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Time limit for repairs after car accident

by Bob

I got rear ended about a month ago and have had a hard time getting my truck into the shop for an estimate on any hidden damage. The liable insurance company already sent out their adjuster and gave me a written estimate and a check, but I haven’t cashed it and need to get my shop's opinion of some needed repairs that aren't part of the initial estimate from the insurance company. Is there a time limit for getting the car looked at the shop and/or having the repairs actually completed?




Hi Bob,

The longer you wait the harder it will be to argue that any "hidden" damage is related to the accident. There is no actual date, some states have statutes of limitations as short as 2 years, some other up to 4 years.

However, if you have hidden damage, the best thing is to go to your body shop, give your mechanic the estimate and have him go over your truck repairs. If there is any discrepancy , the adjuster and your mechanic will discuss and come to an agreement. The insurance company will usually issue a payment for the damage that was not accounted for, they call this a supplemental payment. This payment will make you whole again.

Note: the payment will not occur until the truck is actually fixed. Insurance companies want to make sure the truck is repaired before they give you more money.

This process is very common, it happens all the time. Insurance adjusters will give you an estimate and then the damage is more than they originally wrote. They send secondary payments all the time. The problems occur if the damages are a lot more than the estimate or if you wait too long and the insurance company argues that you had other damage from other accidents either before or after.

In either situation, you should get to the body shop as soon as you can and have them contact the insurance company so no other issues come up later.

Good Luck

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