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.