There are two main types of classification of automotive collision repair parts: original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, which are supplied by auto manufacturers under their own name; and aftermarket crash parts. Aftermarket parts are sometimes produced in the same factory as the OEM parts, but may also be produced by independent manufacturers. Generally speaking, the fit and finish of OEM parts exceeds that of aftermarket parts. However, exterior generic parts do not compromise the safety of a vehicle.
“The difference in cost on your policy is minimal and we really recommend that our customers inquire about this policy addition. It can really pay off if a repair is needed.”
At the heart of it, OEM parts are all created equal, and aftermarket parts are not created equal. The best option depends on what you are looking for or what you need. Auto insurers only want safe cars put back on the road and they are also committed to auto and highway safety. Also the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) rigorously inspects generic auto parts and guarantees that the quality of the parts meets its standards.
Can You Choose the Parts for Your Vehicle?
Insurance companies cannot require a policyholder to use only certain kinds of auto repair parts. However, if the company’s rates are based on using a certain type of part, the insurer can ask you to pay the difference if the part you prefer is more expensive. Some policies actually specify that only original equipment manufacturer parts must be used for repairs, while others require this only when repairing recent model cars. A few states mandate that insurance companies must offer generic parts when they exist. Some insurance carriers do not offer OEM parts at all.
The takeaway? Read your auto insurance policy carefully and speak with an insurance professional to best understand your coverage. Even if an insurance carrier offers coverage for OEM parts, they are probably not automatic on a standard policy. You will need to request the coverage and most likely pay an additional fee to get it. Hollingsworth Auto Service advocates for this policy addition. Our shop manager, Drew McCray recommends adding this coverage to customers. “The difference in cost on your policy is often really minimal,” says McCray, “and we recommend that our customers inquire about this policy addition. It can really pay off if a repair is needed.”
When you are shopping for car insurance, be sure to make OEM parts one of your top questions for the insurance agent. Even if the use of OEM is parts is not that important to you, it is something worth looking into.