Understanding Car Recalls: Better Safe Than Sorry

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By TIS Insurance Services, Inc and The Hanover



With nearly one in five cars recalled by manufacturers last year, local Knoxville residents would be well advised to pay attention and quickly take action, according to a local insurance authority, TIS Insurance Services, Inc. of Knoxville, and its insurance carrier partner, The Hanover.

It may seem to be an inconvenience to have your car repaired, especially if it seems to be running fine, but it can make a lifesaving difference, Churchwell said.

Getting recalled vehicles repaired improves safety for the owner, their passengers and others on the road. The end results are fewer accidents and more lives saved, said Lisa Churchwell, director of public relations and communications at TIS. It may seem to be an inconvenience to have your car repaired, especially if it seems to be running fine, but it can make a lifesaving difference, Churchwell said.

How to track recalls

With recalls being announced frequently, it can be difficult to keep track of the various manufacturers, models and malfunctions. Here are some tips to help you sort through all the information.

TIS-Side-Pic-July-WebThis label means it’s not junk mail. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created a standardized label that car manufacturers are required to use when sending recall notices to help consumers recognize a mailing as legitimate, in hopes of increasing recall completion rates.

There’s an app for that. Some helpful tools are available to track recalls, among them is NHTSA’s free mobile app called SaferCar. The Hanover offers MyHanoverGarage to its Platinum Experience customers, which is a website that tracks car recalls, maintenance and repair information and sends updates to customers.

These efforts by the industry, government and companies help drivers quickly sort through all the recall information by sharing relevant information so consumers can respond when recall notices are issued, Churchwell said.

Buying used? Check the recall history.

Purchasing a used car presents unique challenges in regards to safety recalls. According to Carfax, one in 10 used cars for sale online has a recall that has not been addressed.

Repaired recalls. Owners are not obligated to fix recalls before selling, so it is important to know about any existing recall notices on the vehicle. Always ask a seller for proof of prior recalls being repaired.

Check the VIN.  If a car has an open recall, the manufacturer, a vehicle history report or the dealer may be able to tell from the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), located inside the front driver’s side door.

Report it. Consumers can report potential vehicle-related safety defects for review to the NHTSA by calling 1-800-424-9393.

For questions and advice on car safety, liability or auto insurance coverage, contact TIS Insurance.   


TIS Insurance Services, Inc. (TIS) is an independent, privately-owned insurance consulting and brokerage agency. TIS has served the insurance needs of policyholders in Tennessee and throughout the Southeast since 1945. With over 135 employees, TIS is the largest independently owned insurance agency in Tennessee and was once again named a Top 100 Agency out of 30,000 Independent Agencies nationwide by Insurance Journal magazine. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee with additional offices in Atlanta, Georgia and the Carolinas, TIS serves over 6,000+ individuals and businesses in 47 states.


The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., based in Worcester, Mass., is the holding company for several property and casualty insurance companies, which together constitute one of the largest insurance businesses in the United States. For more than 160 years, The Hanover has provided a wide range of property and casualty products and services to individuals, families, and businesses. The Hanover distributes its products through a select group of independent agents and brokers. Together with its agents, the company offers specialized coverages for small and mid-sized businesses, as well as insurance protection for homes, automobiles, and other personal items. Through its international member company, Chaucer, The Hanover also underwrites business at Lloyd’s of London in several major insurance and reinsurance classes, including marine, property and energy. For more information, please visit hanover.com.

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