No, airbags deploying does not automatically make a car a total loss. If a vehicle's airbags deploy and the cost of replacing them is more than the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle it would be declared a total loss. However, if the vehicle's current worth is greater than the cost of replacing the airbags the vehicle can be repaired by the insurance company without find the car be totaled out.
Basically airbags deploying is like any other damage to a vehicle in that if it is more economical to total out the vehicle than to repair it than an insurance company will do so thus it really depends upon the ACV of the car and all the damages sustained in the accident that caused the airbags to deploy if the car will be fixed by the insurer or totaled out.
Due to the high price of new airbag components and installation costs many vehicles with a low ACV will be considered a total loss if the airbags and other repairs cost more than the ACV. On the flip side, if the vehicle has a high ACV, the cost of new airbags being installed will not likely cause the vehicle to be declared a total loss.
The broad statement that all vehicles in which airbags deploy during an accident are automatically declared a total loss is just not true. Bet You Life On An Airbag is an article in our Learning Center that will give you information regarding airbags and how they work.