

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Catalytic converters are disappearing from cars at an alarming rate. Theft of the exhaust device rose 400% in the past year. The part is being targeted because of the valuable metals inside it. Catalytic converters contain specific metals that have spiked in value in recent years.
On top of that, car theft is on the rise in general. Last year the national rate increased by 10%. The spike is a good reminder of the need to protect yourself from thieves and to make sure your car insurance covers you from theft and vandalism.
A catalytic converter seen on the underside of a car
Car thieves are stealing catalytic converters at a dramatically increased rate | Twenty20

The appeal of catalytic converters to thieves

Things have changed in the car theft business. Gone are the days romanticized by Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie, when a shivvy and a knack for hotwiring were necessary tools of the trade.
General car theft hasn’t disappeared, but the main targets are more specific. Thieves are after precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium, all of which can be found in your catalytic converter. All these metals have spiked in the last few years, reaching four to five figures per ounce, according to CBS News.
A catalytic converter is part of your exhaust system—the part that converts your fumes into safer, greener gases. Because the part sits unguarded in the undercarriage of your car, it’s relatively easy to nab. A couple minutes with a sawzall blade, and the crooks have what they came for.

How to protect your car from thieves

While no one can guarantee the safety of your car, there are a few simple things you can do to deter thieves from targeting you.
First off, make sure you take advantage of the preventative tools already at your disposal. Always lock your doors after parking your car, take any valuables along with you, and never leave your keys in your car.
For further protection, you can invest in hardware that will leave you less vulnerable. Audible alarms, steering locks, and theft deterrent decals are just a few options that will make thieves think twice before targeting your vehicle. To protect your catalytic converter, NPR says some mechanics will reinforce it with iron bars, or rebar.
Other, more high-tech safeguards are also available. Smart keys, wireless ignition authentication, and GPS tracking systems will help you keep thieves away or retrieve your car if someone manages to take off with it.

Insurance coverage for car theft

No matter how much you do to prevent having your car stolen, nothing can guarantee to stop it from happening. To make sure you’re covered for the worst case scenario, you’ll want to invest in comprehensive insurance.
Amongst other things, comprehensive insurance covers vandalism and theft of your vehicle, including any part theft, such as your catalytic converter. But make sure to read the fine print: mistakes like leaving your keys in the car or leaving the car unlocked could leave you uncovered.
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