By Lorie Ham
According to an NBC News article in July of 2021, as prices of precious metals spiked,thefts of catalytic converters skyrocketed from an average of 108 per month in 2018 to 2,347 in December 2020.
Recently, one of Mennonite Insurance’s customers experienced such a theft. We will call him John for the sake of this article. John woke up one morning to go to work and heard a roar when he started his car. He soon realized the cause was that his catalytic converter had been stolen. Though he didn’t hear anything during the night, he knew it had to have been stolen then. John’s car had been parked on the street, and based on security camera videos it appeared that they had jacked up one side and cut out the converter in just about two minutes time.
Since he hasn’t yet heard back from the claims department, John doesn’t know how much his out of pocket cost will be to replace it, but he does know how much the overall cost was. “It was $674, but my mechanic said it can vary greatly from one vehicle to another. I’ve heard of repairs costing over $2,000.”
Thankfully, John has comprehensive coverage instead of just liability coverage. “If you just have auto liability coverage, you are out the several thousand dollars to replace the converter,” says Jerry Linscheid, Chief Executive Officer with Mennonite Aid Plan/Mennonite Insurance Services.
“In auto insurance, we often think of the property and liability coverages independently,” continues Jerry. “The state requires minimum liability coverage. The liability coverage is the amount the insurance company would pay to someone who you injure or whose property you damage.”
However, the property coverage is the amount the insurance company would pay to you to fix your car. The state does not require that you carry property coverage, but if you have a loan, your lender will require it. “Property coverage has two components: collision (when you run into another car) and comprehensive (other than collision, like theft, hail, etc.) You will almost always have a deductible for comprehensive and collision coverages.”
Hopefully, you will never experience this kind of theft, but if you do, John says that it is important to contact [your insurance claims department] before you get it repaired. “And be sure to take photos to document the damage.”
The City of Garden Grove, one of many cities that have recently noticed a rise in the theft of catalytic converters, shares tips on their website of things you can do to help prevent such a theft, such as parking in a well-lit area, parking in a garage where possible, and attaching a security device to the converter.
If you are unsure of what your auto coverage is, we highly recommend finding out so you aren’t caught unprepared if something like this happens to you. Mennonite Insurance writes auto insurance and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
While Mennonite Insurance is the actual company (pays the claims) for homeowners coverage, they are just the agent for auto insurance. “We would be able to write for companies like Personal Express, Safeco, Travelers, and others,” shares Jerry.
You can contact Mennonite Insurance by calling 559-638-2327. If you have experienced this kind of theft, we would like to hear about your experiences and if there is any wisdom you can share from the experience. Feel free to share on our Facebook page.