2014 Was A Record-Breaking Year For Automobile Recalls

When an auto insurance lead or customer buys an automobile, he typically does so with a belief in the inherent quality of the vehicle. But a new report reveals a disturbing trend in the number of vehicle recalls there were in 2014. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 64 million vehicle affected on 803 recalls for last year, a new record that was more than double the old record set over a decade ago, Claims Journal reports.

Of the 64 million vehicles, 15 percent were caught by NHTSA investigations, while auto manufacturers were able to catch the remaining 85 percent on their own.

The old record for vehicles was set in 2004 at 30.8 million while the record for number of recalls was 2008 (at 684). The new data crushes both of these old records.

At the head of the pack (or bottom depending on how you want to look at it), General Motors issued 84 recalls (more than 10 percent), which accounted for about 27 million vehicles (close to half). The big story from GM was the faulty ignition switch issue that affected 2.6 million small cars, placing the entire company under review, which led to more recalls, CJ notes.

The switches were said to have caused crashes that killed a total of 52 people.

Other facts from the report:

  • Faulty airbags were cited in 21.8 million recalled vehicles (34 percent of total).
  • 12 million vehicles were recalled due to defective airbag inflators.
  • At least six people were killed and 64 injured due to exploding inflators, which can spew shrapnel into the cab.
  • Increased regulatory scrutiny has led to more intensive screening procedures, so the recall problem will likely carry over into 2015.

With all these recalls, what is an insurance customer to do, and what could the insurance implications be? Here’s what they need to know.


One: Don’t Delay Recalls.

Recall notices are often sent by mail, but in this Internet age, there are quicker and more effective ways of staying on top of the issue. The best source for finding out if a recall has been reported is the recalls.gov website. Upon visiting this web page, a customer will be able to see the recent recalls that have been issued. They can also run a search for any number of organizations, the NHTSA being one of them. It’s also worth noting that the NHTSA search is not confined to vehicles alone, but also pertains to equipment, child safety seats, and tires.


Two: Failure To Correct A Recall Can Have Some Costly Results.

It’s easy to get bogged down by the day-to-day routines of life and let something slip away from you for longer than intended. But insurance customers need to know that a recall notice isn’t something they should put off. As insurance expert Bobbie Sage notes, “Although a vehicle recall will most likely reduce insurance premiums, policyholders need to make sure they follow their recall notice in a timely manner so they are not held liable. This means that if you have a vehicle that has been recalled and you don’t fix the recall then if you have an accident and it is due your failure in fixing the recalled part, then you could be held responsible for the damages.”


In Summary

Call it being overly cautious or call it a downgrade in the quality of modern automobiles, but recalls are serious business. Luckily, tools for tracking recall notices are abundant, so if a customer is concerned, they can run a search in seconds on the web and schedule an appointment with their nearest trusted mechanic. By staying on top of the issue, customers can ensure their protection no matter how many more record-breaking recall years that we have.

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