Does Car Insurance Pay for Airbag Replacement?
Last Updated on September 24, 2021
If your vehicle’s airbags deployed in an accident, then you need to replace those airbags. But who pays?
Your insurance should cover the cost or airbag replacement. If your car was not totaled in the collision, then your insurance company should cover the cost of replacing your airbags.
Airbag replacement isn’t cheap. It costs about $1,100 to $1,800 to replace airbags in an average vehicle, including parts and labor.
Does car insurance pay for airbag replacement? How much does airbag replacement cost? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about who pays for airbag replacement after a collision.
Table of Contents:
- Insurance Should Cover Airbag Replacement
- How Insurance Covers Airbag Replacement
- Your Car May Be Totaled After Airbags Deploy
- How Much Does Airbag Replacement Cost?
- How to Buy Replacement Airbags
- Other Factors that Affect the Cost of Airbag Replacement
Insurance Should Cover Airbag Replacement
In most cases, your insurance company will cover the cost of replacing your vehicle’s airbags.
Insurance covers airbag replacement if you are hit by another driver. In this situation, the at-fault driver’s property damage liability insurance will cover the cost of replacing your airbags.
Insurance will also cover the cost of airbag replacement if you have collision insurance. Collision insurance, which is part of full coverage car insurance, covers the cost of repairing damage to your vehicle after an accident regardless of fault.
However, insurance will not cover the cost of airbag replacement if your vehicle is totaled. If your vehicle is a total loss, then your insurance company will send you a check for the value of the vehicle instead of paying to replace the airbags.
How Insurance Covers Airbag Replacement
Insurance covers airbag replacement in different ways depending on the type of accident.
In almost every accident, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will cover the cost of airbag replacement.
Here’s how insurance covers airbag replacement in different situations:
You Were At Fault: If you were at fault for the accident (say, in a collision with another vehicle or in a single-vehicle accident), then your insurance will cover the cost of airbag replacement. Insurance covers the cost of airbag replacement if you have collision coverage, which is part of full coverage car insurance.
The Other Driver Was At-Fault: If the other driver was at fault, then the other driver’s liability insurance covers the cost of the accident, including the cost of replacing your airbags.
In either situation, your vehicle could become a total loss insurance claim. If damage to your vehicle exceeds a certain threshold, then the insurer will cut you a check covering the actual cash value of the vehicle. At this point, the insurer takes possession of your vehicle and its salvage title, and you have cash you can use to buy another vehicle.
Your Car May Be Totaled After Airbags Deploy
If you were in a collision where your airbags deployed, then your car may be totaled.
If your car is a total loss, it means the cost of repairing your vehicle is more than the value of your vehicle.
In this situation, your insurer gives you a check covering the replacement of your vehicle, and you can use this check to buy a new vehicle.
It’s a myth that your vehicle is always a total loss when airbags deploy. However, airbag deployment is generally a sign of a serious collision. And, when you add the cost of airbag replacement ($1,100 to $1,800), it increases the cost of the accident even more.
Airbag deployment significantly increases the chances of your vehicle being declared a total loss. However, airbag deployment does not automatically guarantee that your vehicle will be declared a total loss.
Let’s say your vehicle is worth $6,000. You’re involved in a serious accident. Your vehicle needs $5,000 in repairs. Replacing the airbags will cost another $1,200. At this point, it costs more to repair your vehicle ($6,200 total) than the vehicle is worth, and your insurer will declare it a total loss.
Some states have low total loss thresholds, which means the insurer can declare your car a total loss if damage exceeds 60% to 80% of the vehicle’s value. In this situation, even a minor accident with airbag deployment can create a total loss insurance claim.
How Much Does Airbag Replacement Cost?
Airbag replacement costs are surprisingly expensive. The average cost of airbag replacement is around $1,100 to $1,800. However, on rare or higher-end vehicles, the cost of airbag replacement can exceed $5,000.
There are two major components to the cost of airbag replacement: parts and labor.
Parts: A single airbag costs $300 to $1,000, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. A driver’s side airbag costs around $300 to $800, for example, while a passenger-side airbag costs around $350 to $1,000. On rare, foreign, or exotic vehicles, airbags can be even more expensive.
Labor: You need to pay someone to correctly install your airbag. Airbag replacement labor costs can add hundreds of dollars to your insurance claim.
For all of these reasons, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 to replace airbags in an average vehicle after an accident.
How to Buy Replacement Airbags
Most people buy replacement airbags through a mechanic or dealership. After an accident, you might work with a mechanic or car dealership to repair your vehicle and replace the airbags. The mechanic or car dealership buys the airbags on your behalf.
However, you can also buy airbags yourself. You can find replacement airbags online at discount rates. You could buy these airbags. However, most ordinary vehicle owners do not know how to replace these airbags.
Buying replacement airbags online can also lead to quality issues. Your airbag could deploy at the wrong time due to a manufacturing fault, for example. Or, it might not deploy at all. An airbag is one of the most important safety features in your vehicle, and faulty airbags can kill people.
Ultimately, most drivers buy replacement airbags through their mechanic or car dealership to ensure the airbags work as advertised.
Other Factors that Affect the Cost of Airbag Replacement
Several factors impact the cost of airbag replacement, including:
- The make and model of your vehicle (rare, exotic, and foreign vehicles tend to have higher airbag replacement costs)
- The cost of labor in your area
- Whether you’re replacing a passenger airbag, driver airbag, or both
- Whether you need to replace side airbags and other airbags around your vehicle
All of these factors could raise or lower the cost of airbag replacement.
Final Word on Airbag Replacement
Yes, insurance covers the cost of airbag replacement. If your vehicle is not a total loss, then the insurance company of the at-fault driver will cover the cost of replacing airbags in your vehicle.
However, replacing airbags is more expensive than many people realize. It costs $1,100 to $2,000 to replace airbags in an average vehicle. If your car was already damaged in a collision, then airbag replacement costs can push your vehicle past the total loss threshold. At this point, insurers give you a check for the actual cash value of the vehicle, and the insurer takes possession of the vehicle’s salvage title.
Contact your insurer or check your insurance policy to verify you have insurance that covers the cost of replacing your vehicle’s airbags.