How long do car repairs take after an accident?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Feb 12, 2018

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Many factors go into the length of time you can expect your car to be repaired
  • Foreign or specialty cars may take longer because parts are harder to find
  • The extent of your damage will impact how long it takes for your car to be fixed
  • If your mechanic is taking an unreasonable amount of time, you should contact your insurer and look into getting your vehicle taken to a different garage

Cars that have been damaged in accidents can be repaired in less than a few days, but sometimes it can take as long as several months.

Some of the factors that have to be considered include:

  • The length of time that it takes your car insurance provider to process and approve your claim and locate a repair shop
  • The number of cars waiting to be repaired
  • The extent of the damage done to your vehicle
  • The type of car you have – if you own a foreign import, sports car, or another type of specialty vehicle, it may take awhile before the auto repair shop is able to receive the replacement parts needed to make the repairs.

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How can you estimate how long it will take for your repairs to be made?

If you have already submitted your claim to your auto insurance provider, you will need to wait a few days until a decision is made.

Some policyholders will know nearly instantly if they will be able to get their repairs made.

After you know where your car will be repaired and the type of repair that will be made, you can start to estimate how long it will take in total. You can call the mechanic or your insurance agent to find more information on the status of your repairs.

Remember that an estimate is just that. Your car may end up being repaired much more quickly than first expected, but you should also be prepared to wait longer.

Estimated time for repairs:

Type of DamageTimeline
Windshield replacementone day
Minor Auto Body Workone to two days
Bumper repair/replacementone day
Replacement of internal elementsone to two weeks
Extensive damage to multiple partsover a month

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What are some factors that might delay getting your car repaired?

Sometimes a policyholder will go to pick up his or her car on the day that it is expected to be repaired, only to find out that there has been a delay.

There are many different circumstances that can delay your repairs:

  • If a mechanic has called out sick, has a family emergency, or simply is needs more time to finish the jobs on hand, you will have no choice but to wait.
  • Your repair might also take longer if the mechanic discovered additional repairs that need to be made.
  • If your insurance provider is unable to pay the mechanic on time, your car might be kept as collateral until the check arrives.

Whatever the reason for the delay, there is almost always a reasonable solution. By staying in contact with both your insurance provider and the repair shop, you should be able to anticipate these types of delays and act accordingly.

What do you do if you’re not satisfied with the repair and length of time?

Although it is understandable when a mechanic needs a few more days to get your car repaired, sometimes car owners experience unreasonable wait times.

If you can’t get in contact with the mechanic responsible for making the repairs or if you are not able to get a clear answer on your questions, you will want to talk to your insurance provider.

Your car may need to be towed or driven to a different mechanic in these cases. If you truly believe that the repair shop will not be able to fix your car in a professional manner, you need to inform your insurance provider at once.

You might also be able to expedite your repairs if you are able to locate a replacement part that is on back order. This is something that you want to check into early on in the repair process.

You can ask your insurance agent about being reimbursed for the parts that you are planning on purchasing, but this may or may not be possible.

In order to get your car back in good working order, you must understand that the repair process can sometimes take much longer than first anticipated.

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