Airbag Deployment Lower The Value Of Your Car? (Explained)

Everyone knows how important the airbags in a car are because they are capable of decreasing the chances of you suffering from serious or fatal injuries in a crash.

But everyone also knows that an airbag is a one-off because, once it has been deployed, it cannot be used again unless you replace it with a new one.

So, with that said, if you can’t replace your airbags and you plan on selling your car, how much does airbag deployment lower the value of the vehicle?

How much airbag deployment will lower the value of your car?

Airbag deployment will lower the value of your car depending on how much the replacement of an airbag will cost. However, if the total cost of the airbag replacement exceeds 70% of your car’s fair market value, your car will be considered total and will lose more value than it should.

Luxury Cars by MotorHowTo.com x
Luxury Cars by MotorHowTo.com

The thing about the value of a damaged car is that its value will be highly dependent on the extent of the damage and how much it will cost you to repair said damage.

In this case, we are talking about airbag replacements, which can be quite expensive to the point that they can easily total your car. As such, there are some people who end up having to sell their cars for scrap instead of replacing their airbags.


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How much does airbag deployment lower the value of your car?

When it comes to your car, one of the most important things you need to consider is your safety. Of course, there are plenty of safety features in a vehicle, and one such feature is the Supplementary Restraint System or SRS, which includes the airbags.

The airbags are so effective that they can decrease fatalities in crashes by up to 29%, which is a really good number.

That said, as important as the airbags are, one of the things you need to know is that airbags will only deploy once. What that means is that an airbag is a one-off in the sense that, once it has deployed, you can never repair or reuse the same airbag again. You would have to replace the airbag once it has been used.

But what you need to know about airbag replacement is that this isn’t the most affordable thing in the world. Sure, having your airbags replaced won’t break the bank but what we can say for sure is that it can also be quite expensive to the point that there are some people who can’t afford to have their airbags replaced. And that is why there are some cars that are on the market that don’t have airbags.

So, if you happen to have a car that has been in an accident and its airbags were deployed, but you weren’t able to replace the airbags due to budget constraints, how much would deployed airbags lower the value of your car? Well, the answer depends entirely on the price of the airbags.

What you need to know when it comes to a value of a damaged car is that the market value of the vehicle is usually decreased depending on the overall extent of the damage and how much it would cost to repair the said damage. So, in this case, the damage we are talking about is the airbag replacement.

Given the fact that airbag replacement can be quite expensive, the overall value that can be deducted from your vehicle will depend on how much the airbags of the vehicle will cost. In most cases, airbag replacement will cost somewhere between $1,000 to $1,500 per airbag. The price already includes labor fees. But this will also depend on the make and model of your car, as the more expensive cars will have more expensive airbags that can cost up to $5,000.

That said, if we are talking about replacing two airbags on a car with airbags that cost $1,000 each, that means that the deployed airbags will decrease the value of the vehicle by up to $2,000, which is a lot, especially if you have an older car that no longer has the same kind of value it once had. 

Can you sell a car that has airbags deployed?

Now that you know how much airbags are and how much they usually lower the value of your car if they have been deployed, one of the things you need to know is that not everyone can afford to have their airbags replaced.

People tend to weigh their options whenever they look at whether or not they should replace their airbags because they also look at how much their car’s value is with respect to the cost of having to replace the airbags.

This is where some people decide to sell their vehicles instead of having their airbags replaced. So, in that regard, you can still sell a car that has airbags that have already been deployed. This is one of the things that people often do whenever they can no longer afford to replace the airbags because doing so is too expensive for them with respect to the value of their car.

So, instead of replacing the airbags, some people would just rather sell the vehicle instead and use whatever proceeds they get from the sale plus the cost of having the airbags replaced to buy a new car.

However, what you need to do when you intend to sell a car with deployed airbags is to disclose the extent of the damage. This is very important because you can get in trouble with the law if you fail to disclose whether or not the airbags have already been deployed. But this is quite easy for the dealership or anyone to see because most cars with deployed airbags will have their airbag or SRS icon lit up on the dashboard.

Is a car totaled if airbags deploy?

In a lot of cases, there are some people who don’t mind having their airbags replaced because they don’t even pay for the total sum of the airbag replacement.

This is where insurance comes in because it usually covers the cost of having a car’s airbags replaced. Depending on your coverage, your insurance will most likely cover the cost of replacement regardless of how much the airbags are.

Most insurance coverages would cover airbag replacements if the fault of the crash was not on the part of the driver. But there are also some insurance coverages that will always cover the repair and replacement costs for the airbags regardless of who was at fault. Again, this will depend on the type of coverage you have on your vehicle.

Going back, while most insurance companies will cover the cost of your airbag replacements, one of the things you need to know is that there are some coverages that may actually declare your car totaled, depending on the extent of the total cost of the repair or replacement. So, is a car declared total if the airbags have been deployed? Not necessarily.

When it comes to knowing whether or not a vehicle is totaled, you have to look at the extent of the damages with respect to the value of the vehicle itself. In this case, the damages we are talking about are the airbag replacements.

Going back, the usual threshold to declare whether or not a vehicle can be declared totaled is if the cost of repairs exceeds 70% of the vehicle’s fair market value. So, if you have a car with a fair market value of $5,000 and the cost of having the airbags replaced is $2,000, that is not yet within the 70% that we are talking about. That means that your vehicle cannot be declared totaled.

Then again, when we are talking about deployed airbags, there is a reason why the airbags were deployed in the first place. Airbags will only deploy in crashes that are strong enough to cause damage to the vehicle. That means that if the airbags are deployed, then you should also consider the possibility of your car getting damaged in other areas as well.

As such, it can be possible that the deployed airbags plus the other damages that your car suffered from a crash will be more than enough to pull the car’s value down to the point that the cost of repairs is already within the 70% threshold we were talking about earlier. This means that your car can be declared totaled by the insurance company.

So, going back, if you have a car with a value of $5,000 and it suffered damages worth $1,600 plus the $2,000 needed to replace the airbags, we are talking about a total repair cost of $3,600. This means that we are already within the 70% threshold for declaring the car totaled. As such, because the other damages also contributed to the total repair costs needed for your car, your vehicle can be considered totaled.

This is why there are some insurance companies that would rather just declare the car totaled and allow you to buy a new vehicle based on the value of your old vehicle. 

Sources

Is My Car Totaled If the Airbags Deploy?

If the Airbags Deployed, Does that Mean My Car is Totaled?

If airbags deploy, is the car automatically totaled? (Accidents + Rates)