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Insurance companies totaling fewer cars causing lengthy wait at auto body repair shops | Economics

MIDDLETON (WKOW) — When you have slippery weather accidents are expected. If the damage to your car is bad enough, you’ll probably have to visit an auto repair center.

There’s a surprising reason your car could get stuck at an auto repair shop.

“We are very busy. We are currently scheduled out to the beginning of April. We currently have 95 cars on the lot. It’s gotten up to around 135,” said James Anderberg, Director of Ball Body Shop.

Anderberg said cars that would have been considered totaled by insurance companies a few years ago are now being repaired because cars are worth more.

“That same vehicle today might be worth $12,000 or $13,000, that would be worth $10,000 five years ago,” said Anderberg.

Generally speaking, if it costs more to repair your car than what it’s worth, chances are your car would be totaled but Anderberg said that’s changing.

“The value of the vehicles currently on the road has gone up and people want their vehicles repaired because they can’t afford to replace it with a new car or a new car payment,” said Anderberg.

“The insurers are opting to repair cars rather than declare them total losses,” said Loretta Worters, VP of Media Relations with the Insurance Information Institute.

Worters said this includes both new and older cars.

“When vehicle values are high, fewer cars are totaled,” said Worters.

Worters also said major repairs like airbags and frame damage are taking longer.

“Getting parts for damaged cars has been the primary issue because of supply chain issues, which is overwhelmed by body shops and delaying repairs,” said Worters.

“We had a vehicle that was here for nine months, waiting for a critical part, it couldn’t be repaired without that part. So, we had to wait for it.,” said Anderberg.

Despite the setbacks, Anderberg said his techs are doing their best to get cars out of his shop and back on the road.

In Wisconsin, vehicles less than seven years old can be repaired up to 70% percent of the vehicle’s value. Vehicles older than seven years can be repaired up to 100%.

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