Key Highlights
  • When an insurer declares a vehicle a total loss, it’s because it’s more economical than repairing it after an accident.
  • The decision to total a car varies depending on the car's actual cash value (ACV) and the total loss threshold for that state.
  • On average, an airbag replacement costs between $1,000 - $1,750, considering parts and labor.

Air bagsNo, 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 total loss threshold for your state, it would be declared a total loss. See the total loss threshold by state to check for yours.

For example, if your wrecked car is valued at $5,000 in Iowa you would need only $2,500 of damage to call it a total loss as the threshold in Iowa is 50%. However, if you live in Colorado it would take $5,000 in damage, as the threshold in the Centennial State is 100%.

Airbags deploying is like any other damage to a vehicle; if it is more economical to total out the vehicle than to repair it, then an insurance company will do so.

Due to the high price of new airbag components and installation costs, many vehicles with a low actual cash value (ACV) will be considered a total loss if the airbags deploy. 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.

How much does it cost to fix a deployed airbag?

Airbags are never fixed. Once they deploy, they are replaced. An airbag replacement will cost about $1,000 to $1,750, on average, when you account for parts and labor, according to the automotive tips site AutoChimps.com.

Does insurance cover airbag replacement?

Yes, insurance covers airbag replacement if:

  • Your car isn't totaled
  • You're hit by another driver (the at-fault driver's liability insurance would cover it)
  • You have collision insurance, which pays for damage to your car regardless of fault