Your Car Is More Likely To Be Totalled With Modern Safety Tech

Technology / 7 Comments

Turns out the ultra-safe Volvo XC60 is the last car you want to wreck.

Modern technology has helped make cars safer than ever. Multiple airbags protect occupants and reduce the risk of injuries and deaths in the event of a crash, while sophisticated sensors in cars like the new Volvo XC60 that monitor traffic, activate automatic brakes, and warn you of lane departures can even prevent accidents altogether. There's a catch to all this hi-tech safety equipment, however. According to Automotive News, while the technology is making cars safer during an accident, they're more likely to be totalled after an accident.

How can this be, you may ask? Well, such advanced technology isn't cheap, believe it or not. According to Bob Tschippert, senior vice president of insurance underwriter, expensive safety technology is hiking the costs of vehicle repairs after accidents. "In the past, if you had a front-end collision, you had damage to the engine or the front end," he said. But now, with the number of airbags that can run from $1,000 up to $4,000 and all the sensors up front, you're seeing more totals." Consequently, this means insurance companies are more likely to deem a car a total loss, since in many cases it would be cheaper to consign a car to the junkyard than repair it.

The massive Takata airbag recall hasn't helped matters, either. The backlog of vehicles needing a replacement airbag is so big, insurance companies are more likely to declare a damaged vehicle a total loss if it has a Takata airbag to speed up the recall process. The upshot is that junkyards and salvage auctions are cashing in on the situation. Typically, cars destroyed in natural disasters feature in salvage auctions, but damage claims from disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes are on the decline. But because Americans drive more, road accidents are on the rise which should make up that shortfall.


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