- Your car is the second largest investment you're likely to make. Preserve its value and your safety by having it repaired professionally.
- Never drive a car that could be unsafe because of damages.
- Some insurance companies may want you to visit their drive-in claims center before having your car repaired. You can do this- or you may leave your car at our shop and ask that the insurance company inspect the car here.
- You are not required by law to obtain more than one estimate or appraisal.
- You have the right to go to the repair shop of your choice. Your insurance company cannot require you to go to a particular shop.
- Differences in repair estimates are common. A lower estimate may not include all necessary work. If you're not sure why one estimate is different from another you've received, please ask us.
- Choose a shop that has certified (by I-CAR or ASE, for example) technicians.
- Ask if the shop will be using genuine manufacturer (OEM) replacement parts.
- Ask if the shop offers a repair warranty.
- Let us help you negotiate your claim with the insurance company.
Sooner or later it happens to almost everyone...you've been involved in a car accident.
After information has been exchanged and everyone is back home, it's time to start thinking about getting your vehicle repaired. When you do, most auto repair shops will give you a choice as to whether you want to use OEM or aftermarket parts to restore your car back to its original condition.
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. These are basically the exact same parts that your car came with. Keep in mind though, that many auto makers have outside companies manufacture parts for them, so they may not be actual Ford or Chevrolet parts, for example, but they will be of the exact quality that originally came with your car.
Aftermarket parts are supplied by third party manufacturers. These parts are designed to the same specifications as the OEM parts. For various reasons, they are often cheaper to purchase, and therefore, most auto body shops will recommend using aftermarket parts to repair your vehicle. For one thing, most insurance companies will not pay 100% of the cars repair costs if OEM parts are used, since the insurance company will incur higher overall costs as a result.
Keep this in mind if you decide to insist that the repair shop uses only OEM parts, as this generally means that some (or all!) of the cost of repairs may be coming out of your own pocket.
In most cases, aftermarket parts are as good, quality-wise, as their OEM counterparts. Occasionally, they are even better.
Where this becomes a bit tricker is in those instances where safety-related parts must be replaced, such as bumpers, brakes, etc. Aftermarket parts are not subject to the same rigorous crash-test standards and procedures that all OEM parts are required to go through. As a result, there is a belief that the aftermarket parts may not hold up as well in a crash as their OEM counterparts.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has disputed this notion, and states that aftermarket parts do not degrade the overall safety performance of an automobile.
One thing is certain though, whether OEM or aftermarket parts are used, whether or not you paid out of your pocket for repairs, you will pay dearly when the time comes to trade in your vehicle at the dealership. With the advent of detailed auto databases, dealers can quickly find out if your vehicle has ever been in an accident. If it has, expect the amount you are offered for your car to be cut nearly in half.
It's nearly impossible for a car dealer to sell a vehicle that has been wrecked, and they are forced to sell it to a wholesaler for pennies on the dollar, which is why they must drop their offer to you so dramatically.
Ultimately, you must decide whether you wish to use OEM or aftermarket parts on your vehicle for its repair. Depending on the make and model, you may have no choice but to use OEM parts, as aftermarket parts may not be available. Fortunately, most insurance companies *will* pay 100% of the repair costs in this particular situation.