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Prius Catalytic Converter Theft: Why Does It Happen?  

  • Auto Insurance
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 6 minutes

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According to National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter thefts increased nationwide during the pandemic by more than 325% in just one year. And this created quite a headache for Toyota Prius owners! Unfortunately, the top 10 cars targeted for catalytic converter theft include the 2009 Toyota Prius. But why does Prius catalytic converter theft happen, and that too, more than other cars 

It is because the catalytic converter of the Toyota Prius contains platinum, rhodium, palladium, and other precious metals with rising prices. Because of recent declines in mining output and the pandemic, prices for precious metals have risen. As a result, for Toyota Prius cars manufactured between 2004 and 2009, the theft claim frequency in 2020 was 58.1 claims per 1,000 insured vehicles, up from 1.4 claims in 2016. 

So, what should you do for a Prius catalytic converter theft? How can you prevent a Toyota Prius catalytic converter theft? Continue reading to know more! 

Why is your Prius a prime target for catalytic converter theft? 

Toyota Prius catalytic converter theft happens more since it is a hybrid car and therefore has valuable metals in its catalytic converter. Since hybrid cars’ combustion engines only run part of the time, their catalytic converters require more precious metals to function properly. As a result, they don’t become as hot as those found in conventional cars. 

And here comes the most exciting part! Due to the higher quantity of precious metals used in hybrid vehicles, a catalytic converter stolen from one can fetch up to $1,400. At the same time, a stolen standard catalytic converter gets around $300. 

Due to decreased mining output in recent years, a trend worsened by the pandemic, metal prices have skyrocketed. In addition, the most modern catalytic converters need more pricey metals due to the recently tightened pollution rules. So, Toyota Prius owners better park their cars in a closed garage to avoid theft!  

Find a auto insurance policy that covers Prius catalytic converter theft

What year of Prius is targeted for catalytic converter theft? 

An increase in the price of precious metals has made Toyota Prius vehicles more than ten years old a target for catalytic converter thieves. As a result, the auto theft claims of Toyota Prius cars manufactured from 2004 to 2009 surged by more than 40 times between 2016 and 2020, according to HLDI analysts.  

Newer Toyota Prius cars manufactured from 2010 to 2015 recorded a marginal increase in claim frequency and overall theft losses. Only 1.3 claims per 1,000 insured vehicles were made for 2010–2015 models in 2020, increasing from 0.8 in 2016. So, Toyota Prius catalytic converter theft happens more for models manufactured between 2004 and 2009. 

Tip: Do you want to know why people steal catalytic converters? Here’s more info 

How do you prevent the theft of a catalytic converter in a Prius? 

So, you should be very careful if you own a Toyota Prius. Here are some tips that will help in Prius catalytic converter theft prevention. 

  • Always park in a closed garage or a secured parking area.  
  • If you’re parking a fleet truck at a business overnight, think about locking in a protected area that is well-lit, locked, and alarm-equipped. 
  • Try installing a bright motion sensor light to discourage thieves. These lights are crucial if you’re parking outside or in a driveway. Even though lights could not offer total security, they might make some thieves hesitate and decide to leave the area and your car alone. 
  • Install an anti-theft device in your car. 
  • Always lock your car and set the alarm when you get out of it.  

Is my Prius at risk for catalytic converter theft? 


It depends on the model of Toyota Prius you own. The catalytic converter thieves primarily target Prius cars manufactured from 2004 to 2009. So, the risk of Prius catalytic converter theft is more if you own a model manufactured in this period. 

The catalytic converter consists of precious metals, as Toyota Prius is a hybrid car. So, the car is one of the most targeted cars for catalytic converter theft.  

How much is a Prius catalytic converter worth? 

Catalytic converters for hybrid vehicles contain more precious metals than those for gasoline-only vehicles. According to the HLDI, a 2007 Prius converter sells for around $1,022. However, the stolen catalytic converters from hybrid vehicles can get up to $1,400.  

Can a Prius run without a catalytic converter?  

Yes. Although it is possible to drive a Prius without a catalytic converter, it is not a recommended long-term option. The performance of your car will be low, and it will fail the emission test.  

Tip: Do you want to know whether you can drive a car without a catalytic converter? Learn more about that! 

How much is a Toyota Prius catalytic converter worth in scrap? 

When sold as scrap, Toyota catalytic converters can get between $75 and $700. Based on the manufacturer and model of your car, a catalytic converter’s price can change. The Toyota Prius has some of the most expensive catalytic converters. 

Does insurance cover if someone steals your Prius catalytic converter? 

Yes, at times, auto insurance does cover catalytic converter thefts. The optional comprehensive coverage offered by your insurance policy provides coverage when your catalytic converter gets stolen. The deductible, however, will be covered by the owner. Therefore, drivers may decide not to file a claim if their deductible is $1,000 and the cost of repairing the damage is $1,000 or possibly a few hundred dollars more.  

Are you looking for an affordable auto insurance policy that will provide coverage if your catalytic converter gets stolen? Don’t worry; Way.com can help you with that! Visit our website or use our app to find the best insurers in your location. You can get quotes from multiple insurers, know their coverages and discounts, and compare and buy the ideal one for your need!  

What should I do after having a catalytic converter stolen? 

So, are you a car owner whose Prius just got stolen? You must follow the following steps after a Prius catalytic converter theft. 

  • Get in touch with the police and file a report.  
  • Contact your insurance provider; depending on your coverage, it may pay all or part of the cost to replace your catalytic converter. 
  • Then drive your car to a repair shop.  

Read why driving without replacing one or a bad catalytic converter isn’t good for your car! 

Save up to $971 while buying a Toyota Prius car insurance policy

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