Catalytic converter thefts continue to rise exponentially

Catalytic converter thefts continue to rise exponentially

August 9, 20223 min read

You can protect non-profit, school and church vehicles against this costly threat

WHAT: Catalytic converter thefts continue to increase nationwide. In addition to private passenger vehicles, thieves are also targeting cars, buses and other vehicles used by non-profits, schools, houses of worship and other organizations. Thefts result in costly damage, added time and resources to repair, and disruption of customer and member services.

WHO: Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer)1, an insurer of non-profits, schools and houses of worship, has covered nearly $3 million in catalytic converter thefts in the last three and a half years. The number of claims increased from 52 in 2018 to 1,095 in 2021, a 2,000% increase. Vigilance and preparedness are key to protecting against theft. To safeguard vehicles and fleets, Church Mutual® offers the following tips for catalytic converter security.

  • Park defensively: Keep vehicles locked and parked in a secure, well-lit area when not in use. If a garage is available, park the vehicle inside. Park close to building entrances where someone may be able to spot suspicious activity. Parking close to walls or fences can also impede access to the vehicle from underneath.

  • Keep an eye on things: Use security surveillance cameras in the area where vehicles are parked. Cameras alone can serve as a visual deterrent, but they also provide valuable footage should a catalytic converter be stolen. If you don’t use a vehicle daily, make it a point to check on it regularly.

  • Equip vehicles with added protection: Determine whether having a catalytic converter welded in place and/or placing a protective cover around it is necessary. Aftermarket products such as catalytic converter-specific locks, clamps, cages and alarms are commercially available.

  • Use an existing vehicle alarm to alert of potential theft: Adjust or calibrate the sensitivity of your vehicle’s alarm, if applicable, so vibration will activate the alarm.

  • Drive down the resale value: Engrave the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the catalytic converter and/or spray it with high temperature fluorescent paint. This deters theft since a marked part is less attractive to scrap metal dealers.

REMEMBER: Take extra precautions with taller vehicles, such as SUVs, trucks and buses. They are often targeted because of easier access to the catalytic converter. Using a wrench or saw, a thief can steal a catalytic converter in just a few minutes.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: For additional safety resources, visit

About Church Mutual

Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I., founded in 1897, offers specialized insurance for religious organizations of all denominations, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, senior living facilities, secular and non-secular camps and conference centers, and nonprofit and human services organizations throughout the United States. Church Mutual markets most lines of commercial property and liability insurance, including multi-peril, workers' compensation, and commercial auto insurance. In addition to insurance, Church Mutual provides a spectrum of value-added solutions that benefit its customers. Church Mutual holds the following honors:

• A.M. Best Company "A" (excellent) rating

• Wisconsin 75 Top Private Company by Deloitte US, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021

• Wisconsin 75 Distinguished Performer: Innovation by Deloitte US 2019

• 2021 Gallup Culture Transformation Award recipient

• 2020 Women and Diversity Award recipient from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association

• Futuremakers Partner by Wisconsin Technical College System

• Celent Model Insurer for innovation and emerging technologies

• Award in Innovation for entrepreneurialism and innovation by National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

• 2018-2019 Employer of the Year by Northcentral Technical College

1Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.

Connect with:
  • Eric Spacek, J.D.
    Eric Spacek, J.D. Assistant Vice President - Risk Control

    Eric Offers Insight into Risk Management and Crisis Response Protocols for Houses of Worship and Other Facilities.

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