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OEM Parts and Car Insurance

OEM parts and car insurance policies are important items to consider when you shop around for coverage. Smart auto owners will consciously think about items like these when they first sign on for auto insurance, and will not wait until after an accident to think it over or to finally check in on the details of what their plan offers. OEM parts are those made by the original equipment manufacturers, parts that match the originals. After accidents when vehicles are being repaired they may be fixed using OEM parts or alternately, they could be repaired using aftermarket parts. The difference between the two will affect the cost of the job, since aftermarket parts are cheaper. For this reason, many insurance companies push the use of aftermarket parts in their collision repairs.

Car Insurance and Auto Repairs

Most people are under the assumption that when they pay for collision insurance (instead of liability versus full coverage insurance) on their vehicle, their car will be restored to its original condition in the event of an accident. There is truth to this in some senses. Car insurance companies are charged with the responsibility of getting the cars in to repair shops who in turn handle the restoration efforts on covered vehicles. But the way they go about this restoration is not necessarily explicitly mandated.

It is natural for folks to reason that their insurance protection will naturally include the use of OEM parts. But this is not an automatic. There are some companies that only use body shops that use original manufacturer auto parts. The policies sold by these insurers are worth more inherently because the insured policy holders do not have to fret when it is time to complete a repair because they know only OEM parts will be used. But these plans are uncommon, and they are expensive. Still, they can be worth investing in if you have a high end vehicle and you are worried about resale, for example.

But in any collision insurance claim whether or not there are specific stipulations preexisting that call for the use of only OEM parts, the insured auto owners do have the right to insist that repairs be done this way and it may be reflected in your online auto insurance rate. The body shop may have already presented a quote for the work based on aftermarket parts, however, and the difference in price for parts may end up being the responsibility of the customer. These are arrangements that can easily be made if all parties are cooperative in the matter. The driver can write a separate check to the body shop to cover the amount above and beyond that which what the insurer was willing to cover for the use of aftermarket parts.

But these arrangements can get pretty complicated and can easily cause escalating tensions between the three parties. The insurance company is just trying to stay within their budget for the job; the body shop just wants to make sure they get paid for the work they do and for any parts they supply; and of course, the owner of the car being fixed needs to know that the vehicle will be right when it is all done being repaired.

OEM vs. Aftermarket Car Parts

Different groups have different opinions about the possible differences in quality between aftermarket parts and those made by the original equipment manufacturer. According to non OEM manufacturers and most insurance companies, there is little to no difference in quality or function between aftermarket and original parts. Many insurance companies strongly advocate the use of aftermarket parts because they are so much cheaper so they keep the cost of claims down. Some insurers will only reimburse for a certain percentage of the cost of original manufacturer parts, and others will make their customers pay the entire difference in cost.

But certain insurance groups and many consumers strongly advocate for only original equipment because they say it is more rigorously tested and that the tolerances for variance in size and fit are much more demanding in these manufacturing environments. They also say that aftermarket parts decrease the value of a car, making it harder to sell and also making it likely that the owner won't be able to get as much money for it as he could if all original parts were used. This argument is particularly relevant to repairs of high end performance vehicles. In these cases buyers are usually more discerning and more likely to expect all original parts for the money they'll spend these types of vehicles.

OEM parts are safe if nothing else. There is no risk in installing them, and buyers can be assured of their performance. But they will make a repair more expensive. Auto owners need to know all the factors involved and be aware of all options as far as OEM parts and car insurance when getting a car repaired.


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