Original Equipment versus Aftermarket or Non-Original parts. Insurance company's ideas of a proper repair may include: parts from sources other than your vehicle's manufacturer or non-original parts. It may also include the specification of parts from a junk yard. The appraiser may specify repair of a part for one reason or another that in our opinion should be replaced with a new part.
We don't take the responsibility of returning your vehicle to pre-accident condition lightly. The insurer is responsible to restore the damaged vehicle to a specific condition. Unless your vehicle had non-original parts on it before the loss, or the damaged part was rusted and rotted out, non-original parts do not restore any vehicle to pre-loss condition. Given the example of a rusted or previously replaced non-original part would be only circumstance an insurance company should specify these parts.
Assuming a vehicle is relatively new, had original parts in place, a factory warranty remaining prior to the loss, the mere idea of installing non-original parts would be in conflict with the warranty provisions. Not only the inferior, lighter, un-crash tested, counterfeit, non-original parts will not fit the vehicle properly, they would also violate the policy provisions of returning the vehicle to pre-accident condition.
The same holds true for parts specified from a junkyard. No one can be certain how much damage was sustained by a part that has been retrieved from a vehicle that was involved in an accident that was severe enough to consider the vehicle a total loss. No vehicle manufacturer will warrant a part installed on a vehicle that has been retrieved from a junkyard. Ford, Chrysler, GM, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Volvo and almost every other vehicle maker has issued statements that state that non-original or salvage parts from a junk will void the warranty to that part and any connecting or attaching component or system. We have insurers so intent on controlling claims cost that they offer to guarantee the specified non-original or junk yard part themselves. It sort of becomes a codicil to your factory warranty in theory. The problem is, does a consumer's right to recover end with that issue? Have you really recovered if your vehicle is rebuilt/restored with non-original or salvage parts from a junkyard and a makeshift warranty? In our opinion, you have not recovered at all.
Remember, our goal is to return your vehicle to pre-loss conditions. As you can see from our expended explanation, sometimes these two camps differ in the proposed repair process. Our staff is trained and is knowledgeable in handling the process and associated pitfalls so that our mutual goals are addressed. There are provisions in most insurance policies called the "arbitration clause" or "appraisal clause" for means of settling a difficult claim with insurers who play unfairly.
Regardless of the insurer-specified repair, you will be informed of the details by us. Once a method of repair and the specified process is outlined, we order the parts as agreed or directed by you. Since the major part of damage diagnostics have been performed, we have already identified the necessary parts we need to order. Generally, it takes 5-7 working days to obtain parts for standard vehicles. While waiting for parts to arrive, preliminary repair or structural work is started in anticipation of fit testing of the new parts. All unibody or frame repairs are completed in our in-house frame and structural alignment department.
Choose the repair facility
You have the right to select the shop of your choice. Pick a repair shop, leave your automobile there and notify your insurance agent.
Do I need three estimates?
Get as many as you like, the insurance company cannot demand any. Select a repair facility of your choice before you discuss the claim with your Insurance Company. Do not drive damaged vehicle. The Insurance Company has 6 days to inspect damage initially and 2 days to inspect any additional damages. You can require the insurance company to go to you for their inspection of damage.
Insurance Company may attempt to steer you to one of their authorized repair shops. Beware these shops may have cut deals with that insurance company or agreed to attempt to sell you cheap aftermarket parts. Just tell your insurance company "no!"- it's your power word.