AUSTIN (KXAN) — Several catalytic converters were stolen from a car repair shop in Travis County, according to the sheriff’s office.
The agency received the report last week from the Service King in the Round Rock area, and could not provide further information in order to protect the integrity of the investigation.
“There’s been something like a 300% to 400% increase in insurance claims taken out for catalytic converter theft,” said Rich Johnson, director of communications for the Insurance Council of Texas.
Law enforcement across the country have raised the alarm about a spike in catalytic converter thefts. The act prompted a law change in Texas issuing harsher penalties for people involved in such crimes.
When it comes to the part getting stolen while your car is at the shop, “it is going to be on you,” Johnson said.
“It’s just like parking at a garage downtown or a lot, there are signs everywhere saying they’re not responsible for any theft or damage that may be done.”
One KXAN viewer wrote in saying her car was one of the ones hit at the recent Service King theft. She shared an authorization agreement she signed at the businesses stating “I acknowledge that under certain circumstances, including fire, theft, severe weather, and other causes beyond the repair shop’s control, the repair shop shall not be responsible for damage to the vehicle while it is on the repair shop’s or its subcontractor’s premises.”
Johnson said the best thing to do to protect yourself in this situation is to have comprehensive car insurance.
“If there’s something stolen or your car gets broken into, if it’s your catalytic converter that’s stolen, that’s going to be covered under your comprehensive coverage,” he said.
If you find yourself in a situation where your catalytic converter was stolen while at a repair shop, Johnson recommends working with the repair shop’s insurance company.
“Say ‘hey, who’s your insurance company? Let me go file a claim with them,” he said. “Go ahead and file a claim with your insurance company, they should work on your behalf and approach the auto body shop or the auto body shop’s insurance company to see if there’s some kind of deal that can be worked out.”