Insurance Company Preferred Shops and OEM Parts
Your car is one of your largest investments. Wondering what to do after an accident can be stressful. Working with the insurance company and your repair shop to get back on the road does not need to be painful. What follows are a few points to consider that might make the process less harrowing.
The insurance company will show you a list of preferred or recommended auto body repair shops. These shops have been approved by the insurance company to make estimates and repairs on their own. This ideally means you get fixed faster. It might also mean the repair shop is looking out for the insurance company more than you. You do NOT have to use any of these shops, it is the LAW that you have freedom of choice. If you have a local shop you can use them instead of the insurance company’s chosen shop.
One of the most common concerns with insurance company preferred shops is that they are pressured by the insurance company to keep costs down. This is often most evident in the parts with which they chose to make repairs. In the industry people generally refer to three different types of parts. OEM parts are Original Equipment Manufacturer parts which mean they are new replacement parts built by the original marker to the original specifications. LKQ (Like Kind and Quality) parts refers to used, recycled, or rebuilt OEM parts. Aftermarket parts are made by a third party manufacturer and may or may not be built to the same specifications as the OEM part.
Depending on the make, style, and condition of your vehicle you should be concerned which type of parts are used. If you have a car only a year or two old you should make sure OEM parts are used because the parts being replaced were pretty new. Also if you have a luxury, import, or exotic car using OEM parts will protect the value. LKQ parts might be fine for most other vehicles but you should be discussing this with your repair shop. Aftermarket parts also have their use but you should be wary of using these especially if the repair shop is against it.