Pay for car repairs that aren’t covered by insurance


Auto insurance comes in handy when you’re involved in an accident and your vehicle is damaged or destroyed. However, some car insurance policies do not cover the full cost of repairs after an accident. If you don’t have collision or comprehensive coverage, or your policy limits are too low, you may have to pay for some of the repairs out of pocket.

Auto Repair Data and Statistics

The automotive repair and maintenance industry is growing. Here are some statistics on the industry and the cost of auto repairs in the United States

  • In 2021, the global automotive repair and maintenance market reached a value of nearly $750.8 billion. (
  • By 2026, the car repair and maintenance market is expected to reach a valuation of $1,237.5 billion. (
  • 34% of vehicle owners prefer to take their car to the dealership for servicing, rather than a third-party body shop. (Cox Automotive)
  • Electric vehicles are twice as expensive to repair as gasoline-powered cars. (We predict)
  • 75% of premium car brands have higher repair costs than the industry average. (WePredict)
  • The average cost of car repairs is between $500 and $600. (AAA)
  • Drivers spend about 9.55¢ per mile on repairs, maintenance and tires each year. (AAA)
  • Honda is the cheapest non-premium brand to maintain and Acura is the cheapest premium brand to maintain. (WePredict)

If you have an accident or other car insurance claim, the cost of repairs could be significant. The table below includes some common types of auto repair and the average cost.

Motor replacement $1,000 to $7,500
Suspension damage $1,000 to $5,000
Airbag replacement $1,000 to $1,500 (per bag)
Frame damage $600 to $10,000
Windshield replacement $250 to $450
Bumper repair $100 to $2,000

The importance of emergency savings

Auto repairs can be incredibly expensive, even if you think the damage is minor. But because auto insurance may not cover the full cost of repairs, it’s important to have an emergency savings account.

“As a vehicle owner, it’s not enough to budget for regular maintenance and servicing costs,” says Stefan Kleinekoort, mechanic and founder of The driver’s adviser, a blog that deals with car maintenance. “Having a separate fund to save money for emergency repairs is a great way to ensure you can handle any unexpected repair costs and keep your car running smoothly.”

Despite the importance of an emergency fund, many drivers do not have enough savings. Only 43% of Americans say they would pay a $1,000 emergency expense using their current savings. Another 25% of consumers say they would borrow money using a credit card and pay it back over time, a record percentage since the survey began in 2014.

Bankrate 2023 Annual Emergency Savings Report

It’s also important to consider other costs you may face after an accident. Here are some additional expenses you may need to pay (and may struggle to pay if you don’t have emergency savings):

  • Medical bills
  • Alternate means of transportation, such as a rental car
  • Lost wages if you can’t work
  • Higher car insurance premiums

How to Pay for Auto Repairs Not Covered by Insurance Without Savings

If you don’t have an emergency fund or don’t have enough money in your account to pay for car repairs, you have several options:

  • Get a personal loan: Personal loans can be a good solution if you need to finance an expensive car repair. If you have good credit, it’s often easy to qualify for a personal loan, and many lenders will deposit funds into your account in as little as one business day.
  • Set up a payment plan: Ask the mechanic working on your vehicle if you can work out a payment plan with their shop. A payment plan allows you to pay the repair bill in small increments over time, rather than paying the entire cost upfront.
  • Use a credit card: Although not the most ideal option, you can consider paying for repairs by credit card. Some cards even have 0% APR as a welcome offer when you open a new account. Remember that credit cards often have high interest rates, so if you can’t pay off the balance before the introductory offer expires, it could cost you more.
  • Ask your friends or family members: See if a friend or family member is willing to lend you money to pay for car repairs. If you go this route, be sure to let the lender know when you can pay them back, and consider setting up a payment plan if you need to pay them back over time.

How Gap Insurance Can Help Lower Auto Repair Costs

If your car is leased or financed, insurance gap can help you avoid some repair costs.

According to Kleinekoort, “Gap insurance bridges the gap between how much you owe on your lease or loan and how much your insurance company will pay if the car is damaged or destroyed. It covers the difference if your insurance payment is less than what you owe on the vehicle.

While gap insurance can be useful if you have negative equity in your vehicle, it does not apply to fully reimbursed vehicles. Many auto insurance companies offer gap insurance as an endorsement to your auto insurance policy, or you can purchase it from your lender.

Frequently Asked Questions

    • There is no specific amount of money you should have in your emergency savings account. However, many financial experts agree that you may want have enough savings to cover three to six months of living expenseswhich include the costs of owning a car, such as gas, insurance and maintenance.
    • If you have an accident and the other driver is at fault, you must file a complaint with your insurance company. An adjuster will investigate the claim and determine the amount owed to you. In most cases, adjusters work with the offending driver’s insurance company and negotiate your settlement, so you don’t need to be involved.
    • Many car repairs can be expensive, but some repair jobs are more expensive than others. “The most expensive type of auto repair is usually engine related,” says Kleinekoort. “Replacing or repairing a damaged or worn engine can be extremely expensive due to the labor involved and the cost of parts.”


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