Car Recalls and Car Insurance Claims

Chevrolet and its parent company, General Motors, have been in the news a lot lately.  In February they recalled more than 1.6 million small cars due to faulty ignition switches, and announced another recall of 1.5 million vehicles on Monday, March 17.  The ignition switch defect is attributed to 12 deaths and culminated in multiple investigations.

The latest round of recalls applies to 1.18 million SUVs in the 2008 to 2013 model years for side air bags, front center air bags, and seat belt pretensioners that may not deploy if the air bag warning light is ignored.  Models affected include the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, and the Saturn Outlook.

In addition, a recall was issued for 303,000 Chevy Express and GMC Savana vans for the model years of 2009 to 2014.  This one is due to the material used on the instrument panel may not adequately protect unbelted passengers in a crash.  Lastly, 63,900 Cadillac XTS cars were recalled for the 2013 and 2014 model years due to a plug in the brake assembly.  This plug can become dislodged, short, and lead to a fire in the engine compartment.

Vehicle recalls are not restricted to General Motors and Chevrolet.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website ( reports over 30 product recalls involving vehicles from Honda, Toyota, Porsche, Nissan, Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat.  The list also includes horse and travel trailers, a BMW motorcycle model, a motorcycle helmet manufacturer, and various Graco car seat models.  This is a great resource for anyone to find out about current recalls.  The posted list on the NHTSA web site lists recalls from February 27 to present.

We only have to look back over the past two years to see that Toyota was in the same position as Chevrolet and GM.  At that time, Toyota recalled 7.43 million cars, trucks & SUVs worldwide.  The issue is faulty power window switches that was determined to cause fires.  The issue then was a faulty power window switch mounted on the driver’s door that wasn’t evenly greased.  This led to excessive friction which was determined could cause smoke and a fire in the affected vehicles.  There have been no incidents of accidents or deaths from this, however there have been 161 fires and 9 people injured.

Occasionally I’m asked by a prospect or client if they had a car insurance claim which was related to a recall, would their insurance cover it.  The answer is yes.  During the 2009 “sudden acceleration” issue with Toyota, which turned out to be poorly designed floor mats for Prius models, many insurers announced they would pay claims for accidents resulting from sudden acceleration.

While I’ve not seen a similar announcement for the Chevrolet and GM recalls, I believe all car insurance companies will process all claims whether there was a recall or not.  I would expect all claims involving any of the recalled vehicles to be reviewed to determine if it’s related specifically to any of the recalled items.  If it’s found to be related, I would also think the car insurance companies will subrogate (pursue them for financial compensation for any paid claim(s)) against Chevrolet and GM as they did against Toyota for accidents related to sudden acceleration claims.

How closely do you examine your mail for notices from your car manufacturer?  If you assumed it was junk mail and tossed it before reading, then take 5 minutes to find out if your vehicle(s) has / have had a recall.  You can do this by contacting the service department of your dealership, check out a list of recalls at or or Google.  If you discover anything, contact the dealer’s service department and see what you need to do to get it fixed.  That’s a whole lot easier than having something happen to you, or a friend or loved one!

Do you have a question, comment, suggestion, or an experience you want to share with us?  Please post it in the comments section of our blog or on our Facebook or Google + pages.  I’d love to hear from you!

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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