Can Insurance Companies Force You to Use Aftermarket Parts?

After a serious car accident, the two main issues you must contend with are personal injuries and property damages. Taking your damaged vehicle to an auto mechanic is one of the first steps toward obtaining compensation for repairs or replacement. Once you submit your information to the insurance company, however, you may lose control over how the shop conducts your repairs. The shop may (and likely will) install aftermarket parts in your vehicle instead of using only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. If you have an issue with this, you may be able to work a different agreement out with the insurance provider.

What Are Aftermarket Parts?

Aftermarket parts are vehicle parts purchase from independent manufacturers rather than the original manufacturer of the equipment. Aftermarket parts are generic versions of the parts that come from the vehicle manufacturer. Aftermarket parts cost considerably less than original equipment manufactured car parts. OEM parts are brand new, created by the original auto manufacturer. They are suitable for a specific vehicle make and model. Mechanics make aftermarket purchase for some parts more than others.

  • Fenders
  • Hoods
  • Doors
  • Bumpers
  • Batteries
  • Filters
  • Mufflers
  • Engine parts

Aftermarket parts are not used. They are new. They are simply the generic version of OEM parts, which brings the price down. Used or salvaged car parts come from junkyards. They are OEM parts that have wear and tear. Mechanics will generally only install used or recycled parts in a vehicle if the insurance policy has a special clause that offers lower premiums in exchange for the lowest price crash parts.

Are Aftermarket Parts as Safe as OEM?

One of the greatest debates during post-crash vehicle repair is the quality of aftermarket parts. Some people believe that aftermarket parts are of lower quality than OEM. Aftermarket parts may not be of a like kind or quality to OEM parts – especially if the parts do not have certifications to prove their performance. The use of aftermarket parts during repairs could also interfere with a vehicle warranty.

However, aftermarket parts with the seal of approval from the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) are safe, suitable, and of good quality. CAPA ensures the quality of replacement automotive aftermarket parts. It looks at the generic part manufacturer’s facility, equipment, manufacturing processes, and products to make sure they are equivalent to new OEM parts. Only then will CAPA certify the aftermarket part.

Insurance Company Responsibilities

Not all states have laws addressing an insurance company’s obligations to use OEM crash parts during vehicle repairs. Thirty-one states require insurers to provide disclosures with repair estimates that address using aftermarket parts. Only 13 states require that aftermarket parts must be of like kind and quality as OEM parts. Six states require the vehicle owner’s consent before the mechanic can use non-OEM replacement parts.

In Texas, the law states that insurance companies do not have the right to require a claimant to use a specific automotive facility. Section 1952.301 of the Texas Insurance Code states that insurance companies cannot limit coverage by specifying the supplier, type, brand, or condition of replacement parts. Insurance companies must also issue notices to policyholders stating that the claimant has the right to dictate which parts a mechanic uses for repairs. However, the insurance company does not have to pay more than a reasonable amount for parts.

Getting OEM Parts for Your Damaged Vehicle

You have the right to request your insurance company use original equipment manufactured parts rather than aftermarket parts to repair your vehicle. If the insurance company deems these costs unreasonable, however, it might deny your claim. Contact an expert injury attorney if an insurance company is trying to force you to use aftermarket parts for your vehicle repair. Your insurance company could be engaging in bad faith settlement practices. A lawyer can help you take appropriate action to protect your rights to OEM parts.

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