After an accident, it’s likely that you will have contact with at least two businesses: the insurance company handling your claim and the auto body shop handling your repairs. Although it would seem as if these guys would be partners, insurance companies and real auto body repair experts often don’t see eye to eye when it comes to parts. You see, your insurance company cares about one thing: the bottom line.
So, when paying for a repair, they want to write a check for the lowest amount possible. This means that insurance companies often partner with repair shops that will either use “aftermarket” or non-OEM parts. These parts are made by a third party to fit many different cars. Because they are interchangeable, they cost around half of the price of original manufacturer parts. Using parts not produced by the original manufacturer might significantly reduce repairs, but it comes at a cost.
What’s the Difference?
Would you ever buy a critical part for your vehicle from a third-party vendor, like eBay? Probably not because of the safety risk. But by agreeing to use aftermarket parts that are non original manufacturer parts that is what you are doing. When buying non-OEM parts, you are taking a shot in the dark when it comes to safety.
Buying cosmetic after-market parts that are cheaper may not be a big deal. But purchasing structural parts not made by the original maker of your car can come with risk. Although rare, there are even reports of after-market parts leading to fatalities. This was the case with two teens who died in a 2015 collision. The teens were killed when a jeep with an aftermarket bumper collided with their vehicle. The non-OEM bumper was too large for the frame of the jeep. During the crash, the bumper came through the trunk, pinning the teens in the back seat. It’s possible that these two deaths could have been avoided if correct parts had been used.
What’s the Law?
The state of Arizona allows insurance companies to recommend certain auto body shops to their clients. However, they cannot force you to use their preferred repair specialist. Also, state law requires that your insurance company notify you in writing if they plan to use any “after-market” parts instead of original parts during repairs.
Little known fact: insurance companies are not required to cover OEM parts. Of course, this depends on coverage. So, it is imperative to understand your coverage limitations before a collision happens. Insurance surprises are never fun to deal with.
What Can I Do?
Still, there are some things you can do to get your repairs covered. One option is to try and negotiate with your insurance company yourself. You could also have your repair shop try to negotiate for you. If that doesn’t work, you might cover the price difference between what the insurance company will pay versus how much the OEM parts cost. Although this comes with some out-of-pocket costs, for many drivers the difference in quality is worth the price. After all, you can’t put a price on safety.
We here at Orlando Auto Body will restore your car to its original pre-damaged condition and take pride in using OEM parts. If you call 480-844-4858, we’ll work with your insurance company to get the best parts and service for your vehicle.