July, 2023 | Boizelle Insurance Partnership

How to Prevent Your Catalytic Converter from Being Stolen

What is a Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter is a key component of your car’s exhaust system. Its job is to help reduce harmful emissions by cutting down on the amount of pollutants that exit the tailpipe.

How Does a Catalytic Converter Work?

Internal combustion engines generate power by burning fuel, like gasoline or diesel. When this fuel is burned, it produces exhaust gasses.

The majority of this exhaust gas contains nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water vapor – emissions which are mostly harmless. However, because your car is unable to burn 100% of the fuel that enters the engine, it also produces some harmful pollutants: namely carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide. When these types of emissions enter the atmosphere, they can produce smog and acid rain.

We’ll spare you the full chemistry lesson, but a catalytic converter uses a “catalyst” to “convert” those harmful emissions into the less-harmful byproducts of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water vapor.

To accomplish this, the converter uses a ceramic honeycomb-type structure to heat the exhaust gas. The ceramic is coated with several types of precious metals (platinum, rhodium and palladium), which serve as the catalyst. When your car’s exhaust gas interacts with these metals, they create chemical reactions that reduce the amount of harmful pollutants exiting the tailpipe.

Why Do People Steal Catalytic Converters?

There are two reasons why catalytic converters are being targeted for theft.

  • Scrap metal for cash: The precious metals used as catalysts are valuable… and prices are on the rise. Currently, rhodium prices are around $12,000 an ounce. While the price of these metals frequently fluctuate, a typical catalytic converter can be scrapped for between $50 to $250.
  • Resale for parts: Stolen catalytic converters can be sold to individuals or less-than-honest repair shops looking to save money over buying a new replacement part.

So between metals recycling and black market auto part sales, there’s money to be made from stealing catalytic converters.

How Do I Know if My Catalytic Converter Has Been Stolen?

You can’t tell if your catalytic converter has been stolen by simply looking at your car. But you’ll know as soon as you start the engine.

To steal a catalytic converter, a thief will need to crawl under your vehicle, cut both sides of the converter and remove it from the exhaust system. That means your car will essentially be running without a muffler, making the engine extremely loud.

What Should I Do if My Catalytic Converter Has Been Stolen?

If your catalytic converter has been stolen, it’s a good idea to call the local authorities and file a police report. Then, you should arrange to get your vehicle towed to a nearby repair shop.

Can I Drive My Vehicle if My Catalytic Converter Has Been Stolen?

Since your catalytic converter is only part of the exhaust system, your car can technically run without it. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to just drive off.

When the catalytic converter has been cut out, exhaust gasses will be released underneath your vehicle instead of behind it. Not only will this make your vehicle be loud, but you also run the risk of those harmful exhaust gasses entering the cabin.

And here’s one more thing to consider. If a thief has just been sawing away at the underside of your car, there’s a possibility other important components could have been damaged, too.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Catalytic Converter?

According to CARFAX, the average cost for a new catalytic converter ranges between $2,000 to $3,000. But for luxury vehicles and sports cars, it could cost even more.

Do I Have to Replace My Catalytic Converter?

Given the high replacement cost, you may be wondering if you need to replace the catalytic converter. Unfortunately for your wallet, the answer is yes.

Because your catalytic converter is designed to remove harmful pollutants, it’s actually federally illegal to remove it from your exhaust system. Additionally, a missing “cat” can trigger a check engine light, impact the performance of your vehicle and result in some foul exhaust smells.

Does Car Insurance Cover Catalytic Converter Theft?

If your catalytic converter has been stolen, you may not have to foot the bill alone. That’s because the optional comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy can pay for damages that occur outside of a car accident, such as vandalism, fire or theft. At Erie Insurance, this coverage includes catalytic converter theft.

That means if you choose to file an insurance claim, all you’ll have to pay is your deductible (the amount of money you pay toward repairing your car before insurance kicks in). If your catalytic converter is stolen, your local insurance agent can help you review your coverage and talk you through your options before you file a claim.

