MONEY

Toyota Recall Shouldn’t Ding Your Car Insurance

I own a Toyota Camry. It happens to be a Camry Hybrid, which Toyota assures me is not part of the recall. I hope so, as I can’t stand the idea of one more errand to suck up my time.

Still, in trying to figure out whether my car was included in the recall, I got to thinking about whether – aside from “how quickly can I get my car to the dealer” – the Toyota recalls raised any other issues for consumers. Say, with auto insurance.

I talked to the Insurance Information Institute and several auto insurers and got answers to two of the most common questions they’ve been hearing:

  • I had an accident in a car covered by the recall. Will my insurer still pay my claim?

Yes. The Toyota recall will not affect your claim. “Vehicle recalls occur regularly,” says Allstate spokesman Mike Siemienas. “This is nothing new for us; it’s business as usual.” If the accident was tied to the faulty parts now in the news, it’s likely that auto insurers will pursue Toyota to pony up for the claim. In fact, insurers are reviewing previous claims involving the recalled vehicles to see if they might have claims against Toyota for past accidents. This “subrogration” process though is basically invisible to the policyholder. You probably won’t know it’s happening and there’s nothing you need to do. It’s even possible that you might get your deductible back, which is common when your insurer is able to recover money from a third party, says Jeanne Salvatore, spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute. But it’s too soon to know how many claims were tied to faulty parts, or what will happen as a result. Bottom line: No need to worry.

  • Will my rates go up because I drive a car covered by the recall?

It’s not clear and in any case it’s too soon to know. Insurers take a bunch of factors into account when they set rates — not just accident history but also criteria such as how often the car is stolen. It also depends on what ultimately happens with the recall. If Toyota successfully replaces all the parts in all the affected cars, then nothing may change at all. If rates did change, it would affect only the comprehensive and collision parts of your policy.

Meanwhile, for more information, go to Toyota’s recall page.

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