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May 31 2016

May Newsletter from Bearingstar Insurance

Shopping for a new car?

Does the warmer weather have you considering purchasing a new vehicle? Before you start shopping, we wanted to bring your attention to two important auto-related issues that you may have heard about in the news. The below articles discuss a recent airbag recall and how to protect yourself against buying a flood-damaged vehicle, information which we hope you find helpful as you begin your search for a new car.

Takata Airbag Recall   

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Safercar.gov, Takata air bags installed in in tens of millions of U.S. vehicles, are subject to recall due to a safety defect that may cause their inflators to explode and cause serious injuries or deaths.

airbagYou should have received a notice from your vehicle’s manufacturer if your vehicle was included in the Takata recall.  If you didn’t receive a notice you can still check to see if you vehicle is included. Just use NHTSA’s Recall Lookup Tool. If your car or truck is included in the recall, contact your dealer for the appropriate repair.

Due to a shortage of replacement parts, repair delays in some cases, could extend for several months. Some dealers, although not required to do so, are offering a loaner car to their customers until repairs to their vehicle can be made.  What is important for you to know is that often times rentals that extend past 30 days are not covered by your auto insurance company so it is important to call us whenever you find yourself in such a situation. We will make sure you are not left uninsured! If you have questions about coverage for a long-term substitute vehicle under your auto policy, please call your Bearingstar agent. Since policies differ by company and from state to state, your agent will be happy to review your policy and advise you regarding coverage.

For further information on the recall, please visit NHTSA’s Takata Recall List.

How to Avoid Buying A Flooded Used Vehicle  

Often overlooked when buying a pre-owned vehicle, is whether it’s been involved in a flood. We’ve all seen the recent videos of cars being swept away in flood waters. Unfortunately, many of these vehicles will make their way to the used car market. How can you tell that the brand-new looking car you are looking at hasn’t been damaged by flood waters? Here are some helpful tips.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) has an informative video with tips on how to identify a flooded car so you can protect yourself from purchasing a lemon.

The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), run by the Justice Department, is flooded vehicledesigned to protect consumers from fraud and unsafe vehicles. They offer consumers the opportunity to run back ground checks for a small fee, normally less than $7.00. In addition to other “pay for” services, consumers can also use a free VIN check  available from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Water damage can be hard to spot but there are some signs to look for. Besides using a reputable dealer, here are ten tips from the National Automobile Dealers Association to help you avoid buying a flooded used vehicle:

  • Check the vehicle’s title history by VIN through commercially available vehicle history reports from Experian’s Auto Check, or through the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VinCheck. The report may state whether a vehicle has sustained flood damage.
  • Examine the interior and the engine compartment for evidence of water and grit from suspected submersion.
  • Check for recently shampooed carpet.
  • Look under the floorboard carpet for water residue or stain marks from evaporated water not related to air-conditioning pan leaks.
  • Inspect for rusting on the inside of the car and under interior carpeting and visually inspect all interior upholstery and door panels for any evidence of fading.
  • Check under the dashboard for dried mud and residue, and note any evidence of mold or a musty odor in the upholstery, carpet or trunk.
  • Check for rust on screws in the console or other areas where the water would normally not reach unless submerged.
  • Look for mud or grit in alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.
  • Complete a detailed inspection of the electrical wiring system looking for rusted components, water residue or suspicious corrosion.
  • Inspect the undercarriage of other components for evidence of rust and flaking metal that would not normally be associated with late model vehicles.
  • Last, but not least, have the vehicle inspected by a trusted independent mechanic before you buy it.

As always, Bearingstar is here to help you with any insurance- or claim-related questions or concerns you might have. Contact us today!


Thank you for Reading!

We hope that this newsletter provides you with helpful information about the insurance industry and how it affects your livelihood. It is our goal to ensure that you stay educated about ever-changing industry trends, remain financially protected, and avoid life-changing losses. Should you have any questions, or wish to suggest a topic for a future edition of this newsletter, please feel free to email us.

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