Are Some Cars at Higher Risk for Catalytic Converter Theft?

Catalytic converter theft is an opportunistic crime by nature. The easier it is for the thief to get away, the more likely they are to target your vehicle. This often puts high-riding vehicles like trucks and SUVs at greater risk because they don’t have to be jacked up for the catalytic converter to be removed.

How Can I Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft?

With the recent rise in catalytic converter thefts, some companies have started to make protective cages that can be installed over your exhaust system. Since this is mostly a crime of convenience, a cage will make your car less of an easy target. You can also get your VIN number etched on your catalytic converter.

Beyond that, your best chance at protecting against catalytic converter theft is to follow the same precautions that protect your car from vandals – like installing an alarm or parking in a safe, well-lit area.

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Warm weather means it’s time to take the family out on the water – including your furry, four-legged family members. Whether your boat passengers have two legs or four, you’ll want to do all that you can to keep everyone safe as you sail or motor across the waves. Keep in mind these top 10 water safety tips for dogs this boating season:

  1. Train your pets to swim. Some breeds love to swim and seem to know what to do instinctively. Others are not natural swimmers and need help to become acclimated to the water. If possible, acclimate and teach your dog to swim in a baby pool. A controlled environment is safer than a pond or lake. Fill the pool to no more than halfway up the length of the dog’s leg. Start with a three- to five-minute lesson. Repeat and increase the time gradually until the dog is more relaxed. Encourage your dog to have fun and play with floating toys. The next step would be to introduce your dog to deeper water. However, never force your pet to swim. If they repeatedly show signs of discomfort, it might be time to find a new activity for you two to enjoy.
  2. Take your dog for a tour of the boat so they’re more familiar with their surroundings before you head out.
  3. Secure a crate in a shady area on the boat to provide a place for your dog to take a break from the sun and to help them stay safe if you encounter rough waters. The crate can also serve as a sanctuary from a hot deck or steamy sand, which can be uncomfortable for a dog’s paws. Keep in mind that sunstroke can happen in minutes at any outdoor location, so be sure you provide a safe and cool place for your pet to rest.
  4. Plan your trip to allow for frequent pit stops for your pet. A designated location on the boat covered in puppy pads, fake grass or another familiar material could also be used for bathroom breaks. But some dogs prefer to only go on land, so be prepared to stop.
  5. Pack cleaning materials. Unfortunately, your pet can get seasick, too.
  6. Bring pet identification, including pictures of you with your pet. It’s also a good idea to bring a copy of vaccination records in case marinas, parks or other destinations request them.
  7. Always bring food/treats, lots of fresh water and extra collars and leashes when you travel with your dog. Never let them drink from the ocean, lake or puddles.
  8. Stock up on an FDA-compliant sunscreen made for pets. Dogs with light-colored coats or noses can be especially sensitive to the sun and their skin can burn easily.
  9. Bathe your pet after your day in the water. Hidden pests may linger in your dog’s fur.
  10. Buy a pet life jacket. For breeds that are not typically swimmers, a canine floatation device (CFD) can give your dog extra support if they fall in the water. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, it’s not a bad idea to put them in one anyway. But make sure you pick a good one. Keep reading for information on what to look for in a CFD.

Tips for Buying a Pet Life Jacket

Dogs are a lot safer when wearing a life jacket. Just like humans, they can get tired from swimming for long periods or be swept away by waves. Unfortunately, unlike human life jackets, canine flotation devices have no ratings or regulations. What’s worse, the market is flooded with low quality CFDs. Resources like the U.S. Boating Foundation or the Whole Dog Journal have helpful information for pet parents looking to purchase a life jacket. Check out the industry’s list of what to look for in a CFD:

  • Bright colors. Dark colors have low visibility and can raise your dog’s body temperature.
  • Snug fit. A properly fitting life jacket doesn’t restrict the dog’s movement. It should be tight enough that your dog can’t twist, step or swim out of it. Conversely, the vest shouldn’t be so tight that it chafes or is uncomfortable for Fido.
  • Handles on the back of the lifejacket make for a quick rescue when you need to lift your dog out of the water.
  • D-rings, so you can attach a leash.
  • Quality. Well-made products perform better.

