How Long Does It Take to Fix a Car After an Accident?

How long it takes to fix a car after an accident depends not only on the nature of the damage but the type of vehicle and how long it takes for your insurer to approve the claim. You may also have to use a repair shop of your insurance company’s choice, or at least one authorized by the insurer. The bottom line is that fixing a car post-accident may take just a few days, or a few weeks, months, or more.

The repair estimate

Your insurance company’s claims adjuster should present you with a repair estimate within a few days after the collision. Keep in mind that an estimate is just that, and the cost could end up significantly more – and sometimes less.

Damages and estimated repair times

If your windshield shattered in the accident, that is actually lucky if no one was hurt. A damaged windshield is usually replaceable within a day or two. The same holds true for bumper damage and minor auto body work, such as a few dents and dings. On the other hand, if the car suffered extensive body damage, you might wait months before you can drive it again.

When a car is damaged badly, it is often impossible to tell just how much work is needed until the vehicle is stripped down and inspected. Under such circumstances, you may want to get estimates from several auto body shops and present them to your claims adjuster.

Special considerations

All vehicles are not created equal. Certain cars are going to take longer to fix, and that is especially true for:

  • Foreign cars
  • Sports cars
  • Classic cars
  • Limited edition vehicles
  • Exotic cars
  • New cars

It might take a repair shop a lot longer to receive the parts necessary to fix these vehicles.

Generic vs. brand-name parts

Your insurer may require mechanics to replace parts as cheaply as possible, and that can mean using a generic over a brand name. That information is located in the fine print in your insurance policy.

If you insist on having a brand-name part used in the repair, you may have to pay the difference between the two prices. As noted, it can take longer for the shop to obtain brand-name parts.

Other delaying factors

Common delaying factors relating to prompt car repair may involve the mechanic. If he or she goes on vacation, gets sick, or otherwise cannot work on the car as expected, you must wait longer for the repairs or consider taking the vehicle to another business. It is also not unusual for the mechanic to discover that the car is in worse shape than originally believed, requiring additional repairs.

If that is the case, you could find that the repair costs outweigh the vehicle’s value, and the insurer may have to declare it a total loss. That could end up with the car owner and the insurance company not agreeing on the vehicle’s value. For such disputes, you may need legal counsel. 

Sometimes, the insurance company does not pay the mechanic right away. Understandably, in such situations, the repair shop will hold the vehicle until they receive payment.

For best results, and fewer unpleasant surprises, stay in regular contact with both your insurer and the repair shop. 

Unreasonable wait times

Not having a car poses quite a burden, unless your insurer or the at-fault driver’s insurance company provides you with a rental car during the interim. You also want the work done well, rather than rushed. There may come a time, however, when it is obvious that the amount of time you have waited for the repair work completion is unreasonable. If this happens, let your insurer know that this is unacceptable. The insurer may agree to have the car towed or otherwise transported to another mechanic.

Contact a New York car accident lawyer

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, you owe it to yourself to contact the New York City car accident lawyers at Douglas and London. Arrange a free consultation by calling 24/7 or filling out our online contact form. We will review your insurance policy and claim and advise you of your options. Hablamos Espanol.