It protects the bag, so I guess it is more than cosmetic, I would think the strap is designed to retain the cover when the bag goes off, being hit in the face by a lump of plastic somewhat defeats the primary purpose of protecting the occupant.
And yes mine doesn't fit flush all round, it protrudes slightly at the bottom right corner.
WARNING, you are dealing with an explosive device, the advice is to disconnect the battery and wait for 10 minutes before undoing anything!
It's interesting rPER refers to braking (sic) the safety pins but from what you've said this is not the case. Can't confirm where the belt is attached.
According to Fiat ePER this is how the cover is removed.
1. Remove the cover by freeing the upper rods (1a) and brake the safety pins (1b).
2. Unscrew the screws which fix the belt.
3. Remove the cover with the belt.
Refitting ( Removing )
Make sure that the cover and the belt are not damaged.
Use new safety pins.
Insert the belt and fix it with the screws.
Install the cover by fixing it to the upper rods and safety pins.
Brilliant Blue 156 GTA SportWagon | Q2 | KW V1 Coil-overs | Eibach ARB | Wiecher Strut Bar | Wizard Cat-Back
2009 Fiat Panda 100 HP Stealth Edition