Additional tips

On top of making sure your dog is properly suited up with a life vest and getting them acquainted with your boat, here are a few additional tips to help your furry friend have the best time.

  • Pack a pet first aid kit. This can include flea and tick medication, antibiotics for minor scrapes or cuts, Dramamine and any medications your pet is currently on.
  • Use dog-friendly boat ramps or steps to help your dog get in and out of the water easily.
  • Water intoxication is a potentially fatal condition caused by ingesting too much water. Keep an eye on your pet, especially when they are fetching toys, diving and playing in the water.
  • Travel with a friend and dive in only as a last resort. Jumping in to save a person or pet who has gone overboard increases the risk of drowning.
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Does My Homeowners Policy Cover Service Lines?

If you sustain damage to your underground service lines, because they are oftentimes deemed your responsibility, you very likely may be looking at a hefty bill when all is said and done.

A typical homeowners insurance policy does not come equipped with coverages for service lines. However, it possible to get coverage for these situations by adding an endorsement to your homeowners policy.

What Service Lines Might Run Under My Property?

Exterior underground service and utility lines include:

  • Water and sewer pipes
  • Cable, internet and electric wiring
  • Natural gas pipes
  • Propane pipes

How Service Lines Can Become Damaged

Service Lines can be damaged by tree roots, animals, electrical currents, a vehicle’s weight, corrosion, rust, and wear and tear.

Service lines are as fragile as they are essential. No matter what the cause of the damage is, repairing or replacing service lines is a costly endeavor. A homeowner may be required to dig up landscaping, driveways, or sidewalks in order to get access to the damaged service line. Add on top of that the cost of replacing trees, shrubs, and walkways and you’re looking at spending a very pretty penny.

If you have what’s referred to as an ErieSecure Homeowners Insurance policy, you have the option to purchase additional protection that will cover the cost of service line repairs as well as any excavation costs, outdoor property damage and even loss of use.

If you add this added protection, you will not regret it. Being able to maintain your peace of mind when disaster strikes is important. Your loved ones will thank you for being so diligent and prepared.

Service line coverage is available to you when you add either the Plus or Select bundle to your ErieSecure Home policy. This added layer of protection provides coverage for physical damage, caused by a covered service line failure, to exterior underground service lines i.e. cable, internet and electrical wiring. Additionally, natural gas, propane, and sewer pipes are covered.

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What Should I Know Before Opening My Pool?


As the weather gets warmer, it’s time to get your pool ready for the summer. Don’t be intimidated by the idea that pool maintenance is too much work for the average homeowner. If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the time in your pool with friends and family!

When Should I Open My Pool?

A most common practice is to open your pool during the first few weeks of May. As a benchmark, wait for the daytime temperatures to reach at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t wait too long, though, because if you do, you may find most unwelcomed guest in your pool: algae that will turn your pool water a gross, green color.

Steps for Opening Your Swimming Pool

Clean up. Any leaves or debris that has built up during the off-season should be removed. Be sure to spray down the deck area surrounding your pool to wash away any dirt. While you’re at it, clean up any outdoor furniture as well. Once this is completed, move on to the pool cover.

The pool cover is designed specially to protect your swimming pool from dirt, water, and debris. It’s likely that your pool cover has its own mini pool of standing water. In order to remove this water, use a pool cover pump. This electric pump allows you to quickly and easily remove the water from the surface of the pool cover.

When you finish your spring cleaning, be sure to take note of any damage to your deck, ladder, fence, or pool cover that may have occurred during the fall and winter. Be sure to make those repairs before opening your pool.

