Not all parts are equal. Know what kind of parts will be used in your vehicle.
Murphy’s Law – It seems whenever you have a new car, you might as well have a target painted on it inviting people to hit your new vehicle? There are some important facts that you need to be aware of before you have your car fixed. In order for you to be satisfied with your car repair, you will need to know what expectations are reasonable. Collision and/or comprehensive coverages promised by your car insurance carrier are meant to return your car to you in like, kind and quality condition as you had before your accident. Most people assume that they will get all new factory-direct original parts for their damaged vehicle, but alternative parts are usually used by most insurance companies. That is okay – for you must consider that your vehicle is not brand-new. Your auto insurance company will usually use the best parts available. Nobody wants to sell or install bad parts, as consumers will merely come back with complaints or lawsuits trying to recoup dollars spent for the damage to be repaired again. Most insurance companies are committed to top-quality repairs and have guarantees that the alternative parts are in good condition. Also included in this guarantee, is a promise that if any alternative part used in repairing your car is defective or damaged, insurance will pay to replace it. This replacement usually includes the cost of the part, labor and rental of another vehicle while your car is being fixed.
Types of alternative parts used in most auto repairs:
- Aftermarket – a part not manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) – the company that built your car.
- Recycled – an undamaged part from another car, the same model year or newer
- Reconditioned/remanufactured – original equipment manufactured part that meets product specifications using a combination of reused, repair and new parts.
Alternative parts are safe and auto and insurance industries feel should be used to help keep the price to repair your car down. Parts that insurance companies usually consider using alternative parts for repair are:
- External body parts
- Headlamps and tail lamps
- Suspension parts
There are parts of your car that could change the safety integrity to your vehicle, so most insurance companies will only use original parts made specifically for your vehicle for these repairs. Parts that insurance companies don’t typically consider using alternative parts:
- Steering columns
- Windshields with safety stop features
- Safety items
- Antilock brake parts
- Bumper reinforcements designed for structural components of vehicle
- Radiator or core supports designed for structural components of vehicle
With state regulations spotty, car insurance companies have broad discretion in deciding whether to use original equipment or manufactured parts, generic or off-brand, or recycled parts or your car repair. That which restores your car to its “pre-loss condition” so to speak, would be the method used to describe the repair. There is an upside to this reparation using alternative parts; some of these alternative parts incorporate improvements that have been made to the original manufactured part because they were found to have been operating poorly following road tests over the years. You must also consider that the older your automobile gets – the more expensive, under stocked or less available parts become. Requiring auto insurance companies to use only new original equipment parts would cause your auto repair to be either severely delayed or too cost prohibitive to fix thus totaling your vehicle.
Mr. Worter of the Insurance Information Institute states, “Elimination of the aftermarket parts industry would drive up repair costs between 50 and 100%. This would cause insurers to declare more total losses from car crashes, with a corresponding increase in auto insurance rates.” He goes on to say, “Ultimately, more cars will wind up in the junkyard and they will be junked at a faster rate than they would be without a competitive crash parts market.” With insurance companies trying to move towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, restricting the use of alternative parts would be counter-intuitive to this goal.
It is never pleasant to be involved in an auto accident. The process can be very confusing. It is always wise to make sure you have the best insurance coverage for your situation. At Brownell Insurance Center, we review your auto insurance with you to ensure that you have the best rates and coverage for your automobile. Having the best coverage will ensure that when you get your newly repaired car back from the auto shop after a nasty accident, you will be pleased that your car looks almost brand-new again, with the added benefit that all you had to pay was the deductible required by your auto insurance policy.
Dare to compare your auto policy with us –your peace of mind is a wonderful thing to have when accidents happen.
Sources for this blog are:
Safeco Insurance | http://www.safecoagentnews.com/articles/alternative-parts