Vehicle recalls are often in the news, and you always breathe a sigh of relief when your car isn’t among those listed. When last year’s massive air bag recall didn’t impact you, it was awesome. But did you know that not every recall makes the headlines.

Manufacturers are required to contact owners of affected vehicles through the postal mail using a specially marked envelope to distinguish it from junk mail. Of course, if you have moved or the name and address submitted has any errors, you’ll probably never see this mailing. This is why periodically checking for recalls is a good idea.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) RECENTLY launched a new public awareness campaign called Safe Cars Save Lives that urges consumers to check for open recalls at least twice a year and to get their vehicles fixed as soon as parts are available. Looking up your vehicle to see if it has been recalled only takes a few minutes and can potentially save your life as well as the lives of your passengers.

Just find your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) located on your vehicle registration.  Then visit the NHTSA’s website at www.nhtsa.gov and click on “VIN lookup search” Enter your VIN in the space provided to explore any recall history. You can also check for NHTSA investigations and even make a complaint about a vehicle.

“Recalls are a serious safety issue that should be promptly addressed,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “An informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in ensuring recalled vehicles are repaired. Do not wait to act if your car is under recall and the parts are available.”

Of course, vehicle safety and owner responsibility go hand in hand. That’s why you should also periodically check in with your insurance professional to be sure your current insurance protection is still adequate. Situations change and the last thing you want to find out is that you are under-insured.