Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise nationwide, and California has the dubious honor of leading the country in the number of converters stolen, according to recent data.

State Farm released its claims data from 2021, which not only shows a 1,171% increase nationally in catalytic converter thefts since 2019 but also that auto parts theft in general has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to its claims data, State Farm says California ranks first in the country 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.
  • In 2020, State Farm says it paid over $10.8 million for 4,507 catalytic converter theft claims in California.
  • In 2021, State Farm says it paid over $23 million for 9,057 catalytic converter theft claims in California.

Catalytic converters, which are emissions control devices located underneath a vehicle, restrict carbon monoxide from coming out of a vehicle’s tailpipe.

The converter contains three valuable metals, including platinum, rhodium and palladium.

Depending on its size, thieves can sell catalytic converters for hundreds, even thousands of dollars, according to the insurance company.  

To reduce the risk of auto parts being stolen, State Farm suggest parking inside a garage or well-lit area. If a vehicle must be parked in a driveway, consider installing motion sensor security lights.