Crash Parts 2

Autobody Crash Parts: FAQs

Q. What are crash parts?
A. Crash parts are exterior sheet metal and plastic body parts, such as hoods, doors, fenders and bumper components, most frequently damaged in vehicle accidents. Genuine crash parts are those made by your vehicle manufacturer (OEM) or its authorized representatives, and are the same as the parts used on new vehicles. Imitation crash parts are copies of vehicle manufacturer parts. Those that have been tested have been found to be of questionable quality.

Q. Who is involved in the genuine vs. imitation crash parts debate?
A. Most consumers want genuine crash parts for repairs, but few are aware that imitations may be used and even fewer are invited to participate in the selection process.

Q. Who decides what parts to use in the repair?
A. Insurance companies control or influence the majority of crash parts purchase decisions. They use imitations as a method to reduce their repair costs; yet auto insurance premiums have risen at more than twice the rate of inflation over the past decade. Most collision repairers prefer to work with genuine crash parts but, because they are independent on insurance company referrals, are reluctant to question parts selections by insurers.

Q. How can the consumer protect their interests?
A. The consumer should get involved in the collision repair process from the start and ask what crash parts will be used for repairs. Closely check your repair estimate before authorizing repairs. Look for parts identified by the terms “economy”, “quality replacement”, “like kind and quality or LKQ”, and “competitive” may be imitation crash parts.

Q. What if I do not want imitation parts used in my repair?
A. If you are uncomfortable with the choice of imitation crash parts, ask that genuine replacement crash parts be used. Be aware that if your insurer does not authorize use of genuine parts, you may be asked to pay any cost difference between genuine and imitation crash parts. Read your policy closely. Your insurance company may elect to settle your claim directly with you prior to having repairs made. Be sure you agree to all terms of the settlement, including replacement parts, prior to accepting a settlement agreement.

Q. What if there are problems after my car is repaired?
A. If you chose to have imitation crash parts installed on your vehicle, or if you learn after the fact that imitation crash parts have been installed on your vehicle, immediately report any problems with the parts to your insurance agent.

Q. How do I inform my insurance company that I do not want imitation crash parts used?
A. Give your agent a written statement entitled: Genuine Replacement Crash Parts Request. It should state the following:

I prefer that only genuine replacement crash parts be used to repair my vehicle. If you require that imitation crash parts be used for repairs, please provide me written proof that they are equal to genuine replacement crash parts in terms of fit, finish, structural integrity, corrosion protection and dent resistance. Also, please provide proof that: Any imitation sheet metal crash part to be used is backed by a written warranty against corrosion that is as good as the warranty offered by my vehicle manufacturer which covers both parts and labor; allows repairs at any authorized repair facility; and remains in effect as long as I own this vehicle, and ; Any other imitation crash part is covered by a warranty equal to the manufacturer warranty.

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