How a Vehicle Recall Affects Car Insurance

If your car is recalled, it shouldn't impact your auto insurance policy.
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Renata Balasco

Senior Content Strategist

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Renata joined The Zebra in 2020 as a Customer Experience Agent. Since 2021, she has worked as licensed insurance professional and content strategist.…

More than 31 million individual vehicles were recalled in the U.S. in 2020, as part of 786 recalls.1 That's the equivalent of more than 1 in 10 cars on the road.2

It got us wondering: Why aren’t people more worried about recalls? And in the event of a recall, what exactly happens to your car insurance? Do your rates get wonky if you ignore a recall notice?

As usual, we did the digging so you don’t have to. 

Car recalls 101

You’ll know if your car, or one of its parts, has been recalled because car companies are required to send letters to affected customers via mail. In order to stay apprised of recall info, you'll need to keep an eye on your snail mail, not your email. Want an e-friendly way to double-check? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains an updated list of vehicle recalls, and you can even subscribe via email for notification for your particular vehicle.

The recall letter should outline your next steps. Generally speaking, you’ll have to make an appointment with your dealer to fix the problem.

What is an auto safety recall?

as defined by the NHTSA

A recall is issued when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it, offering a refund, or in rare cases repurchasing the vehicle.3

Car insurance and vehicle recalls

An auto recall is the responsibility of the manufacturer, not your insurance company. Even if you're involved in a recall-related collision, your insurance company will likely make your manufacturer fork over the funds. But if you put off getting the recall fixed and it has long-term safety impacts on your car, it could cause your insurance rates to go up.

Where it gets tricky is in regards to safety. Car insurance rates are determined in part by the relative safety of a vehicle. If a recall has a long-term effect on the safety of your car, your rates could rise. But this usually isn’t the case, so don’t worry unless your car has seen multiple recalls or needs other repairs due to the issue.

If your vehicle has been the subject of a recall by the NHTSA, contact your auto insurance company to figure out what you should do next. 

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.