Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Feb 27, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • If your airbags are deployed during a car accident, there’s a chance your car will be considered totaled
  • Contact your car insurance company to determine what you should do next
  • Full coverage insurance on your vehicle will offer peace of mind should anything happen to your vehicle

Being in a car accident can be very frightening. If you’ve ever been in an accident that caused your airbags to deploy, you may have many questions when it comes to what you’re supposed to do and whether your car will be declared a total loss.

In many cases, if your airbags are deployed due to a car accident, your car will be considered totaled. There are certainly exceptions to this rule, so it’s a good idea to speak with your insurance company as soon as you can to relay information about the incident and find out what to do next.

If you’re searching for car insurance after your car has been declared a total loss due to deployment of your airbags, you should be sure to shop around online to compare multiple car insurance quotes from different companies. Comparing quotes will help you avoid overpaying for the coverage you need.

You can use our free quote tool above to find and compare affordable car insurance rates in your area today.

Can you drive a car with airbags deployed?

If your airbags have deployed due to a car accident, you should not drive your vehicle. The main reason for this is that your car is likely unsafe to drive and will need serious repairs if it is not declared a total loss. You should also not drive your car because your insurance company may not cover you in another accident.

After the airbags deploy on your vehicle, you should:

  • Check for any injuries and call 9-1-1.
  • Turn your vehicle off if it does not do so automatically.
  • Take pictures of the incident in case you need them when filing a claim.
  • Wait to operate your vehicle until a mechanic has examined it.

After law enforcement has assessed the scene and you can leave, call your insurance company and speak to a representative. Let the individual know what happened and see what you’re supposed to do next. Whether your incident is covered by insurance will entirely depend on the type of car insurance coverage you have.

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If the airbags deploy, is my car totaled?

It is common for a car to be considered totaled once its airbags have been deployed. This is mainly because the vehicle is no longer considered safe enough to drive on the roads. But it is also because your car likely has other mechanical issues that will need to be addressed.

When the damage to a car cost more to repair than the vehicle is worth, the car is considered totaled. In some cases, you may find that your airbags deploy after an accident, but the vehicle is in otherwise good condition. If this happens — or your airbags deployed without accident — your car may not be declared a total loss.

If your airbags are deployed in an accident and your car is in serious need of repair, you may want to assume the worst and begin looking for other options. But full coverage on your car will probably give you the money you need to find your next vehicle.

What do I do if my car is totaled?

If your airbags are deployed and your car is now totaled, you will want to determine your car’s total loss car value. The total loss calculator can help you assess how much your vehicle is worth.

With full coverage on your car, you can expect to receive a payout from your insurance company for the actual value of your vehicle. To ensure your company does not offer you a meager settlement, you should do your homework to see how much you should be getting.

You can look online for calculators that help you determine your car’s actual value. Once you do, remember that number as your insurance company works to assess your car’s value. If the numbers are the same or nearly identical, it’s a good idea to take the settlement check your insurance offers you. But you can always contest an amount that’s too low.

What if I want to keep my car after my airbags deployed?

In some cases, people would rather pay extra for repair costs to continue driving their car. Keep in mind that the repair costs will likely be high if your airbags are deployed. You may have to pay out-of-pocket if you don’t have the right insurance coverage.

If you are determined to keep your car even after it has been declared a total loss, you will need to find a mechanic you can trust to do the necessary repairs and run extensive tests on the vehicle to make sure it is safe to drive. You may also have to find a new insurance carrier as your company could refuse to cover a car that was declared a total loss.

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What’s the best insurance for a totaled car?

Anyone looking for insurance coverage on a car that has been declared a total loss will probably have to shop around a bit. Most car insurance companies are wary of covering previously totaled cars because they pose more risk on the road.

If you are looking for proper insurance coverage on your car, if it is ever declared a total loss, your best bet is to purchase a policy that includes both comprehensive and collision coverage. This type of policy — often referred to as a full insurance policy — will cover your car in virtually every circumstance instead of you having to pay for repairs on your own.

The table below shows average monthly car insurance rates per state based on the type of coverage.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type and State
StatesAverage Monthly Liability RatesAverage Monthly Collision RatesAverage Monthly Comprehensive RatesAverage Monthly Full Coverage Rates
District of Columbia$58$41$19$118
New Hampshire$35$26$9$70
New Jersey$76$33$11$119
New Mexico$44$24$15$84
New York$71$34$15$120
North Carolina$31$26$11$67
North Dakota$25$22$20$67
Rhode Island$68$36$11$116
South Carolina$50$24$16$89
South Dakota$26$19$24$69
West Virginia$43$28$18$88
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As you can see, full coverage car insurance rates can be significantly higher than simple liability rates. But full coverage may offer you the peace of mind you need in case you are ever involved in an accident.

If you’re searching for a new car insurance policy, be sure to use our free quote tool below to find and compare car insurance rates today.