Cally Houck was a mom from California until her daughters were killed in a car accident in 2004. The issue with the Houck girls’ deaths was that the car they were driving was a rental from Enterprise that was under a recall. Before 2004, rental car companies were not obligated by law to do anything about recalls or even alert customers that they were driving a recalled car that had not been repaired. The Houck accident was proven in court to be the result of not having the recall work done, and Cally Houck won her case against Enterprise.
However, Cally Houck did not want money from the deaths of her daughters; she wanted to prevent that sort of thing from happening again. Thanks to Ms. Houck’s hard work, rental car companies now have to get recall work done or warn customers that the car they are about to drive has a defect that has not been repaired yet. The Houck case shined a light on the impact of ignoring recalls, and the law came just in time to prevent what could have been many deaths due to the largest safety recall in U.S. history.
The Takata Airbag Recall
In November 2014, the New York Times broke the story that there were serious safety defects with airbags installed in vehicles from 2002 to 2015 that were made by Takata. By 2016, there were 11 deaths in America due to the Takata airbag issue and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had recalled over 100 million vehicles from various manufacturers.
The recall is still ongoing as it has been discovered that more vehicles have Takata airbags. The issue is that when these air bags deploy, the metal canister of material that causes them to deploy explodes and sends shrapnel into the cabin of the vehicle. The recall is so severe that cars are on waiting lists to get replacement parts and so far there is no known end date to the recall. However, TheProductLawyers.com states that even though there is a widespread recall, millions of Americans are still driving vehicles with potentially fatal Takata airbags. So how does that affect your car insurance?
Recalls And Your Car Insurance
There are two ways that recalls can affect car insurance both in regards to your personal vehicle and a rental vehicle. With the Takata recall, some auto manufacturers are offering free rental vehicles to customers who have cars in the shop and waiting for a replacement airbag. The issue is that the repairs are taking so long that some insurance companies are not covering vehicles for the full rental period. Anyone who was given a rental car due to the Takata recall will want to contact the rental company to see if they still have coverage. If they do not, then they may want to call their personal insurance agent to see if there is a solution.
When your car is under recall, it normally does not have any effect on the cost of your personal auto insurance. However, if you are in an accident that was caused because you did not follow the instructions on a recall that were sent to you, then your insurance company may not cover your damages. The repairs to your vehicle may be shared between the car manufacturer and your insurance company, or both companies may choose to not cover you at all since you did not abide by the recall notice.
If you do ignore a recall and get in an accident, you may find that your future car insurance rates will be higher than before. Insurance companies keep a close watch on all customer driving habits and if you have a record of ignoring recalls, then you would be considered a high risk and your premiums will be higher.
A good piece of advice to keep your insurance premiums down is to avoid buying a vehicle that has a history of recalls. If you buy a vehicle with a recall history, then your insurance company may tell you that it will not offer any coverage at all. People tend to ignore vehicle recalls when they get them in the mail, which is a big mistake. For your own safety and to keep your insurance premiums down, you should make an appointment with your local dealer the moment you get a recall notice in the mail.
Laurence Banville. Esq is the managing partner and face of The Product Lawyers. Laurence is licensed to practice law in the state of New York. Originally from Ireland, Banville moved to the United States of America where he worked at law firms, refining his litigation and brief writing crafts. He is also the recipient of the Irish Legal 100 and the Top 40 Under 40 awards.