State Farm said Thursday that California is leading the nation in the number of catalytic converters stolen in tandem with auto-insurance claims skyrocketing nationwide.
Last year, the insurance company paid $62.6 million for 32,265 catalytic converter theft claims nationally, a 1,173 percent increase from 2019. During the pandemic, local authorities have warned of skyrocketing auto part thefts.
Data from State Farm ranks California as the first in the county for both auto parts thefts and catalytic converter thefts. In 2019, State Farm says it paid $2.5 million for 1,104 catalytic converter theft claims in California.
There were a total of 4,507 catalytic converter theft claims in 2020, costing the insurance company over $10.8 million. In just a year, the number of claims increased to 9,057, which the insurance company paid over $23 million.
Catalytic converters are emissions control devices located underneath a vehicle and restrict carbon monoxide from coming out of the vehicle’s tailpipe that contains three valuable metals: platinum, rhodium, and pallidum.
Last month, Sen. Brian W. Jones introduced a measure intended to crack down on the rise of catalytic converter thefts in California.
According to a report by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair, stolen catalytic converters can bring the thief up to $250, yet cost the motorist up to $4,000 to replace.
Senate Bill 919, which is sponsored by the Chula Vista Police Department, would focus on the crime of catalytic converter theft in three ways:
- New and used motor vehicle dealers would be required to permanently mark the Vehicle Identification Number on the catalytic converter of any vehicle before they sell it;
- Metal recyclers would only be allowed to buy catalytic converters that have a clearly visible and untampered VIN on it, and they would have to keep detailed records of who sold them each specific catalytic converter and make those records accessible to law enforcement; and
- The bill will require sales documentation and a VIN on the catalytic converters as well as increasing fines, intended to discourage theft.
State Farm suggests parking in a garage or a well-lit area. If a vehicle must be parked in a driveway, consider installing motion sensor security lights.