How supply chain issues are putting the brakes on common car repairs – Action News Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — “It’s been kind of a rough ride?” Action News Jax Ben Becker asked Jasmine Figueroa.

“Yeah it’s been months,” Figueroa said.

Figueroa is spinning her wheels.

“It’s infuriating,” Figueroa said. “I had no part of the car accident.”

Last November, Figueroa’s 2021 Nissan Sentra was damaged in a crash, but her quarter panel was placed on indefinite backorder because of supply chain issues. Figueroa was put in a rental for three months, until her insurance company slammed on the brakes when the at-fault driver’s rental coverage ran out.

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“State Farm is supposed to be a good neighbor?” Becker asked.

“They’re not,” Figueroa laughed.

The insurance company sent Figueroa a letter in March that said the “rental would end on March 10th” and that “State Farm is not responsible for any national back order of parts.”

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“Any chance insurance companies will do people a solid?” Becker asked car insurance expert Vari Rousseau with Ansbacher Law of Jacksonville.

“Well my facial expression can tell that story,” Rousseau deadpanned . “Generally they are going to want to hold you to the letter of your insurance policy.”

San Jose Collision isn’t working on Figueroa’s car, but owner Suzanne Clarke said she has seen the parts delay problem first hand because of the pandemic — and industry observers say after-market parts are becoming harder to find as manufacturers focus on building parts for new vehicles.

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“We had one car that was totaled because they weren’t making wiring harnesses for it, so the insurance company turned it into a total loss,” Clarke said.

“They gave up?” Becker asked.

“Yup,” Clarke said.

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Becker emailed State Farm about what happened to Figueroa and how the company is handling similar situations. It said in a statement:

“Due to our customer privacy policy, we can’t speak to the specifics of any claim. We would encourage you to check with our customer on any updates to this claim. We can share that customers choose where their vehicle is repaired and what repairs to have done. If a rental car is necessary, that coverage is available but there is a maximum rental coverage limit. The automotive repair industry has not been immune to recent global supply chain disruptions. Consumers needing vehicle parts may be experiencing longer wait times due to lack of available parts. We empathize with our customers who are experiencing these delays. State Farm continues to look for opportunities to most effectively meet the needs of our customers despite the challenges facing the automotive repair industry. For vehicles that are drivable, we recommend customers ask the repair facility if there are any concerns that could impact the repair time prior to dropping it off. This will assist in minimizing the time without their vehicle. For non-drivable vehicles, we suggest determining if there are any concerns that could impact repair time, prior to authorizing repairs.”

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As for Figueroa, the quarter panel is now on the way and she should be back on the road full time.

“What lesson’s been learned here?” Becker asked Figueroa.

“Don’t get into a car accident,” she said.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Bankrate, the typical motorist is paying more than $1,700 for auto insurance this year — up from $1,000 in 2019 — about a 70% increase which is tied to rising inflation and the cost of replacement parts.

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Ann C. Toledo

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