The number of catalytic converters stolen in the U.S. this past year is estimated to be as many as 153,000, according to an estimate from Carfax. Earlier projections peg the number of stolen catalytic converters at around 77,000.

"Catalytic converters are valuable because of the precious metals in them, which fetch high prices on the black market," Rich Randazzo, president of Brownyard Claims Management, Inc., told PropertyCasualty360.com. "Additionally, the part is quickly and easily stolen, however, based on their placement it is not easily obvious when they are taken."

For drivers with comprehensive auto insurance policies, a theft of this nature could be covered under clauses of the policy that cover non-accident related damages. The average cost to replace a catalytic converter ranges from $1,000-$3,000.

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Steve Hallo

Steve Hallo is managing editor of PropertyCasualty360.com. He can be reached at [email protected]