Remove the cover. Most pool covers will be secured to the pool deck using a series of straps. Remove all of the straps. Get a partner to assist you in removing the cover. With one person on each end of the pool, slowly being to pull back the cover. Once the pool cover is removed, clean it thoroughly.

You could use a pool cover cleaner to effectively clean your pool cover, but the truth is, a car wash soap will do the trick. Using the soap and a soft broom, scrub away all of the dirt and grime from the surface of the cover. Once the cover is clean, rinse it thoroughly and allow it to dry. To be safe, your winter cover should be stored indoors, away from insects and rodents.

If you notice that your cover begins to crack or tear during the removal process, discard of it and buy a new one for the next season.

Reconnect the filter system. With the cover removed, you can now begin to remove all of the winterizing plugs from your pool’s filtration system i.e. the lines to your pump, wall returns and surface skimmers. Make sure that you reconnect all the lines and hoses. Check your filter and clean or replace it. If any other parts appear to show signs of wear and tear, be sure to replace them.

Add more water. It’s actually a common occurrence for a pool to lose a few inches of water during the off-season. Make sure your swimming pool is full before you start adding chemicals. This will help you avoid the need to balance your water chemistry twice.

If you’re using a garden hose to fill your pool, use a hose filter to prevent water contamination. As you add water, visually inspect the swimming pool liner for any signs of damage.

Turn on the filter. The next step is to power up your pool filter to check for any leaks around the tubes, hoses, and other connections. Be sure to pay attention to areas like plugs, gauges, and your pump’s sight glass. Experts recommend letting your pool’s filter system run for at least 24 hours before you begin testing the water and adding chemicals. This will allow the water to fully circulate for a more accurate reading.

Clean the pool water. Once your filter pump is active, use a manual pool vacuum to remove dirt, sediment, and debris from the pool floor. If you have large debris in your pool such as leaves, consider using a skimmer plate attachment. This device allows you to use the pool’s skimmer basket to collect the debris. This also allows you to avoid clogging your plumbing or filtration system. A skimmer net can be used to remove floating debris from the surface of the water.

Test your pool water. Now that your pool water is clean, it’s time to focus on your water’s chemistry. First, take a water sample using a clean cup or bottle. In order to get an accurate reading, avoid testing surface water. This can be accomplished by holding the sample container upside down, inserting it about a foot below the water surface, and then flipping it over to fill the water container.

Add chemicals. Based on the results of your water test, add certain chemicals to bring the water chemistry levels to the desired range.

  • Alkalinity: Since alkalinity influences the pH balance of your pool, you’ll want to adjust these levels first. You can raise the alkalinity level by adding baking soda or lower it using muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate. The goal is to achieve an alkalinity level between 80-120 ppm (parts per million).
  • pH: Your water’s pH level refers to the degree of acid or base in the water. It’s measured on a scale from 0 to 14, with an ideal range of 7.2-7.6 ppm. The pH of pool water can be raised with soda ash and lowered with muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate.
  • Calcium: Calcium levels should be around 200-275 ppm for concrete or plaster pools and 175-225 ppm for fiberglass or vinyl pools. You can raise calcium levels with calcium chloride and lower them with a pool flocculant.
  • Chlorine: Chlorine is used to sanitize your pool water. The recommended amount of chlorine in pool water is about 3 ppm. You can raise the level by adding chlorine and lowering it using a chlorine neutralizer.
  1. Shock your pool. After balancing the water chemistry, add “pool shock” to kill any bacteria or algae that may have started growing over the winter months. The goal of shocking your pool is to raise the free chlorine level to about 10 times the combined chlorine level. So follow the instructions on your pool shock to ensure you’re adding the right amount of chemicals. Leave the filter running and by the next day, your pool should be ready for the first swim of the season. If you’ve had problems with algae in the past, you may also want to consider using an algaecide as part of your ongoing pool maintenance.
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