Those who own a relatively new vehicle might have suffered the stress of receiving a Recall Notification. These are letters from the car manufacturer or dealer advising that the vehicle needs to be taken to an authorised dealer to rectify a design flaw or other problem which may affect vehicle safety or convenient use.
A recall notice may not always specify the potential effects of the defect and this can lead to further concern for the owner. Failure of an important component may cause a crash or vehicle fire and if that happens while waiting for specified repairs, owners worry that any insurance claim they make might be denied.
It is therefore important to contact the dealer immediately a recall letter is received and determine how urgent the repair is. If the dealer tells you not to worry or the parts aren’t available, protect your interests by insisting the vehicle is booked for the repair on a date when dealership staff expect parts to arrive.
There are situations where defects have caused serious incidents and manufacturers have been slow to accept responsibility. These can involve a design fault where loss of power leads to a vehicle suddenly slowing and being involved in a collision. If your car ever develops such a condition it needs to be returned to the dealer immediately for investigation.
It will be worth using the internet to check for reports from other owners of similar things happening to their vehicles. These reports if they are widespread have been used in the past to trigger legal demands for manufacturers to repair or even replace defective vehicles.
Fire is a serious consequence of vehicle faults and any defect that might start a fire needs to be rectified immediately. If dealers do not have parts in stock to undertake the repair, then owners should leave the car with them and insist on being provided with a ‘courtesy’ car until theirs has been made safe.
Some defects can cause inconvenience but not be inherently dangerous. Others can cause serious harm and even death to occupants yet have no effect on vehicle performance and will rarely be the primary cause of an accident.
One example of this is the on-going Takata air-bag situation, where despite constant warnings from the vehicle industry and governments, some car owners still have not returned their vehicles to dealerships to have potentially lethal air-bags replaced.
Statements have been made in the media to the effect that failure to replace the air-bags could void a motor insurance policy but this generally is not the case.
In a statement issued in response to this issue, the Insurance Council of Australia clarified the position which applies to all licensed insurers in this country.
“Insurers do not deny coverage, nor fail to pay claims, due to the non-replacement of an airbag, because failure to replace an airbag does not increase the risk of an accident taking place,” the Council explained.
There have also been proposals for State authorities to suspend the registration of vehicles that should have had their potentially lethal air-bags replaced. In that instance a driver knowingly driving an unregistered vehicle would be in breach of their terms of insurance.
Call 10 10 44 if you have any concerns regarding your Enthusiast Insurance policy and a consultant can assist. For quotes when buying a vehicle any day at any time and even on weekends, just click www.enthusiast.com.au and you’re on your way.