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Kia, Hyundai owners forced to pay out of pocket for rentals while waiting on repairs

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The surge in Kia and Hyundai thefts is getting worse, and some car owners have to wait months before getting their car back from the collision shop. However, most insurance companies only cover rental cars for the first 30 days. After that, people whose cars are still in the shop have to pay out of pocket.

Colby Fritsch’s Kia was stolen in West Seneca in March. She just got her car back from the shop, more than four months later.

“Emotionally, economically, socially, it’s been very frustrating for me,” Fritsch said.

Because of car insurance policies, she was left without a car for three months. It cost her more than $5,000 between car rentals, Ubers and delivery services.

“Financially it has been pretty tough. Still making car payments, insurance payments, rental cars, Ubers, Instacart to get my groceries to my house,” Fritsch told News 4. “I am kind of in a little bit of debt from KIA.”

During this time her grandfather was in Hospice and she couldn’t afford to visit him as much as she wanted to. She says the entire experience was traumatic.

“My grandpa means everything to me,” she said. “With my car I would go visit him a lot. Once it was stolen, I wasn’t able to see him that much. Affording the Ubers to get there, I didn’t have the financial means. My grandpa did pass away when all of this happened.”

Jeremy Kiripolsky’s Hyundai was stolen back in June. It was found 10 days later, damaged. He took the car into the shop for repairs and had to wait more than six weeks before getting it back. His insurance could no longer cover the rental after 30 days. The problem was he still had to get to work and run errands, meaning he had to use his own money to cover transportation.

“There was a lot of uncertainty of when I might or might not get my car back or when the fix will be complete or not,” Kiripolsky said. “Being car-less doesn’t really help when you have to provide money to those car insurance companies and that requires you to go to work, it’s kind of a catch 22 there.”

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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