AA insurance services have seen the number of claims for catalytic converter thefts increase tenfold from the beginning of the year.
In January, eight vehicles had their catalytic converters stolen whereas in just last month (October) 79 were stolen from unsuspecting car owners*.
A few drivers have had their catalytic converter stolen twice, meaning they have had to make two separate insurance claims.
Although catalytic converter thefts represent a very small proportion of all insurance claims made, the number of claims has steadily increased since January 2018.
As there is often no third party to claim against, drivers claiming against their insurance policy would also lose their No Claims Discount, unless otherwise protected.
Catalytic converters contain precious metals such as palladium, rhodium and platinum and can either be sent for scrap or sold privately via online auction sites.
As the converter is either unscrewed or sawn off the car, other damage can occur, such as cutting through electrical wires. This means repair bills can be around £2,000 to £3,000.
Police forces across the UK have recognised the increase in crime too and have rolled out targeted communications to help protect drivers**.
Janet Connor, managing director for AA insurance services says; “A tenfold increase in claims for catalytic converters due to theft is a shocking revelation.
“Criminals are being bold and brash by stealing converters in broad daylight, as they believe passers-by won’t question someone tinkering underneath a car.
“Where possible, drivers should park in a garage or in a well-lit area. Manufacturers have also developed anti-theft devices which can be attached to the fixings and give the converter a unique serial number. Concerned drivers should contact their dealer for further information.
“Scrap dealers and online auction sites have a role to play too, by making appropriate checks to ensure the parts being sold or scrapped have not been illegally gained.”
* Data provided by AA Insurance Services