For Consumers

What to expect if you’re experiencing delays in auto repairs

Nationwide, there is an auto parts shortage due to manufacturing delays along with auto repair shop staffing shortages. Unfortunately, Washington state is not immune to this. It can take up to six months before an auto repair shop has available scheduling and parts to repair damaged vehicles.

Here are some of the current issues happening that our office cannot require an insurance company to speed up as it’s beyond their control: 

  • Shortage of auto repair facilities available to complete repairs or even do repair estimates. 
  • Shortage of auto repair shop staff to address the number of automobile repair claims.
  • Delays in scheduling repairs and receiving back ordered parts is causing repair delays and the exhaustion of rental reimbursement coverage. Sometimes before the vehicle is even in the shop for repairs. 
  • Towing services are also affected by the shortage of staff and number of events requiring their services. 
  • Vehicles may stay in tow yards longer than normal due to the lack of repair facilities available to conduct inspections and provide repair estimates. Vehicle owners are responsible for the cost of storage at tow yards so it’s best to try to remove vehicles from tow yards as soon as possible to prevent storage costs. 
  • Auto insurance policies have limits of coverage and definitions of damage insurers follow when considering claim payments. The delays caused by national shortages are not covered in your insurance policy. Insurers are not obligated or required to pay for these delays since they are outside the control of the insurance company. And they do not have to “total” a vehicle because of the delays and part shortages. 
  • Claims against someone else’s insurance company (third-party) are resolved in the courts.  So, you may have to file a lawsuit against the other person to settle those claims.  You can present claims for the delays, however, the liable party may not be held responsible for the delays, which can result in you experiencing expenses that might not be reimbursable by their insurance company.