If you’ve gotten a new recall notice about a dangerous airbag, you are not alone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is warning that 51 million vehicles had some recall in 2015. That follows the record 60 million the year before.
Most of these recalls involve Takata equipped airbags. As of April 2016, ten deaths in the U.S. have been attributed to the defective airbag inflator that can send dangerous shards of metal at drivers and passengers. Of the 24 million U.S. vehicles recalled for the problem, only 7 million have had the inflators replaced. Many auto makers, including Honda, are redoubling their efforts to notify consumers about the recall, dating back to 2013.
Be prepared that when you take your car or truck in to fix the problem, it could take weeks or even months until the parts arrive. Many automotive dealers are offering temporary rentals or loaner vehicles until the work is complete. If you get that offer, here are some insurance issues you need to know.
- Your personal auto insurance policy should transfer to that temporary vehicle, but with the same deductibles and limits contained in that policy. If you have an older car or truck without coverage for damage from a collision or hail, flood, etc. (comprehensive and collision), the temporary car you are using does not have that coverage either. Unless you add that it, you will be paying out of pocket to replace or fix the loaner if you cause a crash. You might also want to make sure you have uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage.
- Most insurance companies don’t pay for “loss of use” for a rental vehicle. If you damage the car or are involved in an accident, you can be charged for the time it takes to repair and have it available for rent again. Rental companies will usually charge you the daily rate they lost while that car or truck is getting repaired, plus administrative fees. That’s why you want to negotiate with the dealer for loss of use coverage; otherwise, you may want to purchase it through the agency providing the vehicle.
- You should not drive your recalled vehicle while you have a “loaner” vehicle. Doing so could void the need for that temporary vehicle, and crash with either vehicle may not be covered.
- To speed up any claims and avoid miscommunication, contact your insurance company to let them know you are using a temporary vehicle and provide the year, make, model and vehicle identification number.
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